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  • Legislative Update 03/27/2017
    Updated On: Apr 03, 2017
    Carson City, Nevada
    March 27, 2017

    This is day 50 of the 120-day legislative session and it was another important date and a late night on the legislative calendar. While last Monday was the deadline for legislators' personal Bill Draft Requests (BDR) to drop into formal Assembly or Senate bills, today was the deadline for all interim and Committee BDR's to drop. And today didn't disappoint us !!

    Here's a summary of just a few of the new and existing bills that we are watching:

    Assembly Bill 411 -- Formerly BDR 1029, this is our attempt to amend the provisions of NRS 62(G) to require "just cause" before a Clark County juvenile justice employee can be disciplined for committing one of a list of criminal acts. Currently, the law permits the County to discipline for those acts, up to and including termination, without a showing of "just cause" as required by our collective bargaining agreements and County policy. This bill will be heard before the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

    Assembly Bill 302 -- This is the perennial attempt to place State Parole & Probation under the jurisdiction of the Department of Corrections. It is currently before the Assembly Committee on Corrections, Probation and Parole. NSLEOA president Sean Giurlani and I met last Friday with DPS Director Jim Wright and Deputy Director Jackie Muth, who informed us that DPS will be taking a neutral position on the bill, as they have in the past, although they clearly oppose the measure. They encouraged our members to openly oppose AB 302, noting that anyone within the P&P command is welcome to testify in opposition as long as they do not officially represent DPS or P&P. We are meeting with the bill's sponsor to determine who is pushing this bill. It's not clear if the Department of Corrections is behind the bill, although we will know shortly. For our Corrections members who may be in support of the bill, you may be heard as well.

    Assembly Bill 121 -- As previously reported, this bill is our attempt to change the draconian effects of last session's SB 241, which eliminated Evergreen Clauses from our collective bargaining agreements and challenged our Union leave provisions. AB 121 is scheduled before the Assembly Judiciary Committee. We knew that AB 121 was going to undergo tremendous scrutiny by the Republicans and the media who are focusing on the bill's sponsor, Assemblyman (and County Deputy Public Defender) Steve Yeager as a public employee who would somehow benefit from this bill. As a result, we have also secured SB 356 from Senate Assistant Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson. SB 356, which is scheduled before the Senate Committee on Government Affairs, is the Senate's version of AB 121 by also seeking to restore Evergreen Clauses and Union leave time. Neither bill has yet received a Committee hearing.

    Senate Bill 223 -- This is the infamous "sanctuary state" bill sponsored by Senator Yvonne Cancela and a host of other legislators in both the Senate and the Assembly. You may recall from my previous reporting that the law enforcement coalition met with Senator Cancela a couple of weeks ago and we voiced our united opposition to the bill in any form. A second meeting was held last week and Senator Cancela then agreed to "gut" and re-write the bill. Well, today we met with Senator Cancela and Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford who both confirmed that SB 223 is now dead. It's been pulled and will not be heard. Chalk one up for the strength of our law enforcement coalition !!!

    Senate Bill 403 -- Sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford and Senator Mark Manendo, this bill seeks to make appropriations from the State Highway Fund and the State General Fund for the purpose of increasing the compensation of Nevada Highway Patrol Troopers by one pay grade. This will be in addition to the 4% increase that all state employees will receive over the next two years (2% in each of 2017 and 2018). There is no hearing yet scheduled for his bill before the Senate Finance Committee. We are meeting with the bill's sponsors to discuss whether this segregation of NHP for a pay increase can be accomplished in view of the traditional idea that no agency or division of the state's "1300 series" of employees (including all divisions within DPS) can receive pay increases without the other agencies and divisions in the 1300 series receiving the same. Make no mistake, we continue to push legislators and the Governor's office to increase compensation for all state law enforcement, but we will certainly push for this isolated NHP increase if it can be accomplished.

    Senate Bill 486 -- Simply put, this bill would permit state employees, including law enforcement, to have collective bargaining. Stay tuned for the fight . . . it should be fun !!!

    Senate Bill 469 -- Remember during last session when SB 168 was enacted, setting a 25% ceiling on the employer's ending fund balance that cannot be used for increased employee compensation? SB 469 seeks to eliminate this limitation and allow employees to negotiate for increased pay irrespective of the employer's ending fund balance.

    Senate Bill 282 -- This bill would fully dismiss a disciplinary case against a law enforcement officer if the employer violates the officer's NRS 289 rights. It goes even further to require the employer to pay the officer's attorneys' fees and costs in successfully litigating any such NRS 289 violations.

    Finally, we are still watching the most important PERS and PEBP bills and we are working hard on selective issues for Capitol Police, NTA and Taxicab Authority, juvenile justice, and workers' compensation bills that affect public safety, to name a few.

    As of tonight, there are a final total of nearly 1,100 bills (Assembly and Senate) that have dropped. We're watching all of them and we'll continue to report to our members. The next major deadline is April 14th when all bills must pass their first committee vote. If they are not out of their committees by then, the bills will die. By April 25th, the bills must pass their first full house vote before being sent to the opposite house for the same process.

    Once again, we STRONGLY encourage our members to offer their voices to their legislators on bills that affect their professional and personal lives. Here is what you can do on the Nevada legislative website:

    1. Enter http://www.leg.state.nv.us/

    2. On the right side of the opening page, click "Share your opinion on bills"

    Be prepared with the AB or SB number, indicate whether you support or oppose the bill, and provide your comments (up to 2,000 characters). In order to forward your comments to your own legislators for their consideration, you may enter your name and address. Don't be shy about sending me your comments so we can incorporate them into any testimony that we offer before the committees.

    Keep watching for our weekly updates from the Legislature. If you wish to reach me directly in Carson City during the session, contact me on my cell phone at (702) 595-0683 or through my e-mail at rpmccann@hotmail.com.

    As always, be safe.

    Rick McCann
    NAPSO Executive Director

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