The Nevada Independent
By Megan Messerly
May 26, 2019

Jeremy Aguero, Applied Analysis
Jonathan Leleu, Fennemore Craig, PC
Click here for the article

 

 

Do not arouse the wrath of the Great and Powerful Oz!

I said come back tomorrow!

If you were really great and powerful, you’d keep your promises!

Do you presume to criticize the Great Oz, you ungrateful creatures?

Think yourselves lucky that I’m giving you audience tomorrow, instead of 20 years from now!

The Great Oz has spoken!

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!  The Great Oz has spoken!

    -The Wizard of Oz

 

Sometimes, when the chips are down and circumstances require radical, “out-of-the-box” solutions, you take a chance.  You stick your neck out for a concept, not because it’s in your best interests, but because it’s the right thing to do in the long-term.  It’s what we do when we sear a steak – we take a chance on ruining the whole thing because locking in that flavor is just plain worth it!

Such was the reasoning behind NAIOP’s support of SJR 14 in 2017.  Nevada’s state and local governments, agencies, school districts, and everyone else you can think of, are revenue-starved, and have been for a long, long time.  With state and local services cut to the bone, education per pupil funding nationally ranked last, and growing infrastructure concerns, the time had come to support a revision of Nevada’s real property tax “caps.”  SJR 14, an initiative to amend Nevada’s Constitution to allow the concept of “reset on sale,” seemed to be the vehicle to start a conversation, which would move Nevada to a more financially-secure place.  So, NAIOP conditionally supported the Resolution, not for its substance, but for the purpose of starting what was promised to be 18 months of tax policy discussions in the interim leading up to the 2019 Session.  It was a position, which, though benign, drew a lot of fire.  Senate Minority Leader Roberson publicly questioned whether we even represented NAIOP during our testimony.  Members unaware of the caveat in our positioning questioned our sanity and sobriety.

As we know, despite our best efforts, those discussions never took place during the interim.  Discussions did not take place for the first 60 days of the Session.  In fact, the first stakeholder meeting took place on April 24, 2019 – Day 80 of the 120-day Session.  More, a study was commissioned by proponents of the Resolution.  It was not shared until that same day of the 120-day Session.  The financial impact report consists of 377 pages detailing the impact reset on sale will have on every single one of Nevada’s taxing districts and entities. As you can imagine the stakeholders in the room were both elated to finally have something to pour over, yet concerned about the abbreviated timeframe in which to do so. Of greater concern was the ask that stakeholders put their money where their mouths are and support the ballot question in the upcoming election, should it get that far. At this time, the Resolution has not come up for a committee hearing and there is no proposed date for one. We are hearing rumblings of another stakeholder meeting, but that has not been confirmed either. So, as it stands, we have to date had one stakeholder meeting, in conjunction with receiving a very lengthy report, and still no substantive discussion.

All that said, the narrative has shifted this session, putting the focus of the additional funds solely on bettering Nevada’s schools. While there is no denying the need for increased funds in our schools, there is a dyer need for more and better transparency. The Resolution would not change in any way the allocation of tax revenue; it would just increase the amount of revenue flowing into the General Fund. With respect to education, additional revenue into the State General Fund would then be allocated into the Distributive School Account, or “DSA,” which is, in essence, another general fund for public schools.  Given this, the business community and municipalities have grave concerns about what the money moved into the DSA will actually be used for. Much of the increased revenue could be subject to collective bargaining agreements, which only increases the concern about transparency. With this now being the main focus for getting this Resolution passed through both houses and then by the voters, it raises a number of red flags as to how this additional revenue will actually be spent and how it will benefit Nevada as a whole. Given there are only 34 days left in the Session as of the date of this article, a number of existing budgetary  concerns, not the least of which is the school funding formula (for which a major overhaul has also been proposed, but no bill language has been seen), and the Economic Forum coming up May 1, 2019, there is precious little time left to have the robust discussions required when considering a complete shift in how property taxes are calculated in the State of Nevada. As ever, we remain vigilant on this issue, so as to help NAIOP craft a position that accurately represents its membership and the CRE industry. What that position looks like will depend on just exactly what’s behind the curtain.

ODDS & ENDS

History is always the best teacher, even though we sometimes don’t want to listen.  Take, for example, the instant situation of overhauling real estate tax policy with just over a month left in the Session, and consider the following:

The current Nevada state flag was designed as part of a contest in 1926. Although a man by the name of Louis Schellbach III won the contest and the $25 prize which went along with it, the Legislature got involved, and of course, the two houses disagreed – this time over the placement of the word “Nevada” on the flag. Although a compromise was eventually reached, the Legislature waited until the last minute to push the amendment through, and it got lost. The bill nevertheless passed, and Gov. Balzar unknowingly signed the bill without the proper amendment. The flag used from 1929 until 1991 was not the flag approved by the Legislature, and thus, not the official state flag. The oversight went unnoticed for more than 60 years.

 

Jonathan Leleu, Director
Kerrie Kramer, Government Affairs Analyst
Fennemore Craig
jleleu@fclaw.com | kkramer@fclaw.com  | T: 702.692.8037

First, your return to shore was not part of our negotiations nor our agreement so I must do nothing. And secondly, you must be a pirate for the pirate’s code to apply and you’re not. And thirdly, the code is more what you’d call “guidelines” than actual rules. Welcome aboard the Black Pearl, Miss Turner!

Captain Hector Barbossa

Deadlines are what turns a dream into a goal.  The goals of everyone in Carson City?  Pass solid legislation and adjourn sine die on June 3, 2019…or so we thought.  As we approached Monday, March 18, the first major deadline of the 80th Legislative Session – legislator bill introductions (bills sponsored by individual legislators must be introduced or forever entombed as BDR’s) – approximately 150 BDR’s had yet to be introduced on the floor of their respective houses.  Yet, the Legislature did not convene the weekend prior.  Morning sessions were not scheduled for Monday the 18th.  US Senator Jackie Rosen spoke to a combined floor session in the Assembly Chambers that evening.  As the sun set, rumors began to fly around Carson City that perhaps…just maybe…we would witness the earliest culling of the bill herd the state has ever seen.  Hope rose that maybe, just maybe, our attention would be focused on existing legislation and upcoming committee bills, as the overall bill count would be reduced by roughly 10%.

Then, it came.  An after-dark concurrent resolution moved through both chambers and quietly passed.  Buried at the end of the resolution appeared language which suspended the deadline due to recent resignations of Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson, and Assemblyman Mike Sprinkle.  Legislator bills were saved, no one was allowed off the ship, and we turned and set sail, salvation fading into the distance.  The Code of the Brethren had struck again.

Highlights of the legislation we continue to track for NAIOP include the following:

SB 151
– Sponsored by Senator Ratti, this bill seeks to amend existing statutes pertaining to summary eviction.  Senator Ratti has clarified this bill is not intended to touch commercial leasing, and an amendment is being crafted to remove commercial from the impact of the bill.  As such, this bill is on its way toward a positive resolution.

AB 197 – This bill seeks to make certain terms of form contracts – contracts of adhesion – unconscionable by statute, and allow a private right of action against the drafting party for including the unconscionable term(s).  The current language in the bill covers all contracts, including business-to-business, business-to-consumer, employment, AIA, and various other form contracts.  Assemblyman Edgar Flores, the Sponsor, met with us several times, and has committed to remove references to business-to-business transactions such as commercial leases and take a look at our concerns with references to employment contracts, however, the bill will be specifically aimed at mandatory arbitration clauses.  We will continue to work with the Assemblyman toward a resolution of our concerns.

SB 251 – Similar to the City of Las Vegas’ golf course/open space ordinance, this bill would require a new owner of a golf course to do a number of things as conditions of approval prior to any redevelopment of the golf course to another use. Sponsored by Senator Woodhouse, this bill would place a restrictive covenant restricting the use to a golf course only, and allows an owner of a plot or parcel within 2,000 feet of a converted golf course to bring a private right of action against the new owner of the property if there is a diminution of value to the nearby property. Should a diminution be determined by the court, the owner shall recover the sum equal to the diminution and reasonable attorney’s fees.  Senator Woodhouse proactively reached out to NAIOP for feedback on this bill, and we continue to work with her.

We continue to be involved in discussions regarding paid sick leave, minimum wage, and workforce development.  Unfortunately, the elephant in the room continues to be real property tax reform, which has not surfaced as of yet (recall, SJR 14 (reset on sale/depreciation) will need to move and pass this session if it is going to be included on the upcoming ballot).  While stakeholders have waited to discuss this issue since the close of the 79th Legislative Session in 2017, few conversations have taken place, and the municipalities have seemingly moved on from the issue.  To be sure, the time-frame to discuss such a massive issue is inappropriately tight, given the 2019 Legislative Session is half over.  That said, we do anticipate movement on this issue at some point, and our hope is such comes sooner than later, such that even a cursory analysis can be made by stakeholders.

ODDS & ENDS

The City of Reno was named for Civil War Major Gen. Jesse Lee Reno who was killed at the Battle of Fox’s Gap, South Mountain, Maryland on Sept. 14, 1862.  Neither Jesse Lee Reno, nor President Lincoln (who, along with Union-sympathetic congressmen, expedited the granting of statehood to ensure Lincoln received 3 additional electoral votes in the 1864 election) ever stepped foot in Nevada.

Jonathan Leleu, Director
Kerrie Kramer, Government Affairs Analyst
Fennemore Craig
jleleu@fclaw.com | kkramer@fclaw.com  | T: 702.692.8037

 

A pessimist sees a dark tunnel;
An optimist sees the light at the end of the tunnel;
A realist sees a freight train;
The engineer sees three idiots standing on the tracks.

– Unknown

Entering Week 5 of the 2019 Nevada Legislative Session, the capitol has eased back into a familiar rhythm; bill introduction… legislator meetings… committee… support… opposition… neutral… more legislator meetings… work session… As the first bill deadlines approach and we get closer to the deadlines (March 18 for legislator bill introductions) than we are to convening of the Session, we become acutely aware of the progress the Legislature has made in the past 30 days as the revelation hits that the 80th Session is 25% complete.  As of the date of this missive, 483 bills have been introduced – a sizeable figure until you realize this represents just more than 33% of bills traditionally introduced in a Nevada legislative session.  There are still 800 more bills coming.  That Carson City and the Sierra Nevada mountains have seen snow nearly every day of the 2019 Session could not be more ironic, as we stand in the Carson valley awaiting an avalanche – in one way or another.

The legislation introduced thus far touches several areas of policy interest; workforce development, apprenticeships, and prevailing wage bills have all been introduced and some have even been heard.  That said, legislation NOT introduced has been the buzz of Carson City in the first 5 weeks.  Understanding that somewhere in the remaining 800 bill draft requests are bills addressing real property taxation, construction defects, and other fees and costs which could be used to fill budget gaps, the Nevada business community prepares for the other shoe to drop, hoping the shoe is not an ACME anvil.  Blind faith never worked out well for the Coyote.  However, true preparation is difficult without language, and given the diminishing timeframe until the upcoming deadline, an element of nervousness has entered day-to-day conversation in Carson City.

A policy bill immediately identified as problematic is SB 151, legislation aimed at softening the blow of summary eviction proceedings on tenants – both residential and commercial.  The bill proposes to double the time a tenant who is delinquent in rent has to pay or quit, from 5 to 10 days.  The bill also doubles the time a tenant may remain on the premises from 24 to 48 hours following issuance of a court order for the constable to remove the tenant.  Always amenable to discussion, Sen. Ratti, the Sponsor of SB 151, has begun stakeholder meetings and aimed at providing a forum for reasonable discussion regarding alternative language for this bill.

Odds & Ends

Facts regarding Hoover Dam are common knowledge in Southern Nevada, making residents coveted assets for trivia night at the local pub.  But, did you know the hard hat, a staple of construction sites second only to the crane, was devised and used for the first time at Hoover Dam?  Here’s to seeing more hard hats and cranes in Nevada!


Jonathan Leleu, Director
Kerrie Kramer, Government Affairs Analyst
Fennemore Craig
jleleu@fclaw.com | kkramer@fclaw.com  | T: 702.692.8037

“Back to school. Back to school, to prove to Dad that I’m not a fool. I got my lunch packed up, my boots tied tight, I hope I don’t get in a fight. Ohhhh, back to school. Back to school. Back to school. Well, here goes nothing.”

– Billy Madison

As we write this month’s newsletter, Carson City is being blanketed in snow while legislators, lobbyists, and press all converge in Northern Nevada.  Indeed, when it’s quiet, you can almost hear the local children practicing “Home Means Nevada” one last time before it’s showtime on the floor of the State Senate and Assembly chambers.  Yet, despite the pomp and circumstance, reality has set in that although we are hurtling toward the constitutionally-mandated beginning of the biennial legislative session with a brand new Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Controller and Treasurer, as well as many, many freshman legislators, there are strikingly few bills to review, which makes predicting the direction this legislature intends to move our small state incredibly difficult.

Nonetheless, the 80th Legislative Session will gavel-in on February 4, 2019 whether there’s a plan or not, so kicking off the NAIOP monthly updates with a bit of positivity seemed most appropriate. And what better way to do that than to talk about workforce development, apprenticeships, proposed grant funding and a possible appropriation for federal lands?

Lack of skilled labor is a national issue with profound adverse economic repercussions in smaller states. Workforce development has always been a priority for NAIOP and something the organization consistently supported in recent years at the legislature. Two pre-filed bills are intended to bolster the state’s workforce development programs. Assembly Bill 32 offers an expansion of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development’s current workforce recruitment and assessment programs to include programs for non-profit organizations, as well as existing employees of a participating employer. Should this bill pass, the expanded training and recruitment opportunities for participating employers will allow businesses to grow organically from the inside and provide better workplace opportunities for their employees. In addition, Assembly Bill 68 aligns Nevada’s apprenticeship programs with federal law and moves all of the state’s apprenticeship programs under the Office of Workforce Innovation. The bill is intended to move Nevada into a position where it may benefit from federal programs which were previously unreachable due to structural issues created by antiquated or ill-written state statutes. In increasing opportunities for apprenticeships, AB 68 takes aim at increasing workforce development in the state.

Senate Bill 96 seeks to enhance Nevada’s ability to maintain and develop its public lands by creating a state-level grant program aimed at awarding municipalities funds they need to evidence matching funds, which will qualify the municipalities for federal grants. As we continue to work toward a funding source for the infrastructure bank created by AB 399 in the 2017 Legislative Session, these grants could prove to be an important step toward enhancement of federal lands throughout the state.

As we move through the session, bills such as the three mentioned here can provide a lot of positivity in what can be an otherwise tough 120 days. In a world of partisanship, political fist fights, and substantial unknowns, the ability to support legislation which benefits all stakeholders and the state itself increases the pie, raises all boats, is a win-win, and a dozen other clichés for good things.  But importantly, they ultimately benefit the commercial real estate industry; a good omen indeed for NAIOP and its members.

ODDS & ENDS

Mark Twain, though commonly thought of as a Nevadan, only lived in Nevada from 1861-1864.  However, the brief time Twain spent in Nevada is often referred to as among the most impactful on his life and works.  To that end, and in the spirit of the beginning of the 80th Session of the Nevada Legislature, the following quote seems appropriate:

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”

– Mark Twain

 

Jonathan Leleu, Director
Kerrie Kramer, Government Affairs Analyst
Fennemore Craig
jleleu@fclaw.com | kkramer@fclaw.com  | T: 702.692.8037

Who can it be knocking at my door?
Make no sound, tip-toe across the floor.
If he hears, he’ll knock all day,
I’ll be trapped, and here I’ll have to stay.

Who Can It Be Now?
Men At Work (1981)

Moving through Election Day on November 6 to Thanksgiving, followed by NAIOP’s annual meeting and concluding with the final meeting of the County Commission prior to a 3-seat recomposition which will include Chairman Steve Sisolak vacating his seat to assume his role as Governor of the State of Nevada, and the December holiday season, one is left to wonder how to stay ahead of the curve as we run headlong into the 2019 Nevada Legislative Session.  Set to begin on February 4, a mere month from now, Legislators have put in place 968 Bill Draft Requests, and Legislative Counsel Bureau has dropped 177 bills – not quite 20% of outstanding BDR’s – for the upcoming Session.  Indeed, comprehensive speed-reading seems to rate high on the agenda of “things to do” as we prepare for our biennial trek to Carson City.

Yet, just when screaming “UNCLE” is right on the tip of your tongue, the phone rings and the Caller-ID doesn’t recognize the number.  Intoxicated by festive holiday spirits and more than a bit of egg nog, you pick up the phone to hear the cheery voice of…a candidate for city office.  GAH!  I thought this ended back in November!  But then you remember and just as Seinfeld whispered “Newman” between his gritted teeth, you exhale “Nevada” and hear the familiar campaign spiel, as your mind drifts to strangling whoever had the wonderful idea of running city elections separately from the general statewide and national elections.  How did running an election every single year seem like a good idea?  “There ought to be a law.”

There might be one.

Amid the nearly 1,000 BDR’s and 177 bills, AB 50 has emerged as a potential favorite to stem the tide of perpetual fundraising currently enabled by Nevada law.  As written, AB 50 moves all city elections – both primary and general – to the statewide election cycle beginning in 2022.  The bill also makes accommodations for elected officials who were elected in 2017 as well as 2019 such that the present “staggered” election for offices with 4-year terms remains in place.  While it notes a fiscal impact to local municipalities, no fiscal note has been attached, yet.

Although we are expecting more BDR’s (more than 1,200 were filed in 2017), an up-to-date list of legislation we are currently tracking heading into the 2019 Legislative Session is being assembled for the Government Affairs Committee.  Please contact the Committee with any questions you may have.

Odds & Ends

From 2015 through 2016, Republicans held all Nevada state constitutional offices and majorities in both houses of the Legislature.  On November 6, 2018, incumbent Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske (R) defeated challenger Assemblyman Nelson Araujo (D) by just more than 6,200 votes, or .6%, to stave off a Democrat sweep of all Nevada state constitutional offices (Democrats already held majorities in both the Nevada Senate and Assembly) thus denying Democrats’ ability to hold all Nevada state constitutional offices and majorities in both houses of the Legislature for the first time since 1938 – the second of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s four-term Presidency.

Jonathan Leleu, Director
Kerrie Kramer, Government Affairs Analyst
Fennemore Craig
jleleu@fclaw.com | kkramer@fclaw.com  | T: 702.692.8037

“It becomes a gift for one, as opposed to a gift for all.” – the esteemed Jon Leleu, Ladies and Gentlemen

To TIF, or not to TIF, that is the question. For many, many years, almost every state in the US, save Arizona, has had TIF enabling laws on its books. While they all say different things, the goal is the same – to invest in infrastructure and other improvements in blighted areas, to increase and promote neighborhood stability, development, and redevelopment.

So, what is TIF and what does it do? Tax increment financing, or TIF, originated in California in 1952. At the time, it didn’t really take off and over the course of almost 20 years, only 6 other states enacted TIF legislation – Minnesota, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon Washington, and Wyoming. Due to TIF initially being a way of providing matching dollars for federal “urban renewal programs,” and those funds drying up in the 1970’s, cities began looking at TIF funding without federal dollars as an alternative. By the time we were through the 1990’s, the federal role was all but eliminated. In the modern era, TIF dollars typically are pulled from the real property tax base. In certain states, funds are generated from sales tax, personal property, PILOT, or some other revenue stream. Sales tax is a tough sell however, as it is difficult to predict, inferring greater risk.

As with any type of redevelopment incentive, the jury is still out in the court of public opinion. Generally, the decision all comes down to 2 policy arguments. Those who are in favor of economic development incentives will tell you that but for the incentive, development would not occur in certain areas. On the opposite side, you have those that contend it’s a public subsidy for development, where development might have already occurred due to favorable pricing created by a depressed market.  Who’s right?  Both.  We can all point to projects which would not exist without the TIF, as well as projects which would likely have come out of the ground regardless of the public spiff.

Let’s drill down the support and positive side of TIF. To do this, you need look no further than the City of Las Vegas’ Economic and Urban Development Department. Through the years, they have used TIF incentives in their Redevelopment Areas, attracting multiple new businesses to otherwise under-developed and blighted areas. Their process is one of the most transparent and smooth, with a high level of oversight and due diligence mixed in. Projects like the World Market Center Las Vegas have benefited from TIF incentives and have been able to expand operations and announce new development, in part due to TIF incentives over the years. This program can be pointed to as a shining example of the way TIF incentives can benefit a community and city, when done properly.

On the flip side, rampant misuse of TIF incentives in other municipalities have shed light on the issue of what happens when there is little to no transparency and understanding of where the funds are coming from and going to, by the public. In Chicago for instance, taxpayers are incredibly wary of TIF incentives as they are used so frequently, without restriction to blighted areas, and very little public discussion on what they will be used for, until it’s printed in the paper. Many feel like it’s a valuable tool, but only if used with a higher sense of scrutiny, because public dollars are being re-rerouted away from general purpose funds. Projects like revamping skyscrapers, large developer incentives, the renovation of Navy Pier, to the tune of $55 million, and more recently the renovation of a theater in the Uptown neighborhood, have made the public question whether or not TIF incentives are being abused, if their taxes will increase, and whether the subsidies are necessary.

When considering whether a project should receive TIF incentives, municipalities should ensure a very transparent, public process. The public must be able to understand the need for the project and the reason behind the incentive. A mistrust amongst the tax base could lead to trouble for municipalities that rely heavily on this incentive for growth, especially if there’s a chance that property taxes, or other taxes will be raised as a result.

Back in Las Vegas however, as the World Market Center Las Vegas embarks on development and soon-to-be construction of the only downtown convention center, it is clear that TIF incentives bring a lot to the table, and to the benefit of the entire valley.

Jonathan Leleu, Director
Kerrie Kramer, Government Affairs Analyst
Fennemore Craig
jleleu@fclaw.com | kkramer@fclaw.com  | T: 702.692.8037

Voters approach Mid-Term Elections with the same enthusiasm they show when shopping for a new refrigerator; some just grumble and go, and others put it off until the next time an issue arises.  Yet, a variety of factors, most notably the Donald Trump presidency…Click here to Read More

 

Jonathan Leleu, Director
Kerrie Kramer, Government Affairs Analyst
Fennemore Craig
jleleu@fclaw.com | kkramer@fclaw.com  | T: 702.692.8037

“The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.” – Winston Churchill

Election season is upon us, with only 19 days until early voting begins, 36 days until the general election and 126 until the first day of the 2019 Legislative Session.  528 BDRs are already submitted, and things are moving fast. As is customary in any election these days, there are a never-ending supply of commercials about the ballot questions, demanding that you vote yes on this, and no on that. We’ve all heard them thousands of times, this cycle alone. However, when it comes to ballot questions, there is typically one thing you never hear in any of the commercials: 4 of the 6 questions on November’s ballot amend the Nevada Constitution, the remaining 2 amend or enact statute. While this might not seem like a big deal, voters must be very analytical, educated, diligent, and levelheaded about ballot questions. Does it make sense to amend our Constitution or our statutes in this way, rather than leave it to the individuals we have voted into office, to vet and pass them during a legislative session? Understanding the process to bring an initiative or resolution forward and the effect the ballot question will have on Nevadans once it becomes law, is a critical component before casting your vote.

Nevada offers a couple different ways to enact or amend a statute. Traditionally, the 63 members of both houses of the Nevada Legislature, elected by the voters of Nevada, bring forth a bill, vet it through committee hearings in both houses, and vote on its approval or disapproval. Upon bicameral passage, a bill will go to the Governor and is generally signed into law. This is called “representative democracy.”  Growing in popularity in Nevada is “direct democracy,” where a vote of the people enacts or amends statute. As opposed to legislative action, direct democracy in Nevada begins with a petition describing the amendment or proposed law, which is circulated for signatures among voters statewide. Once 10 percent or greater qualifying signatures from 75 percent of the counties in the state are gathered, the petition is filed with the Secretary of State. It then goes to the next regular legislative session, where it has 40 days to be acted upon. If the Legislature approves the initiative, it will go to the Governor for approval and will become law subject to a referendum petition. Should the Legislature not take any action in 40 days, the Secretary of State shall put the initiative to a vote of the people in the next general election. If approved by the voters, it will become law after a canvass of votes by the Supreme Court, and may not be amended, repealed, or otherwise touched for 3 years.

Similarly, there are a couple of ways to amend the Nevada Constitution, all of which require a vote of the people. Just like a petition may be circulated to amend or enact statute, the same may be done for a constitutional amendment. The process differs somewhat, as the petition does not go to the legislature, but is published by the Secretary of State 3 times in newspapers in every county in the state, with the full text and explanatory matter. It then goes on the ballot at the succeeding general election, where it will be voted on. Should the measure pass, the Secretary of State publishes and resubmits the measure to be voted on again at the next general election. Once the matter passes two general elections, it becomes part of the Constitution upon a canvass vote of the Supreme Court.

A joint resolution is the only way a constitutional amendment may be brought forward by legislators. During the legislative session, the resolution will be heard just as a normal bill is heard before committees in both houses. It must pass out of its committees and out of both houses in two consecutive legislative sessions. Gubernatorial approval is not required. After the resolution receives bicameral passage in two consecutive legislative sessions, it will then go on the ballot at the next general election to be voted on, and upon approval shall become part of the Constitution.

Of critical importance when it comes to direct democracy and constitutional amendments, is understanding in Nevada, amendments take 6 years to implement, and another 6 years to repeal or amend, should there be any issues or unintended consequences. By contrast, a bill brought forward and passed during a legislative session can be amended or repealed during any regular legislative session. Many times, direct democracy and ballot questions come about as a means to getting something passed outside the legislature’s purview. If a representative of an issue does not feel they can get a measure passed during a regular legislative session for any number of reasons, direct democracy now seems to be the answer.

Even more troubling perhaps than the extended timeline for change, when it comes to constitutional amendments, is that most voters only know of the issues what they’re told in ad campaigns, what they were told when they signed the petition, or what they read in their ballots right before going to vote. There is no public debate in direct democracy, and most voters do not realize the issue before them has not been vetted by their elected representatives. Most voters have no idea what the timeframe for amendment or repeal is, should there be problem with the measure; but more importantly, the average voter does not ask themselves if this is something that belongs in the Nevada Constitution, as opposed to its statutes. There is little recognition of the difference between those two things. A Constitution, whether state or federal, should provide the skeleton and backbone of our statutes, it should not be treated like and amended as they are, such that every little thing ends up being amended into the constitution. Lawmakers and constituents alike should have the flexibility to change laws that are outdated, not working, need clarification, or otherwise need to be amended. That process is provided for every two years, for 120 days, during the regular meetings of the Nevada State Legislature, who are elected for precisely this purpose – voting on laws – by the people of the State of Nevada.

Click here for information on all ballot questions you’ll see on the November ballot.

 

Jonathan Leleu, Director
Kerrie Kramer, Government Affairs Analyst
Fennemore Craig
jleleu@fclaw.com | kkramer@fclaw.com  | T: 702.692.8037

Click here for the article – NAIOP Source: The Path to Better Infrastructure

Jonathan P. Leleu, Director
Kerrie Kramer, Government Affairs Analyst
Fennemore Craig
jleleu@fclaw.com | kkramer@fclaw.com  | T: 702.692.8037