The clock struck midnight, and Nevada lawmakers finally adjourned the 2021 Legislature after a frantic final few hours that saw the passage of major election, budget, tax and other big-ticket bills.
By the end of Monday evening, lawmakers had advanced bills decriminalizing traffic tickets, moving the state to a presidential primary, authorizing cannabis consumption lounges and permanently expanding mail voting. Legislators also approved a major transmission and clean energy bill, approved a new tax structure for short-term rentals and set spending priorities for the state’s coming windfall of $2.7 billion in federal American Rescue Plan funds.
The final hours of the Legislature traditionally see a host of last-minute amendments, compromises and changes to legislation — something already readily apparent on Monday, with lawmakers authorizing nearly $8 million in funding to pay back DMV fees recently declared unconstitutional, and an amendment keeping special tax districts in play for Clark County but without the ability to use them for a potential major league baseball stadium.
The Nevada Independent is covering all the final moves, votes and maneuvers of the 2021 Legislature. Here’s a look at some of the major votes and last-minute developments on the final day of session:
$15 million earmarks on American Rescue Plan funds
One last-minute addition was $15 million in earmarks for federal COVID-19 relief money. An amendment added to SB461 in the Assembly includes:
- $6 million to the Collaboration Center Foundation for services for people with disabilities. Sen. James Settelmeyer (R-Minden) had proposed a bill to support the foundation, but it never got a hearing.
- $5 million to the state treasurer’s office for the Nevada ABLE Savings Program. The program provides seed money in tax-advantaged accounts for people with disabilities; a bill passed this session to enable the program but did not fund it.
- $4 million for a statewide program modeled after UNR’s Dean’s Future Scholars Program, which provides mentoring, tutoring and other support for prospective first-generation college students. Sen. Heidi Seevers Gansert (R-Reno) had a bill that supported first-generation students, but it died. She crossed over and supported a mining tax along with Democrats before the amendment was revealed.
— Michelle Rindels
Requiring public buildings/accommodations to have inclusive single-stall restrooms
On a 15-6 vote, members of the Senate voted to approve Assemblywoman Sarah Peters’s AB280 — a bill requiring any single-stall restroom in the state to be designated as gender neutral.
The bill, which wouldn’t affect existing bathrooms but would govern future construction, was amended before passage to more narrowly define the types of bathrooms affected by the bill, and removed language allowing for civil litigation if people felt they were denied access to or punished for using a single-stall restroom.
— Riley Snyder
This article was written by Michelle Rindels, Riley Snyder, Tabitha Mueller and Janelle Calderon on May 31, 2021, for The Nevada Independent, and shared with Noticiero Móvil.