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Petitions and Memorials

From Chapter III of the 2013 Legislative Manual:

Petitions and Memorials

From time to time, the Legislature is presented with petitions from various groups and individuals, as well as memorials from other legislatures. Although the essence of these documents may vary from requests to take certain action to expressions of gratitude for courtesies extended, their contents are always made known to the chamber through a statement by the presiding officer or the legislator presenting the material. These nonlegislative petitions or memorials then lie on the table or are referred to committee as deemed appropriate by the chair or the chamber.

The right to petition for redress of grievances is a time-honored tradition of our system of government. It is one means by which citizens can voice their opinions on the course of public affairs and, on occasion, have a direct impact on the legislative process.

Nonlegislative Initiatives to Change Statutes or the Nevada Constitution

Initiative petitions may be used to amend the Nevada Constitution and to enact a new statute or amend an existing law. An initiative petition to amend the Nevada Constitution, after the required number of signatures are gathered, is submitted directly to the voters at the next general election. If approved, it must be returned to the next general election for a second approval of the voters before the Constitution is officially amended.

An initiative petition to enact a new statute or amend an existing law that receives the required number of signatures is transmitted by the Secretary of State to the Legislature as soon as it convenes in regular session. Such petitions are traditionally introduced in the Assembly. The petition must be enacted without change or rejected by the Legislature within 40 days. If the proposed statute or amendment to a statute is enacted by the Legislature and approved by the Governor, it becomes law. If it is rejected or is not acted upon by the Legislature within 40 days, the Secretary of State must submit the initiative question to the voters for approval or disapproval at the next general election.

After rejecting the proposed statute or amendment to a statute, the Legislature is authorized to propose an alternative measure on the same subject, which (if approved by the Governor) must also be submitted to the voters. If both provisions (the original initiative question and the alternative measure) are approved, the question receiving the largest number of affirmative votes becomes law. An initiative petition approved by the voters cannot be amended, annulled, repealed, set aside, or suspended by the Legislature within three years from the date it takes effect.


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Last updated 1/29/2013

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