SENATE Committee on Government Affairs


Seventy-First Session

May 30, 2001



The Senate Committee on Government Affairswas called to order by Chairman Ann O'Connell, at 3:16 p.m., on Wednesday, May 30, 2001, in Room 2149 of the Legislative Building, Carson City, Nevada.  Exhibit A is the Agenda.  Exhibit B is the Attendance Roster.  All exhibits are available and on file at the Research Library of the Legislative Counsel Bureau.




Senator Ann O'Connell, Chairman

Senator William J. Raggio, Vice Chairman

Senator William R. O’Donnell

Senator Jon C. Porter

Senator Joseph M. Neal, Jr.

Senator Dina Titus

Senator Terry Care




Assemblywoman Kathryn (Kathy) A. McClain, Clark County Assembly District No. 15

Assemblyman Douglas (Doug) E. Bache, Clark County Assembly District No. 11

Assemblywoman Christina R. Giunchigliani, Clark County Assembly District No. 9




Kimberly Marsh Guinasso, Committee Counsel

Juliann K. Jenson, Committee Policy Analyst

Laura Hale, Committee Secretary




Theresa Malone, Las Vegas, District 2-G, State Board of Education and State Board for Occupational Education

Dr. John Gwaltney, Sparks, District 1-B, State Board of Education and State Board for Occupational Education

Dr. Jane A. Nichols, Chancellor, System Administration Office, University and Community College System of Nevada

Thalia Dondero, Las Vegas, Board of Regents, University and Community College System of Nevada

Robert E. Erickson, Research Director, Research Division, Legislative Counsel Bureau

Mike Slanker, Consultant for the Redistricting Process, Nevada State Republican Party

Ryan Edwin, Member, Nevada State Republican Party

Scott G. Wasserman, Chief Deputy Legislative Counsel, Legal Division, Legislative Counsel Bureau

Mark Braden, Lobbyist, Nevada State Republican Party

Stan Miller, Tort Claims Administrator, Litigation Division, Office of the Attorney General

Robert S. Hadfield, Lobbyist, Nevada Association of Counties

Mark H. Fiorentino, Lobbyist, Nevada Outdoor Media Association

Brian K. Krolicki, State Treasurer, Office of the State Treasurer

Scott G. Wasserman, Chief Deputy Legislative Counsel, Legal Division, Legislative Counsel Bureau

Michael J. Stewart, Senior Research Analyst, Research Division, Legislative Counsel Bureau


Chairman O’Connell opened Assembly Joint Resolution (A.J.R.) 11 for hearing.


ASSEMBLY JOINT RESOLUTION 11:  Proposes to amend Nevada Constitution to allow legislature to authorize state to operate lottery for support of public education of children and for support of health and welfare of senior citizens. (BDR C-1200)


Assemblywoman Kathryn (Kathy) A. McClain, Clark County Assembly District No. 15, testified the Nevada Constitution, ratified by the voters in 1864, prohibits having a lottery.  She quoted from Governor Blaisdell’s 1871 retirement speech wherein he observed, “It’s remarkable that in a state, the constitution of which prohibits lotteries, the least harmful species of gaming, the statute should permit and sanction feral, the most dangerous.”  Obviously we do not have feral games today, said Assemblywoman McClain, but we have a full spectrum of other kinds of legalized gaming in Nevada.  And Nevada also has a huge revenue shortfall, she said, noting lotteries have proved successful in many states in the last 20 to 30 years, funding programs such as education, senior services, parks, open spaces, as well as general fund enhancements.


Continuing, Assemblywoman McClain said it has been said a society is judged by how it treats its youngest and its oldest citizens, and Nevada consistently ranks at the bottom of any index of social well being, usually due to a lack of funds.  She explained this is the reason for A.J.R. 11, which is the first step to providing a lottery in Nevada to raise revenues for the enhancement of our public school system and programs and services for our seniors.  It would delete the prohibition against the lottery and allow the legislature to authorize a state-run lottery, to determine how it will be operated, and how the funds will be appropriated, she said, adding these funds would be used as supplemental funding to programs and services for our children and our seniors and would not be used to supplant any funding mechanisms.


Assemblywoman McClain pointed out lotteries generally are not considered a very stable form of revenue; however, she said, Nevada has the opportunity to design a lottery system resulting in a stable funding source for many years, and she has some ideas for enabling legislation.  She explained A.J.R. 11 is short to avoid adding elements to the constitution that may have to be changed later.  The resolution would not allow any other political subdivision to authorize a lottery, and it would have to pass this legislative session and the next to go to a vote of the people in 2004.  Her intent, she said, if the resolution passes this session, is to bring back legislation next session.  She said she has had positive support on this from voters and believes the voters would pass it in 2004.


Assemblywoman McClain proposed the legislature provide for a trust fund, with 50 percent of the net proceeds deposited for 20 years, and the other 50 percent of net proceeds be deposited and made available for distribution.  The interest generated off the trust fund could also be deposited in the same special fund, she said, so there would be interest coming from the trust fund, plus the 50 percent of the net proceeds, for appropriations.  This, she said, would provide a steady revenue stream, even if the lottery were to have “bad years.”  She said after the initial 20 years, all the proceeds plus the interest generated, less operational costs, would be available for disbursement, which would basically double what could be spent, assuming the lottery was still functioning properly.


A spreadsheet and handout (Exhibit C) including information on what happens in other states were submitted by Assemblywoman McClain.  Reviewing this information, she pointed out 37 states and the District of Columbia operate lotteries, and a lot of the income is used for education.  She reported Pennsylvania has a “fantastic” senior prescription drug program and senior health care totally funded by its lottery.  With regard to sales revenues, she said, on average, about 15 percent goes to operational costs, 55 percent to prize money, and 35 percent for net proceeds to the state.  The calculation of the average number of tickets sold was skewed, she said, due to unclear visitor counts.  However, she estimated if ten tickets were sold per year, per person, counting residents and visitors, it would generate $307 million per year, with 35 percent producing $130 million per year for the trust fund.  She further estimated $65 million would go to the trust fund, and within 20 years there would be $1.3 billion from which to draw interest; the other $65 million could be appropriated on an annual basis.  She said she did not investigate start-up costs, because if this passes through this session, and then the legislation is proposed next session, those details could be ironed out then.


Assemblywoman McClain explained to Chairman O’Connell the tickets would probably sell for $1.  She said when this bill was first introduced, she received an e-mail from the director of “Powerball” wanting to know, “When are you guys going to come on line?” to which she responded it was going to take a little while.  She explained opposition to similar bills in the 1960s and 1980s was not present this time, perhaps because the gaming industry is so successful now they do not see the lottery as a threat anymore.  With regard to arguments a lottery is like a regressive tax affecting poor people more than rich people, she said in Nevada, there is already ample opportunity to “blow” a paycheck if it is what people are going to do. 


Asserting the time has come for a Nevada lottery, Assemblywoman McClain said it would provide revenues to enhance K-12 education, including teachers’ salaries, textbooks, technology, after school drop-out programs, gifted student programs, English language programs, vocational education, and any other new programs developed.  Further, she said, it could also enhance quality of life for seniors, including veterans’ assistance, prescription drugs, health care, tax rebates, transportation, and any other new programs, as they are developed.  It would give Nevada another option for raising revenue and funding programs and services, she reiterated.


Senator O’Donnell said he believes the guaranteed return by the gaming commission on a slot machine is at least 70 percent, and since this measure only guarantees 55 percent of the money is returned to the general public, he did not see why anyone would participate.  Assemblywoman McClain responded the public was probably not so calculating, and said she sees the lottery as a “totally different animal” than casino slot machines, because slot machines are more for entertainment, whereas the lottery is something people buy to take a chance, “it might be the big one.”


Senator Neal countered slot machines operate on the same principal.  He pointed out the MGM Mirage Corporation had bought Dry Lake Lottery Station, which is just outside of Stateline, next to Prim.  He asserted they bought it because a lot of people from Las Vegas are going down there and playing the lottery tickets, or they drive to Arizona to play “Powerball.”  He asked what it would mean to the state of Nevada, in terms of funds received, to adopt “Powerball,” as other states have done.  Assemblywoman McClain said she had not pursued it because Nevada is 5 years away from implementing this, but she said she could find out.


Senator Neal said apparently people are making a lot of money, because Arizona had their own lottery and they also adopted “Powerball.”  He surmised about 27 states or more have it and apparently make a lot of money off it, because no one has given it up since it went into effect.  He also asked if anyone from the gaming industry had contacted Assemblywoman McClain about this.  She said it was her understanding there was a newspaper article about one particular group of casinos’ opposition, but they have never contacted her.  However, she said, the Nevada Resort Association has taken no position on the bill at this point.  Senator Neal pointed out the Nevada Resort Association was not opposed to his bingo bill, but somehow it got “put to death” in the Assembly by a gambler.


Chairman O’Connell closed the hearing on A.J.R. 11 and opened the hearing on A.B. 664.


ASSEMBLY BILL 664:  Revises districts for state board of education and board of regents. (BDR 34-1541)


Assemblyman Douglas (Doug) E. Bache, Clark County Assembly District No. 11, testified on behalf of Chairman Giunchigliani of the Assembly Committee on Elections, Procedures, and Ethics, to present the bill dealing with the State Board of Education and the university regents.  As originally drafted, he said, A.B. 664 encompassed maps for both entities which were the same and were made up of 10 members each.  He said the map for the board of education was essentially the same as originally introduced, and was based on the information the board members provided the committee members. 


Assemblyman Bache explained the university regents submitted a 13-member map, compared to the original 10-member map, and the Assembly amendment would provide 11 members, which would create one empty district.  This would be an Hispanic majority district, and unfortunately, he opined, it would combine incumbent regents Dondero and Wiesner into one district.  This was done at the direction of the committee chairman because both of their terms expire in the next election, so if one runs and the other does not, it would resolve the problem, he explained.


Assemblyman Bache said he believes this would be the first time in 20 or 30 years the university regents and the board of education would have their districts split.  Senator Porter asked why the choice was made for these particular regents to run against each other.  Assemblyman Bache replied he thought the main reason was the committee wanted to keep Hispanic and black populations together, and reiterated both of these two regents’ terms expire in 2002, and so they would each have an equal opportunity to run and let the voters decide.


Senator Porter asked if alternatives were sought by the Assembly committee to allow incumbents to have a priority as they do in other areas.  Assemblyman Bache explained the size of the board of regents was kept the same as it is currently, and, he said he did not think there was any conscious decision to pit incumbents against each other.  He said the concern was the creation of the Hispanic university regent district, which ended up being a vacant district.


Although the request from the regents was for a 13-member district, Assemblyman Bache said there was not an appetite on the committee to increase membership beyond the current number, for reasons similar to those for not wanting to expand the legislature.  He added, “We think there are currently enough, and we were pleased with the board of education to see they were looking to reduce by one, as a cost savings, and come up with a good map representative of the state.”


Theresa Malone, Las Vegas, District 2-G, State Board of Education and State Board for Occupational Education, Department of Education, testified as cochairman of the board’s senate government affairs committee, noting in her district, she represents approximately 400,000 people in the state of Nevada, including a large portion of Clark and Nye counties.  She thanked the Legislature and committee for opening up the mapping room and making staff available for public information.


Ms. Malone provided an information packet on board of education members and their process in reaching the proposed 10-member board (Exhibit D).  She said their committee recognized the need for communities of interest and considered this in map preparation.  She noted board member Priscilla Rocha represents one district with a projected 53.9 percent Hispanic population.  Chairman O’Connell explained the tables (Exhibit E) with the make-ups of the districts being discussed were available to the audience.


Ms. Malone directed attention to page 2 of 4 from the tables, noting the second community of interest is an Hispanic area with the second highest population at 27.9 percent, and is represented by board member Marcia Washington.  She noted the highest African-American population figure they could reach was 22.9 percent.  She explained, currently, the board of education is made up of 11 members, one of whom serves the Washoe area and has reached the statutory limit for terms of 12 years.  She pointed out this population has decreased and would be picked up and incorporated within the plan to support almost 200,000 people per every board of education member of the proposed ten.


There have been many communications with rural areas in Nevada, Ms. Malone reported, and many legislators and constituents expressed an interest in having a rural population representative on the state board.  Therefore, she said, the board was influenced by the creation of ten seats, which gives seats to three rural representatives, including one from Washoe County, and seven from Clark County.


Ms. Malone drew attention to the last document in Exhibit D, a history provided by Brian L. Davie, Legislative Services Officer, Administrative Division, Legislative Counsel Bureau, which shows the board of education and the board of regents have had concurrent districts over the last 20 years, because of reapportionment.  She said the board of education had also looked at costs to save as much money as possible, and decided they could represent the population with a decreased number, which would result in a $2,500 savings.  For the current 11 members, she said, the total cost is $27,500 per year.

Senator Neal asked what the board is able to do with the 10-member number which it cannot do with the 11-member number.  Ms. Malone said if they had gone with 11 members, a Clark County person on the board would need to represent a portion of rural Nevada, as well as Clark County.  Senator Neal countered redistricting is supposed to be achieving effective representation, and questioned how it could be done if the number of people each member represented were expanded.  Ms. Malone said because of the population increases in Clark County and the decreases in the rest of the state, it was found members still could provide thorough representation to the children and constituency with approximately 200,000 people per state board member.


Senator O’Donnell said he believed this was a “one man, one vote” kind of mentality and “even though you’re expanding, right now, you’re representing more people per representative in Clark County than you would be under this new plan.  Right now, today, you’re representing more people than under the new plan, so the new plan would give you better representation.  There would be better access to you under the new plan versus the old plan.”


Ms. Malone thanked Senator O’Donnell for clarifying, but Senator Neal said he did not follow this logic and suggested the Senator may want to explain.  Senator O’Donnell said, “The number of people you represent is less per representative than it was before.  So instead of representing 500,000 people, you’re only representing 200,000 people.  The 200,000 are a homogeneous group and you can represent their issues at the board.  The more people you get, the more diverse and conflicting the representation.  Even 200,000 is high.”


Senator Neal clarified the question he raised was, what is the magic of ten members, which would mean each member would represent more people than currently, although the redistricting is supposed to be based on representation.  Dr. John Gwaltney, Sparks, District 1-B, State Board of Education and State Board for Occupational Education, testified as co-chairman of the board’s senate government affairs committee.  He said their board debated this issue and perceived representation as not simply the number of people represented, but also how effectively the board functions as a body.  Further, Dr. Gwaltney explained:


It was the general consensus of our body that we would do a more deliberate job, come to quicker and more productive answers, and at the same time be more efficient with 10 members.  There’s nothing particularly magical about 10, other than the preservation of the rural district.  It was clear to us that there were only two numbers that would preserve the rural district: 10 and 13.  It was a deliberate decision for 10 out of 11 of our members to say that we felt we would function quicker and more effectively as a group of 10 rather than 13.  Some savings could be established, but we did not intend to reduce representation.  We did intend to become more effective [and] efficient. . . .  [We] strongly believe we will not reduce representation to the state, but will become sufficiently more effective as a political body at 10 than we would have been otherwise.


Dr. Gwaltney explained to Senator Neal there would not be a problem with deadlocks because their board needs six affirmative votes to pass a motion.  He noted there are other states with this type of policy, where it requires six to pass a motion.  He said they were previously required by law to have six affirmative votes to pass a motion and this would remain true.


Ms. Malone pointed out in their current standing rules for the board, the presence of six or more members constitutes a quorum, and any official action of the board requires at least six affirmative votes.  Therefore, she said, they already have procedures in place to help with the issue of consensus and would amend, if necessary, any other items to help make them more efficient.


Senator Porter pointed out in the charts specific to the board of regents, the open seat being created shows an Hispanic population of 51.5 percent, while the district with the most Hispanic/Latino population for the board of education proposed is 53.09 percent.  He asked for an explanation of why those numbers were so low as compared to numbers sought by the Legislature.


Ms. Malone explained they had reviewed the Thornburg v. Gingles case from 1986, which stated the minority group must be sufficiently large and geographically compact to constitute a majority in a single-member district.  In arriving at the 53.09 percent, she said, this was the highest number showing a visually cohesive district which would not appear to be gerrymandered.  She said they did look at higher percentage populations, but were concerned they might be contested.


Senator Porter clarified out of a population of about 300,000, the board had chosen to put about one-third into a district at about 100,000.  Ms. Malone said, “That was one of the best we could come up with, Senator.”  Senator Porter asked Assemblyman Bache, with regard to the board of regents, to explain how the 51 percent came about.  Assemblyman Bache said as far as the construction of the districts, he believed Mr. Erickson followed the direction of the chairman of the committee.  With 11 districts throughout the state, 7 of them entirely within Clark County, there would be close to 200,000 people in a district, he said, and this was probably the best they could do with those large districts.  He asserted a regent or board of education district is about twice the size of a senate district.  Senator Porter responded it was actually the size of his senate district, currently.  Assemblyman Bache confirmed there could have been a higher percentage if the Assembly committee had gone with the increased number of members for the board of regents, but, he said, they did not want to increase the size and cost of government.


Ms. Malone said after the board of education made the recommendation of 10 members, the maps were drawn and the board decided which version they liked.  The Hispanic community of interest was given the opportunity to see the maps and voice their opinions, and their representative said they were satisfied and would neither object to nor favor the proposal.


Dr. Jane A. Nichols, Chancellor, University and Community College System of Nevada (UCCSN), introduced herself and Board of Regents chairman, Thalia Dondero.  Dr. Nichols said she believed there was another regent in Las Vegas who also may wish to speak.  She conveyed the wishes of the Board of Regents who, she said, took similar care in debating the issues related to redistricting as did the board of education.  She came down on the side of representation across the state and felt 13 members would give better representation.  The vote was seven to four, she said, but the board was very clear regarding certain principles in its decision-making.  She said it was very important the rural district not take in Clark County to the extent the rural district could be without representation, and, as was stated earlier, the only way to do it is with a 13- or 10-member board.


Dr. Nichols said the regents decided on 13 members in order to preserve the four regents outside Clark County, and to allow the creation of reasonably sized districts.  She emphasized there are other ways to accommodate the very small additional costs created by the addition of two more regents.  Specifically, she said, the regents were changing next year to a more efficient operation as a board with 1-day meetings rather than 2-day meetings.  She referenced a map for 13 regents constructed by Legislative Counsel Bureau staff and supported by the Board of Regents.


Dr. Nichols explained to Senator O’Donnell part of the decision was made philosophically because, as the UCCSN becomes more complex, it operates a great deal by committees, and 13 regents would be needed to keep the committees operating and to do the business of the board.  She reiterated earlier testimony, with ten regents there would be members sharing districts: Regents Howard and Wiesner in one, and Regents Gallagher and Hill in another, which, she asserted, would be a very awkward situation for the regents.  She said the regents had considered 9-, 10-, 11-, 12-, and 13-member boards, and looked at various maps for each of those scenarios, and every possible configuration that might work.


Thalia Dondero, Las Vegas, Board of Regents, UCCSN, testified her district has been Hispanic over the years and is currently 57.5 percent.  She reiterated the creation of a single district with two regents would be a very awkward situation since there would be remaining time in the terms of two seated regents.  With the growth of the community in Clark County especially, she said, the load of work is tremendous and the extra regents would help a great deal.  She referred to the new campus in Henderson which would require an extra group of people to work on those committees, adding the regents are not paid for this work.  She expressed the regents do those things, saying:


. . . because we know that education is very important to the community and to our children and especially higher education in this day and age.  The community colleges and the universities are doing a tremendously good job, and it just takes all that time.  I work practically fulltime right now with the Board of Regents.  That would be my only comment, excepting, I’m bound by the fact that our board did vote for 13 members.


Ms. Dondero explained to Senator Neal her term would end in 2002 when she would run again.  She confirmed the 11-member map would combine her district with Regent Tom Wiesner’s.  She noted he has the same term limit and has indicated to Ms. Dondero he is also planning to run for another term.


Chairman O’Connell asked Mr. Erickson to bring up the different maps so the committee could take a look at them.  Robert E. Erickson, Research Director, Research Division, Legislative Counsel Bureau, said he had been asked to help a lot of folks put together alternative plans for the boards of education and regents.  Beginning with the board of education 10-member plan, he pointed out the statewide picture shows three regions proposed for northern Nevada, whereas currently there are four.  He reiterated earlier testimony, one of the four northern members’ terms would expire this year and three members would remain.  He said there are currently seven members of the board who reside in Clark County, and would remain under this plan.  Although the districts for both boards are currently the same, he emphasized members of each board live in different parts of those districts, so it is not particularly easy to overlay one on top of the other.


With regard to the 11-member regents’ plan, Mr. Erickson said, one of those districts would need to combine about 80,000 residents outside of Clark County with about 100,000 Clark County residents.  Under this option, he said, the district would include Elko, White Pine, and Lincoln Counties, Pahrump, and 98,000 people from Clark County.  The current incumbent in the district is Regent Gallagher, who lives in Elko, he said, and the remaining northern regents, Derby, Hill, and Rosenberg, would each have a district for the future.


Next, looking at Clark County detail on a particular plan, Mr. Erickson said an Hispanic majority district was drawn, whereas currently there are no Hispanic members of the Board of Regents.  He said at this time there is one African-American member of the Board of Regents, Linda Howard, who lives in district 1.  In this general part of Las Vegas, he said, there is quite a bit of overlap of the black community and the Hispanic community.  He noted Regent Howard’s district would be almost 26 percent African-American, which is higher than the percentage in her current district, even though about 40,000 people were added to this district. 


Mr. Erickson pointed out where Regents Wiesner and Dondero live in district 4, which is adjacent to the open district, and, he said, if the committee wanted to consider any kind of amendments, they could be readily achieved.  He said a 13-member proposal was also just drafted where every incumbent would have a district in which to run.


Mr. Erickson confirmed for Senator Porter, the Hispanic community would have less representation under the 13-member plan than under the 11-member plan.  He said it could be drawn with a higher percentage Hispanic population, but would be at the expense of Regent Howard’s existing district, and incumbency is one of the factors considered.


With regard to standards for communities of interest and population, Mr. Erickson told Senator Porter he would defer to counsel.  He noted the Hispanic population in Clark County is very disbursed, making it difficult to put 200,000 Hispanics in the same district.  The 13-member plan includes a 55.71 percent Hispanic district, he said, and it would not be easy to draw a compact plan with a percentage much higher.  He added the African-American population for a particular district on the 13-member plan was 26.82 percent.


Senator Neal asserted blacks predominantly populate an area south of the district which is currently Regent Howard’s, under the 11-member plan, and if combined with the Hispanic population, Regent Howard would lose black population she previously had.  Mr. Erickson asserted it would be a better option than the 10-member plan was when originally introduced.


Mr. Wasserman explained to Senator Porter standards set forth by the courts are the same, no matter how many districts are drawn, but, he suggested, those standards were applied in a different way by the Board of Regents resulting in very different looking districts and different racial characteristics of those districts.


With regard to application of standards for different bodies of government, Mr. Wasserman explained congressional districts have to be as nearly equal as practicable, but with regard to state legislatures the courts have recognized more areas of concern can be taken into consideration.  Providing representation for a political subdivision and recognizing communities of interest are such areas, he said, and, as a result, the population deviation among districts for state legislatures has basically been set at 10 percent.  He said he did not think the 10 percent rule would be applied to the boards of education and regents at the local level.  However, he said, the Voting Rights Act would apply equally to drawing districts for the boards of education and regents or drawing legislative districts.


Senator Porter suggested it would be easier with 13 members to create a community of interest for Hispanics and Latinos without jeopardizing Regent Howard’s base in the community.  Mr. Wasserman responded he understood Senator Porter’s suggestion, but pointed out the courts allow governing bodies to determine a number of seats and, if enough seats are added to a plan, there could be a 60-member plan with five minority group districts.  Mr. Wasserman said it is why the courts do not mandate a certain number of seats.  However, he said, the courts would review a reduction of seats if it were intended to dilute a minority groups’ representation, which would clearly be found unconstitutional.  Regarding the current plan with a 51 percent Hispanic population district, Mr. Wasserman said, a 13-member district would not increase the number of Hispanic districts, but would create a larger Hispanic population, percentage wise, in the district.


Mr. Erickson clarified currently, the district occupied by state education board member Marcia Washington and Regent Howard is 25.38 percent black or African-American.  Also, he said, there are two board of education districts with over 41 percent Hispanic populations, but currently, no district for either the regents or the state board is over 50 percent.


Chairman O’Connell closed the hearing on A.B. 664 and opened the hearing on S.B. 575.  (She directed the hearing on S.B. 575 be translated verbatim.)


SENATE BILL 575:  Revises districts for state legislators and representatives in congress. (BDR 17-1558)


Chairman O’Connell stated:


I want to bring your attention to the new maps and have the maps for the Hispanic districts put up again.  When we met the last time and dealt with this issue, we asked the gentleman talking, I believe his name was Andres [Ramirez, Latinos for Equal Representation], and we asked him specifically what the Hispanic communities were interested in, and we tried to accommodate those interests.  I am looking for those specific maps.


We are probably going to need some specific areas pointed out for us.  We have tried to accommodate [the Hispanic community], right down to specific lines they testified to, if we could get Mr. Braden to come up to the table, and have either Ryan Edwin or Mike Slanker talk about where those lines are.  From their [Hispanic community] testimony, we tried to duplicate their request exactly on the maps.  If you (Ryan Edwin and Mike Slanker) could point those districts out to us and give us the detail.


In the Senate there are two seats.  One is an open seat and one, I believe, is currently occupied by Senator Coffin.  Then we have five Assembly seats and you’re going to have to give us the population breakdowns for the Hispanic Senate seats.


Mike Slanker, Consultant for the Redistricting Process, Republican Party, stated:


After last week’s testimony and the questions raised by the Hispanic coalition that has asked us to consider their maps, we went back and made some of the changes they requested.  The open seat that was Hispanic in our map, which was approximately 56 percent Hispanic, we have now gone back to change to make it 60 percent Hispanic.  The other Senate district, which Senator Coffin now resides in, which was at 55 percent, went down to approximately 51 percent Hispanic.  Precincts were moved back and forth to get the 60 percent district they asked for, but both Senate seats are still majority Hispanic seats, but one of them is at 60 percent, per their request.


Chairman O’Connell asked, “And that’s the open seat?”


Mr. Slanker answered, “Correct.”


Chairman O’Connell asked, “Okay, and Ryan, if you would point to that on the map.  Could you give us the general outline of streets for this so that it will be fixed in everybody’s mind?”


Ryan Edwin, Member, Nevada Republican Party stated:


Along the northwest border is essentially I15.  On the west end is Walnut Street, south to state route 147.  The western street is Lamb.  The southern border is Stewart.  Can’t tell what this street is, sorry; it’s just south of Harris.

Chairman O’Connell asked, “And then Senator Coffin’s district is [where]?”


Mr. Edwin responded:


On the northern border, Carey Street [Avenue], the eastern border is Dallas, the southern border is Charleston, and Palm [goes] south to Desert Inn, then west to Interstate 15.  Charleston is the northern border of district 3 and essentially it comes in to a point at Eastern.


Chairman O’Connell asked, “Ryan, how close is that to Coffin’s current district?”


Mr. Edwin replied, “It’s similar in certain areas; obviously, it goes outside the different areas.  But, he maintains a decent chunk of his current district.”


Chairman O’Connell continued, “And then it goes into Senator Care’s and Senator Titus’s district?”


Mr. Edwin answered, “I believe so.”


Chairman O’Connell asked, “And that’s the 51 percent?”


Mr. Edwin answered, “Correct.”


Senator Titus queried, “This is based on the notion that the Legislature is increased in size?”


Chairman O’Connell affirmed, “Yes, this is under a 23-member Senate.”


Senator Neal asked Mr. Wasserman, “What is the law governing the ‘looting’ of district populations of interest?”


Scott Wasserman, Deputy Chief Legislative Counsel, Legislative Counsel Bureau responded, “Just for clarification, are you asking me what percentage you need to draw a minority group district, or are you asking . . .?”




Senator Neal clarified:


Take Lake Mead, and the lines going up would simply represent I15, in the blue area in between the railroad tracks.  [To Mr. Edwin] Point out the railroad tracks going north at the border of my district.  The heavy black line is Lake Mead going across there?  In that particular section, that is community college, and that’s a heavy concentration of black residents that live in that particular area, going all the way up around Pecos to Gowan and Timberlake.  That is not an Hispanic district.  I just ran that district last year, and that’s not Hispanic.  I don’t know what the count shows, but I know [from] walking the district what it shows.  So, if you’re taking off that portion there, what does the law have to say about that?  Is there a law governing that?  Because what it is, there’s a dilution of that population, and they’re pushing me out into areas there where my voting . . . they’re taking away black population and increasing the white side of the population to the west.  I didn’t get too many votes out there either.


Mr. Wasserman said:


It’s probably easier to talk in general terms of the Voting Rights Act and its application.  When we use the term “communities of interest,” we sometimes use that interchangeably with “minority groups,” and “communities of interest” aren’t just limited to minority groups.  I think what we’re talking about here is minority groups, the African-American population and the Hispanic population.  And basically, as we heard a little earlier today, the “Gingles” case [Thornburg v. Gingles] said that if you have a minority group that’s sufficiently large and geographically compact to be a majority in a single-member district, and they’re politically cohesive, that you need to draw that district.  Except that you don’t want to get into racial gerrymandering where you make race the predominant factor in your redistricting plan at the expense of all other traditional redistricting criteria.


So, applying that to the situation here, under the Voting Rights Act, if you have a district in which the African-American population could be a majority in that district, and it’s reasonably compact and politically cohesive, you would need to draw that district, under the majority decisions of the courts.  But if it’s less than a majority, if it couldn’t be a majority in a single-member district, obviously, you can respect that community of interest and you can draw a district that contains that entire community of interest.  But it’s not necessarily a violation of the Voting Rights Act if that minority group couldn’t constitute a majority in a single-member district.  What we may be looking at here is a district that . . .


Senator Neal asked, “What about the dilution factor?”


Mr. Wasserman responded:


I think that what we have here is an effective plurality population in that senatorial district.  Even though the African-American population is not a majority in that district, the African-American population has a sufficient plurality to elect a candidate of its choosing, under the application of the court cases.  But, a minority viewpoint among courts is that you have to draw those districts under the Voting Rights Act.  That’s the minority view, and there isn’t a controlling case in Nevada that would require that the Legislature would have to draw a minority influence district.


Senator Neal stated, “I don’t know exactly what you said, but I do know what’s happening in terms of the map.”


Chairman O’Connell said:


There has been a question that has come up several times about the 65 percent, as far as a community of interest goes.  I wonder if we could have both Scott and Mr. Braden address that issue, because we have heard varying stories.  I think it would be helpful to the committee to get something on the record, and maybe clear this up.


Mr. Wasserman explained:


I have testified for the interim study and joint committees, and both the hearings that were held in Fallon and in Las Vegas.  Ten years ago, in the 1990s round [of redistricting], there was a rule of thumb that when you’re drawing your legislative districts and you’re drawing a minority district, you would include 65 percent of a minority population in that district.  That district would consist of 65 [percent] minority population to make up for factors such as lower voter age, lower voter registration, and lower voter turnout.  But in the 1990s, the U.S. Supreme Court reviewed those cases and basically said that you have to look at the totality of circumstances.  There is no magic number of percentages that you can use to create a minority district.  If you’re at 51 percent and that’s an effective minority district, that would obviously satisfy the Voting Rights Act because that minority group would be able to elect a candidate of its choosing.  In that particular U.S. Supreme Court decision, they actually upheld the lower court, or a redistricting plan that had an African-American district of approximately 51 percent population, and there was an Hispanic district of 84 percent.  Both those districts are in the same plan, so you can see there is no specific number that you have to reach.


Chairman O’Connell asked, “As long as it’s over the 51 percent?”


Mr. Wasserman answered:


That would establish a minority district.  And in the ninth circuit, when you’re applying the Voting Rights Act, you have to look at voting age.  The ninth circuit bases [decisions] on the voting age of that minority population, even though when you redistrict, you have to look at total population, and your districts have to be equal according to total population.  If you’re looking at a Voting Rights Act violation, then you’re looking at the voting age population.


Senator Titus stated:


If I were Hispanic, I would immediately file suit against this as a classic case of “cracking.”  You’ve “cracked” the Hispanic community of interest and population into two districts, one with 60 percent and one with 51 percent, watering down their voice.  And based on the number of people who are over 18 voting age, I bet you wouldn’t have a majority in there.  You could make a very good case of that.  And Joe could file suit at the same time, saying you’ve diluted the black influence of the other district.  This opens it up immediately to court challenge.


Senator O’Donnell noted:


Isn’t that what the young gentleman in the other hearing requested, though?  He requested two districts that were 60 percent and two districts that were 50 percent.  And he was the Democrat Hispanic who asked for this on the record.


Senator Titus iterated, “I don’t know what you’re remembering, or who said it, but I’m not speaking for that other gentleman, I’m speaking for myself.  How I see this, and how I think the court would see it.”


Mark Braden, Redistricting Consultant, Nevada Republican Party stated:


Madame Chairman, it’s a dangerous situation when two lawyers agree with each other.  I think it’s against the union rules.  But, in this particular case, I think we are in agreement, there is no 65 percent rule . . .


Senator Titus inquired, “Can I please ask who you are and where you came from, what your qualifications are, who invited you here, and what position you’re defending?”


Mr. Braden explained:


Certainly; I want you to always fly the house flag, Senator.  My name is Mark Braden, and I’m a lawyer at the law firm of Baker and Hostetler in Washington.  I was invited by the Senator [O’Connell] to testify and represent the Republican Party of the state of Nevada.  So, I want to be clear, so you can have a basis on which to judge the quality of my testimony.  My experience on this, and I can’t figure out how it’s actually possible, but this is in fact the fourth redistricting cycle in which I’ve worked and I have represented either political party organizations, state governments, [and] state legislative bodies in approximately 25 states, and have been involved in litigation across the country ranging from the Supreme Court to local district courts on this issue.


Someone telling you that there is some 65 percent rule simply is not telling you something that’s true.  There is no 65 percent rule; it’s a much more complicated issue than that.  I’ve looked at the various plans and the various different proposals, and it’s a much more complicated examination.  Of course, lawyers are wont to tell clients or prospective clients that issues are complicated, but this one is most certainly quite complicated.  To look at what represents the best representation for various community groups, you have to actually look at the totality of the circumstances.  I believe if you look at these plans, that in fact Senator Neal’s minority population, according to the only data that we can use for this . . . anecdotal data is important and in fact may be more accurate, but in reality, you can only use the census data.  And, I believe under the census data that, in fact, a district that was drawn for him under this proposal is at least the same percentage, and I believe actually a higher percentage, of black population than your existing district.  Although you may clearly know more about the politics of your district than I do, I think it’s a matter of law [that] you’re compelled to examine it on the basis of the census data and not your actual on-hand knowledge of it.


Senator Titus stated:


But, you said it’s more complicated than that, and so certainly community of interest would play a part here, too.  Just because the population is African-American doesn’t mean you aren’t splitting a community of interest by taking off part of that northern district and picking up a few other African-Americans scattered around to bring the numbers back up.


Mr. Braden said:


By necessity, when you redraw districts, there is an existing . . . in one definition of community of interest . . . you represent a Senate district, Senator.  That is, in fact, a community of interest, and you’ve had experience representing them, but the redistricting process, because of the population requirements of the Constitution, will require that to be reconfigured and, in many cases, broken up.  So, it’s unavoidable to some degree that various types of communities of interest would have to be broken up as dictated by the constitutional “one person, one vote” requirement.  What you are constrained by in your process, of course, is that you cannot fragment minority populations or minority communities of interest to benefit . . .  As an example, the proposal I’ve seen passed from the Assembly divides up various communities of interest.  Let’s be candid, because this is a political process.  The Hispanic community is divided up in a number of pieces of the Senate plan and the house plan that passed the Assembly for political purposes, namely, the retention of particular incumbent members and political variations.  Now that’s totally acceptable, except that it disadvantages an identifiable minority group.  And I would suggest that you look to, not a decision that someone has quoted you from the state of Illinois, but you look to the ninth circuit and you look to the Garza decision.  And in that particular case . . .


Senator Neal asked, “What decision?”


Mr. Braden answered, “Garza.  Again, because obviously I’m a partisan in this process, I would suggest that you look to the decision, and not simply to my explanation of the decision.”


Senator Titus queried:


Can I ask you one other question to see if you agree with          Mr. Wasserman on this (Mr. Braden:  Sure) that there’s nothing that compels us to increase the size of the Legislature in order to accommodate a growing population, that you can accommodate that as best as possible within the existing number.


Mr. Braden responded:

No, I do not believe that the Voting Rights Act compels you, or the Fourteenth Amendment compels you, to increase the size of the Legislature.  It might be a wise decision for other reasons, and it might be easier to . . .

Senator Titus inquired, “But that would be a political decision, not a Constitutional decision?”


Mr. Braden answered, “Sure, it’s not a Constitutional decision . . . not a federal Constitutional decision.”


Senator Neal asked, “Let me ask a question to follow up, if I may.  Does the Voting Rights Act have an application in my situation?”


Mr. Braden replied:


The answer is yes; it has an application in the context of all redistricting.  It applies to drawing city council districts, legislative districts, congressional districts, everyone’s district . . .  The whole nation is covered by section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.


Senator O’Donnell stated:


I think what we were trying to do here is accommodate the Hispanic community, and this is what they wanted.  This is what they have asked for, and it seems to be that it is most accommodating if we have 23 members in the Senate and 46 members in the house.  I don’t know how you get around that, but that’s what they wanted.  And the core of this city in Las Vegas is what will determine how many Senate seats there are going to be.  And if this is what they want, they essentially set into stone the rest of the puzzle that has to be done with redistricting.  For the life of me, I can’t figure out why we want to continue to go back to 21 and disenfranchise the Hispanics, when there are certain groups here that are trying to court the Hispanics.  Well, I think it’s clear now who’s really interested in representing the Hispanics.


Chairman O’Connell said, “I wonder if we could go to the map and you could show us the Assembly districts . . .  Oh, I’m sorry, Terry?”



Senator Care asked:

[Posed a question] for the gentleman from Washington.  I don’t know that “Garza” and the Ninth Circuit . . . that’s where we would look, obviously, but you mentioned that in the state of Illinois, I guess Barnett v. City of Chicago, or Romero v. City of Pomona; what do those say, partisan or non-partisan?  [What is] your interpretation of those about establishing an Hispanic district?


Mr. Braden explained:


Well, I think the “Barnett,” which is from Illinois, the Fourth Circuit decision there, does talk about their particular context, talking about drawing Hispanic districts that are 60 or 65 percent in Chicago; and that is most certainly where they come down, although I think if you read that case and it’s companion cases, you’ll see a discussion of examination of the totality of the circumstances.  But, again, I think what you need to look at here, first and foremost, you need to, of course, look at the Supreme Court decisions, and I would like to talk a little bit about those.  But, I think you first need to look at, in your context, because I think it’s so striking because the facts are so similar to your case here, you need to look at the ninth circuit “Garza” decision.  You’re in the ninth circuit, and that case was affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court.


Let me explain the “Garza” case.  It basically . . . I would suggest everyone read it; again, don’t trust the partisan lawyer.  If I were sitting in your chair, Senator, I would certainly be suspicious of my testimony.  But what I’m suggesting to you is that everyone on the committee look at the decision itself.  And it dealt with drawing supervisor districts in the city of Los Angeles.  And when those districts were drawn in 1981, it was not possible, and everyone in the case agrees, it was not possible to create a majority Hispanic district on the supervisory board.  Following the creation of a plan where the Hispanic community was divided up into a number of small pieces to retain the incumbent supervisors, we had 8 years’ worth of litigation.  [The] United States Justice Department joined the Hispanic community, and what they decided, let me just read it . . . again, let’s not let me be spinning it, because, of course, I’m going to spin it, but let’s look at the language:


The record shows, without serious dispute, that at the time of the decennial redistricting in 1981, it was not possible to draw a district map roughly equal in population in each district that contained a district of a majority of Hispanic voters.  But, the intentional fragmentation of the Hispanic population among the various districts, in order to dilute the effect of the Hispanic vote in future elections to preserve the incumbency of Anglo members of the board of supervisors, violated the Fourteenth Amendment and section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.


You’re looking there at two exhibits in the litigation that you are going to get if you pass the Assembly plan.  As an example, the Assembly plan that was passed by the House of Representatives.  Now, I’m not so foolish to tell you, no lawyer is going to tell you, what the result of any particular litigation is going to be.  Litigating is always a roll of the dice, but I can tell you that if you pass the House plan that was passed, you will draw litigation, and those are the exhibits.  The red [from the maps] is very simple in this process.  The reds are the voting districts that are majority Hispanic.  Under the proposed plan that was passed by the House, you have the Hispanic majority community divided into 22 different districts.  Why is it divided into 22 different districts?  We’re all political people here in this room, sitting there, and sitting here, and sitting here, and we know that was done to preserve incumbency.  It was done to preserve the present political environment there.



Mr. Braden continued:


If that isn’t the facts of the Garza case, I defy someone to explain to me how it differs.  That is what you’re controlled by.  What you need to do is create a plan that does not fragment the Hispanic community into 22 pieces, or otherwise. . . .  What you need to do is what the Hispanic community has come before you and testified.  They’re your plaintiffs.  There are the exhibits [case law] to the lawsuit.  If you adopt that plan, where you divide them into 22 different pieces, you’re going to get section 2 litigation.  Now, the only person who can tell you with any degree of assurance what would happen in that litigation is either somebody who is not telling you the truth, or he doesn’t know the law, or that somebody is Sandra Day O’Connor, because she’s the person on the Supreme Court that makes these decisions.  She’s the swing vote on redistricting cases.  But, I can guarantee you, you will get that litigation.  The Garza case [has] very, very, very, very similar facts, [and] would lead you to believe that in the Ninth Circuit that you’re going to lose here, and that case was affirmed by the [U.S.] Supreme Court, if you divide up that community.


[To Senator Neal] Now if your community, the black community was divided up into little pieces and fragmented between various districts, there would be a section 2 case there too.  Even though you believe, and you may be absolutely correct, I don’t want to contradict you, but we’re dependent upon census data and it doesn’t appear upon the census data that in fact that has happened.


Senator Neal stated:


I understand what you’re saying, but also I listened very carefully to the Hispanic community when they came in, when the gentleman said they allowed him as a non-citizen, to go out and make the count.  But, as a person who ran last year, campaigned in that area during the time that the census was taken, I understand what that population is.  And I can go there and show you, those streets where you’ve got red marks, that you don’t have Hispanics living there.  Now, if it takes us to go to court and have a recount of that area, to verify that, then we’re willing to do that, irrespective of the census.  I understand what the census says, but if we have to do that, then we will do that.


Chairman O’Connell asked, “Do you have a copy of that court case with you?”


Mr. Braden answered, “I just happen to have one here [Exhibit F].”






Chairman O’Connell said:


I think it would be very helpful, especially to Senator Care and Senator Raggio as the two attorneys on the committee, that they would have a copy.  And, Laura, I’d like you to make a copy for every member, if you would.  But, they’ll, of course, probably have a better understanding of it than the rest of us.  Is there something else, Mr. Braden that you would like to put on the record for us while we’re looking at this?


Mr. Braden stated:


My suggestion is that the best basis in which to . . . again, I understand that people familiar with the neighborhoods may have different views as to the population of the neighborhoods, and I understand that.  Unfortunately, I believe you’re compelled, because the courts will traditionally have only looked at one source on this, and this has been the census data.  So, I believe when you get to litigation, fairly or unfairly, that’s the only source of information the courts are going to look at as to what you did to the community.  And again, in this particular . . . the proposed plan we have here, combines the Hispanic community, my understanding pursuant to the testimony this committee has received, into discrete compact districts.


Again, if you excuse a small profanity here, you are in fact “damned if you do and damned if you don’t” in the redistricting process.  There’s no guarantee, no matter what plan you pass, that you won’t get litigation.  It’s just a question of which types of litigation are more likely to be successful or more likely to be brought.  That plan (from Assembly), you’ve had the likely plaintiffs, I believe, before this committee.  In other words, you’ve divided up the Hispanic community and they are going to bring section 2 action, I believe, and probably Fourteenth Amendment action.  And based upon Garza, I think they have a reasonable possibility of success.  That particular plan, where you combine the Hispanic community into particular districts, you might draw what is called a “piece of Shaw” litigation in the jargon of people involved in redistricting.  The “Shaw” litigation arises from North Carolina and . . . the belief, as expressed by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, it’s a violation of the Constitution to use race or ethnicity as the predominant factor in redistricting.  But, Sandra Day O’Connor and the Supreme Court [have] been clear it is, in fact, possible to use race or ethnicity as a factor, so long as it is not the predominant factor in redistricting.  A lot of the sort of “aficionados” jokingly call this the “interocular” test; in other words, what does the plan look like, because the plans that were thrown out under “Shaw” tended to be these ink blot plans that tie together disparate communities.


In this particular plan [S.B. 575 proposed amendment], as proposed here, you have a plan that follows traditional redistricting patterns.  These are compact, existing communities of interest.  It does not involve any bizarre geographic movements to combine them.  So these districts, in fact, exist, [and] where you have minority districts that exist, I believe you’re treading on very thin ice not to create them, and most certainly very thin ice to fragment them into a variety of pieces, to preserve the existing incumbencies.


Senator Neal said, “If I’m correct in my assessment of your red districts, you know what I would do?  I would find a black candidate to run in that area, just to prove the point.  That would tell you what is there.”


Chairman O’Connell said, “I wonder if you could put up the Assembly maps for us.  They’re right there.”


Senator Neal stated, “They all look the same to me.”


Chairman O’Connell commented, “I was kind of thinking the same thing.”


Mr. Braden explained:


The key difference is that the Hispanic community gets combined basically into five districts, and here it gets divided into twelve districts.  You could do the same maps . . . I think the same issue arises in Reno, too, where the Hispanic community is divided into two pieces.  I believe there’s probably a section 2 and potentially a Fourteenth Amendment case, when there’s a plan where the Hispanic community is divided right in half.  That clearly is a classic fragmentation of the community.  This [Hispanic] community . . . we’re talking about a plan for the next 10 years, [is] the fastest growing community in the state of Nevada.  No one questions that.  This is a community that, if you combine them together, is going to have representation in this body.  It has none now, so it seems difficult to believe that some court, if you divide them into all those pieces, is not going to have some difficulty thinking it was done benignly.


Senator Neal inquired:


In terms of the district you drew for me there, Senate [district] 4 there, you seem to have a lot of knowledge about that.  Could you tell me whether or not the district was drawn with the intent in mind to push me into areas where I got less votes?



Mr. Braden replied, “To tell you the truth, my understanding was that district was drawn with the intent of reelecting you.  That, in all honesty, was my understanding, that it was going to be a district . . .”


Senator Neal asked, “A Republican district?”


Mr. Braden responded, “No, there is no question.  There were extensive discussions of this and my understanding is that district was drawn, to draw a district that would, in fact, easily reelect you.”


Chairman O’Connell replied, “And that’s absolutely correct, Senator Neal.  And would a politician lie to you?”


Senator Neal asked, “What’s that?”


Chairman O’Connell responded:


That is absolutely correct, but I was being very capricious and saying, “Would I lie to you?”  Would you please show Senator Neal the breakdown, as far as his district goes, according to the census figures?  Before you leave, Mark, this [Garza v. County of Los Angeles decision] was decided November 2, 1990?


Mr. Braden said, “And it was affirmed about a year later by the Supreme Court; summarily affirmed.”


Chairman O’Connell asked, “So, in 1991, it was affirmed by the [U.S.] Supreme Court?”


Mr. Braden affirmed, [Indicated affirmation].


Senator Porter inquired:


I have a question for Mr. Slanker.  I believe my colleague to the left asked it earlier, but I want to clarify it.  When we had our hearings, I believe it was 2 weeks ago, or last week when the representative from the bipartisan Hispanic community testified, he had asked for certain considerations.  This map we’re proposing today in the first reprint meets those requests of the bipartisan community, correct?


Mr. Braden responded:


Yes, Senator.  To go through this quickly, so we get it all on the record on three levels, he asked for three separate things.  While we had drawn the same number of Hispanic majority districts as the coalition had drawn, he took issue with our percentages.  As you know, as you asked questions at the end of that hearing, we agreed that we were extraordinarily close and could make those changes easily, and we did.  As I explained on the Senate maps, we changed the districts from 56 and 55 to 60 and 51, which he asked for, the open seat being the 60 percent district, which they asked for.  On the Assembly side, we had four districts ranging from 57 percent to 51 percent; per their request, we changed that to 60, I believe 52, 51 and 50.5, if you follow the black lines.  I know the red makes it a little confusing through all the black lines, which is per his request.  And finally, he requested, and caught something that we had actually missed, which was one single Hispanic precinct that was left out of the congressional redraw, which we put back in and which is also part of this first reprint of the bill.  So, yes, we have accommodated each of their requests in this reprint.


Senator Porter asked, ”Madame Chairman, what was the gentleman’s name again?”


Mr. Braden answered, “Andres Ramirez, I believe.”


Senator Porter said, “I understand it was a bipartisan group.  I think he’s also the chairman of the Democratic Hispanic Caucus.”


Mr. Braden stated:


He is a Democrat; I’m not exactly sure of his title.  After that committee hearing we did have lengthy conversations with members of that coalition, both Republicans and Democrats, to clarify their position.  We believe this is their position, and we’ve made modifications per their request.  It did not change the boundaries a great deal, but it did change the percentages slightly.  So, we felt it was something we should do, and per the committee’s request, we did it.


Chairman O’Connell queried, “And they have.  I’m going to just ask you what you said again.  They have viewed the maps and they have concurred with the fact that this is exactly what they asked for?”


Mr. Braden replied:


To be absolutely frank with the committee, to get that group to concur exactly to one thing was not the simplest of operations.  However, they did agree that what we had proposed to do, which you see in front of you, was in fact what they asked for, but they have requested to wait to see how this committee acts on this plan before they make a decision as to whether or not to accept and/or endorse this plan.  So they’ve held their endorsement, and/or letter of approval, if the committee should so ask for it, until they actually see the lines pass this committee.



Chairman O’Connell stated:

The reason that I’m trying to get that specifically on the record is because I had requested an amendment.  Obviously, we haven’t decided on whatever bill this is going to go into.  But I have requested an amendment that is precisely what you are viewing on the maps here, or reflects that.  So, I’m going to ask the committee if they have any appetite to act on the amendment, which would go into any plan that the committee voted on, because this does, in fact, reflect what they asked for in our last hearing.  So, if there is not a problem with that, I would now entertain a motion to do just that.


Senator O’Donnell said, “Madame Chairman, I don’t think we have a choice, based upon the legal opinion of the Garza decision.  So, I would move that we amend the bill and do pass.”


Chairman O’Connell explained, “We don’t have a bill; if you would approve the proposed amendment.”






Senator Neal asked, “[Are we talking about] S.B. 575?”


Chairman O’Connell responded:


We’re not asking for that yet, because I know this committee hasn’t made a decision as to what bill [they support].  But this proposed amendment reflecting precisely what has been requested by the Hispanic community, that this be a part of whatever bill it is that we adopt.  That would be the motion I would ask for.


Senator Raggio said, “I understood that to be Senator O’Donnell’s motion and I second that motion.”


Chairman O’Connell inquired, “Is there any discussion on the motion?”

Senator Neal queried, “Let me ask a question.  You had indicated that you had a review with the Hispanic community; did you have a review with any other community regarding the maps?”


Mr. Braden replied:


Senator, the discussion we’ve had in the last couple of days actually has been with the Hispanic community over their communities, and over the maps that they presented to this committee just last week.  So, to be honest with you, we’ve had conversations pretty much only with them in the last 4 or 5 days, over their communities.


Senator Neal asked, “You haven’t had any discussion with any gaming interests?”


Mr. Braden answered, “No, sir.”


Chairman O’Connell continued, “Any further discussion?  All those in favor? (Aye)  Opposed to?”



Senator Neal remarked:


I don’t know what I’m opposed to do at this particular point.          I would like to look at the census tracts, and I assume that you have them in that amendment there, (yes) and I would like to check them out and see the census tracts before I vote on that.  I don’t have that before me in terms of determining what the population would be.


Chairman O’Connell said, “Let me give you mine.”


Senator Neal stated:


We don’t have them inserted in the maps up there so that we could see.  I have received some maps that show data that I had asked for.  I guess the Assembly proposed maps they had brought down and brought by the office . . . I took a look at that.  This is nothing but numbers to me, with some numbers taken out.  I don’t understand what’s going on.


Chairman O’Connell commented, “Let me ask Scott, who drew up the amendment, if the lines in the information in this particular amendment reflect the maps, if he would put that on the record.”


Mr. Wasserman responded:


Thank you, Madame Chair.  Yes, the proposed amendment that you have in your hand was developed to amend S.B. 575 by deleting the descriptions of the districts that you find now in S.B. 575 and inserting the descriptions of the districts that you see in the maps around the rooms that show . . . they’re all titled S.B. 575 First Reprint, assuming that the bill was amended.  That’s how the districts would look.



Chairman O’Connell stated:


Just so there’s not any confusion, this amendment could be put into any of the bills that we would adopt.  Right now, we’re simply using that bill number because it is the bill before us.  But the amendment stands alone right now on the vote, and that’s not a problem.


Mr. Wasserman clarified:


There might be some technical changes that are necessary to the amendment itself, but basically, the description of those districts, since you have, based on the expanded plan, the same number of districts, that amendment describes all of the Senate districts and all of the Assembly districts.  So, yes, it could be put into any of the redistricting bills.


Chairman O’Connell said, “Thank you, Scott.  I just needed that on the record, I think.”


Senator Neal commented, “In that case then, I’m just going to abstain until we see this printed out and can check it.”


Chairman O’Connell stated, “Surely.  Okay, all those in favor, again.  (Aye)”


Senator Neal asked, “Did she get me abstaining?”


Chairman O’Connell replied, “Yes, she did.”


Senator Titus added, “You might as well put me in that category too.”


Chairman O’Connell inquired, “Okay.  Terry, do you wish to also be put into that?”


Senator Care replied, “I’ll go ahead and vote for it, on the presumption that it’s consistent with Garza or whatever case law is applicable.  But I need to . . . in fact, no, put me down as an abstention because I’m not sure.  Thank you, Madame Chair.”






Chairman O’Connell opened the hearing on A.B. 665.  (She directed the hearing on this bill be translated verbatim.)


ASSEMBLY BILL 665:  Revises districts for state legislators and representatives in congress. (BDR 17-1542)


Assemblywoman Christina R. Giunchigliani, Clark County Assembly District No. 9:


[As] chairman of [the] Assembly Committee on Elections, Procedures and Ethics, [I’m] here to try to attempt not to discuss all the block numbers, because I don’t have them memorized in any way, shape, or form.  A.B. 665 was passed over to this house over 2 weeks ago, so I feel we acted in a much more prudent and timely manner in order to get this issue out here and discussed.  It does maintain the 42:21 seat status that we currently enjoy, and I think it’s done for a couple of reasons.  One is, we think it is fiscally responsible; secondly, it also complies, for those of us from southern Nevada at least, with what I believe all of the newspapers, articles, and journalists have been talking about, including constituents, and that is that we should stay small and not grow simply because of politics.


Thirdly, the bill also is constitutional.  None of our seats were drawn on a controlling factor of race, which I heard in this discussion today on your previous bill.  It sounds to me, at least as a layperson, that the districts you just amended were done based on race, and that the accommodations were done, and I think you have just now put your bill in jeopardy of a Constitutional challenge.  In addition to that, our maps were drawn with one Senate seat that is a completely open Senate seat with a 65 percent majority of Hispanics residing in it.  You’ve already discussed the issue of an effective majority.  I believe, I’m not an attorney as you well know, but I would challenge the gentleman that was here before (Braden) that your seats would hold up in court, even under the Thornburg v. Gingles case, let alone the “Romero” case, regarding that you have to deal with . . .  The district court has held that “only those individuals eligible to vote can be counted in determining whether a minority group can constitute a voting majority of a single member district.”  And I don’t believe the previous map accommodated that.


Assemblywoman Giunchigliani continued:


In addition, I’ll go back to this premise.  There have been maps bandied around.  We had, in our house, a 46 [-member] map that was proposed by the Republican minority, and we gave them a hearing on that.  When your bill came out, that wasn’t even the same map, so now we have another map, apparently, today, and another map.  I guess my frustration is, I don’t know what we’re going to see that’s going to be coming over, that will be what the real shapes of any of the districts are, what the makeup is of any of the districts.


We attempted to accommodate the issue of communities of interest, and I think we did a good job in [A.B.] 665 of doing that.  We cannot create districts simply based on the issue of the percentages.  Sixty percent can even be argued as not enough; there are states that are wrestling right now with, at least the Mexican-American legal defense community, that 65 and 67 percent absolutely has to be there in order to maintain the effective majority.  I think to simply create seats that have a 50 percent or even a 60 percent, will not comply with the Voting Rights Act.


In addition to that, the Hispanic maps that you were discussing, I guess that Andres and his coalition had presented to both parties for us to consider, and both parties have done a good job of trying to consider those, but we also still have to do them within the confines of what works there.  What is unfortunate, in the drawing of their maps, because they were drawn in isolation and not with the impact of the other seats that were there, what they created, unfortunately, I think you just adopted that in your amendment, is that the candidate of choice of the Hispanic community will have no opportunity to win in that kind of an Assembly or Senate district.  Only two of the districts that they drew exceeded 60 percent.  Again, it comes down to the effective majority issue.


Assemblywoman Giunchigliani concluded:


You also have to look at maintaining political subdivisions.  That’s one of the factors we had taken into consideration.  I think what happened in those maps, which I think you just adopted, two east-side Las Vegas districts would be in the Claborn-Koivisto area, where you have incumbent factors.  Another factor is protection of incumbents.  Whether we like it or not, or are thrilled by it, in order to get a higher percentage, we impacted both the political east-side of Las Vegas, as well as the incumbents seated within there.  So, while I appreciated the discussion from looking at the maps presented, I don’t think they can actually hold constitutional muster as the maps drawn in A.B. 665 do.



Chairman O’Connell stated, “I was just going to make mention of the fact that, Chris, I too have now seen three maps offered from the Democrats, and I think we’ll probably see more maps before we’re through.”


Assemblywoman Giunchigliani  said:


Absolutely.  I think, Senator, the issue was, it was before any bill was even drafted, and so people are doing it in reaction.  I think what maps we’ve offered, at least for your eyes, or at least that the Senate has offered, is to try to get this process going and to try to show that we were making good-faith efforts to accommodate concerns that we’ve heard from individual members.


You know and I know that regardless of the issue of 46 and 23 and 42 and 21, there are Republicans in both houses that do not support increasing the size of this legislative body.  There are Democrats in both houses that may not support the non-expansion of the maps.  So, it’s not a Democrat or Republican issue, it is, to some extent, a southern Nevada issue.  And that has to be dealt with and that’s what we’ll be grappling with in the next 5 to 6 days as we try to work through this process.


Chairman O’Connell added, “Also, a court case has been presented to us that you might have an interest in reading.  It’s the Garza case.”


Assemblywoman Giunchigliani remarked, “I’m not familiar with that one, so I’d appreciate a copy if I might [have one].”


Chairman O’Connell said, “You certainly may have a copy of it.  I think it would maybe help.  We had our own legislative counsel put on the record for us that the 65 percent was not currently what is being looked at.”


Assemblywoman Giunchigliani stated:


You’re also wrestling with what we had to wrestle with, at least in the southern part of the state, and some parts of the north.  Integration has actually started working, as far as, we do still have clusterings of both African-American and Hispanics, but, as in the cases of Senator Neal, Senator Matthews, Senator Washington, Assemblyman Arberry, and Assemblyman Williams, every single one of their seats has a plurality of African-Americans, and no longer a majority.  But we are still in compliance with the Voting Rights Act, as long as we don’t split and divide them up for the purposes of creating either a racial district for an Hispanic to be running, or we dilute their voice as we bring in more Caucasians as you try to expand that seat.  That is part of what we’ve had to be very conscious of and very careful about.


But, I would also say that as we wrestle with the issue of Hispanic . . . the 22 percent of new Nevadans that have come here . . . I think even they have said . . . and I’ve sat through every single meeting as you have, including watching Andres when he did his presentation. . . .  At no time has that coalition said that they support the expansion.  They’re out of that issue.  The issue, every time I ask them the question or any other members of this committee ask them, “What is the issue, six seats or is it equal representation?” it was equal representation, and I think that is what our obligation is to draw.  We cannot guarantee, and I think we would all be liable if we guaranteed that we would create “X” number of seats solely for the purpose of creating a racially drawn district.


Assemblywoman Giunchigliani continued:


What we all have to strive for is to make sure that we have a community of interest that’s there where an effective voting majority can have an opportunity to elect an Hispanic of their choice.  I think that’s the key threshold we have to deal with as we wrestle with how many seats may we create that are open.  I think that many Hispanics who have run for office have shown, just as our African-American members have, that as long as you have an effective majority, you can also run in non-majority seats and get elected.  Dario Herrera, Brian Sandoval, and other individuals have shown that open seats give an opportunity as well.  And I think both maps try to create some open seats so that anyone who chose to run would have an opportunity to be elected.



Senator O’Donnell asked, “We had testimony in our committee that the Hispanics wanted two Senate seats and four Assembly seats.  Did you have that same testimony?”


Assemblywoman Giunchigliani answered:


No.  That was the hearing, I believe, in Fallon, where that issue of those seats came up.  The Latinos for Fair Representation have not taken a position on exactly how many seats [they want].  They drew maps based on what they thought they could accommodate, but again, not out of the 42 [-member plan].  My understanding is the issue of at least 60 percent or more is the request they have been making consistently.


Senator O’Donnell commented:


Well, we have on record the gentleman from southern Nevada stating that he would like to see the two Senate seats and four Assembly seats.  Mathematically, when you do that, you can’t accommodate two and four without having smaller numbers of constituents in each one of those seats.  When you do that, mathematically, you have to expand the Legislature, because the number of constituents within a particular district has to be small enough to accommodate that.


Assemblywoman Giunchigliani stated:


I don’t recall any testimony telling us that they absolutely had to have . . .  There was a group in Fallon that then came to subsequent hearings . . . but that was prior to the formation of the coalition of Latinos for Fair Representation.  My understanding is no different than anybody else’s; none of us is going to get what we want.  We all have something that we may like, but I think the issue is, we have to be cautious as we draw [maps] to try to accommodate additional seats where there is an opportunity for individuals to run, whether they be African-American, Asian, Hispanic, or Caucasian.  What we have to be sensitive to is not diluting the voice.  And we run the risk of dilution if we create seats that are less than, in my opinion, a 65 percent rating.

Senator O’Donnell inquired, “As a Democrat, do you want to give the Hispanic community two Senate seats and four Assembly seats that are predominantly Hispanic in nature?”


Assemblywoman Giunchigliani replied:


As a Democrat, as a southern Nevadan, and as a Nevadan, I will do whatever we can to accommodate as many voices as we can to allow an opportunity for individuals to run for office.  But I think that somebody who tells anybody that we can guarantee them “X” number of seats is lying.


Senator O’Donnell stressed, “I’m not going to guarantee them, because I don’t control both houses.  But, it is my vote to create two Senate seats and four Assembly seats for the Hispanics.”


Assemblywoman Giunchigliani asked, “With what majority, Senator?”


Senator O’Donnell answered, “Fifty and sixty [percent].”


Assemblywoman Giunchigliani stated:


In my opinion, and we’ll debate this ‘till the cows come home, but that is a dilution of the Hispanic vote and I think that is an absolute affront.  If we create seats with less than a 60 to 65 percent [majority], we will be in court.  I’ll guarantee you that.


Chairman O’Connell closed the hearing on A.B. 665, ending the directive for verbatim transcription, and opened the hearing on S.B. 63,


SENATE BILL 63:  Makes various changes to provisions relating to bidding on and awarding contracts for public works projects. (BDR 28-754)


Juliann K. Jenson, Committee Policy Analyst, explained the bill is related to public works projects and bidders’ preference.  She said the amendment passed in the Assembly replaces a provision stating how a specialty contractor may qualify as a bidder on a public works project.  Further, she said, this defines what a specialty contractor is, for the law, and adds a provision stating under what circumstances a public body may award a public works contract to a specialty contractor.  It replaces proposed criteria under which a local government may award a contract to a specialty contractor and provides a consistent definition of specialty contractor throughout the bill, resolves conflicts, and makes a few other minor changes, she said, adding she did not believe it was controversial on the Assembly side.


Senator O’Donnell reported there was an individual who was an electrician who had a specialty license, and when the specialty contract was let, there was a   5-percent preference given to an individual with a general contractor’s license.  However, he said, the individual with the electrician’s license did not get the   5-percent bidders’ preference, because it was an electrical job at the county.  The contractor got the bid and subsequently hired the electrician to do the work.  The general contractor received the contract, not the electrician who performed the work, he said.


Kimberly Marsh Guinasso, Committee Counsel, explained the bill, as reprinted pursuant to the amendment being adopted, in the second reprint of S.B. 63.  It contains new provisions in section (a) of NRS 338.1389 requiring the State Contractors’ Board to issue a certificate of eligibility to receive a preference in bidding to a specialty contractor who is licensed pursuant to the provisions of chapter 624, and who has paid the appropriate taxes to receive the preference in bidding.  She clarified to Senator O’Donnell, it does take care of his concern.










Chairman O’Connell opened S.B. 568 for discussion.


SENATE BILL 568:  Allows risk management division of department of administration and attorney general to assess counties for certain tort claims under certain circumstances. (BDR 27-1447)


Stan Miller, Tort Claims Administrator, Office of the Attorney General, testified an amendment was added on the Assembly side that clarifies the bill.  The initial bill that was passed out of the Senate referred to “court employees,” he said, and the amendment changes it to “district court employees.”  The amendment does not change the intent of the bill, which is merely to make sure that district court employees are covered for liability, he said, adding there has been no opposition to the bill and the Office of the Attorney General concurs with the bill.










Chairman O’Connell opened S.B. 150 for discussion.


SENATE BILL 150:  Authorizes board of county commissioners to designate animal as inherently dangerous and to provide for civil liability for person who violates certain ordinances relating to control of animals.  (BDR 20-413)


Robert S. Hadfield, Lobbyist, Nevada Association of Counties (NACO), testified there was an amendment and clarification made on the Assembly side which NACO agreed with.  He said he did not realize counties did not have the same power as cities, but when Clark County was going through their animal control ordinance he realized cities could ask for liability insurance for exotic animals, but counties could not.  He explained the amendment is added to subsection (e), section 1.  Also, he said, there was a definition added under section 3 stating horse tripping would not include putting a horse down for medical or other health care reasons, due to concern there might be interference with the treatment of animals.  NACO concurred with both of those amendments, he said, and asked for the committee’s support.










Chairman O’Connell opened S.B. 202 for discussion.


SENATE BILL 202:  Makes various changes concerning state financial administration. (BDR 18-170)


ASSEMBLY BILL 556:  Revises certain provisions governing authority of state board of examiners and requirements for certain agreements for interlocal cooperation between public agencies. (BDR 31-565)


Chairman O’Connell explained there was a conflict between S.B. 202 and A.B. 556, both of which had already been acted on by the committee, so they were brought back for review.


Ms. Guinasso explained after the committee voted to concur on this bill, a substantive conflict was found with A.B. 556, which is a bill brought by the Department of Administration.  Both bills affect Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) 353.145, she said, and A.B. 556 amended the bill to provide for a warrant of the state controller, which had been cancelled because it was not presented for payment within 180 days.  The Assembly bill, she said, provided the person in whose favor the warrant was drawn could, within 1 year after the date of the original check being drawn, renew a claim by either presenting it to the State Board of Examiners or its clerk, if the state board had authorized such.  And under certain circumstances the clerk could approve the claim, she added.


Continuing, Ms. Guinasso said the state controller’s bill, S.B. 202, repealed this particular provision, but then amended NRS 353.140 to provide for those warrants cancelled to be pursuant to the provisions of 353.130, if the warrants had not been presented for payment within 180 days of their issuance.  The person to whom the check had been written could present a request for another check to be drawn if it had been lost or destroyed, she said, and could make the request up to 6 years after the date of the original warrant.  Because the conflict is substantive, with S.B. 202 repealing NRS 353.145 while A.B. 556 amends NRS 353.145, Ms. Guinasso said, it was brought to Senator O’Connell’s attention and was discussed between the state controller’s office and the governor’s office.  Ms. Guinasso reported their recommendation for the conflict to be resolved by deleting the section from A.B. 556, and allowing the manner in which the state controller has dealt with it in S.B. 202 to stand.  In order to do this, she said, the committee would need to not concur with the amendment, only for the purpose of resolving the conflict by conference committee in the manner suggested.










Chairman O’Connell opened S.B. 265 for discussion.


SENATE BILL 265:  Requires city or county to pay just compensation or authorize alternative location for certain nonconforming outdoor advertising structures under certain circumstances. (BDR 22-156)


Mark H. Fiorentino, Lobbyist, Nevada Outdoor Media Association (NOMA), confirmed for Chairman O’Connell the amendment from the Assembly side was a “friendly amendment.”  The amendment was proposed by the City of Las Vegas to “help them feel better about certain sections of the bill,” he said, and the language is primarily from the city attorney, but it is language the NOMA agreed to accept.


Senator O’Donnell stated he wanted to make sure the amendment would not reinstate the language from the original bill to allow multiple homes inside the Las Vegas Country Club.  Mr. Fiorentino assured Senator O’Donnell the bill still applies only to outdoor advertising structures and confirmed for Chairman O’Connell it was “nonconformity language.”


Mr. Fiorentino clarified for Senator Care the original bill provided a local government could not allow or require the removal of a structure through an amortization schedule, and the term “allow” was replaced with the phrase, “shall not require” with regard to amortization schedules.  The purpose of the amendment is to allow a local government to approach a sign owner to request agreement for removal of an individual sign over a 5- to 7-year period, he said.

In response to another question from Senator Care, Mr. Fiorentino explained the bill, as amended, would allow the City of Henderson to repeal its ordinance or start compensating for the structures it wants removed under the ordinance.










Chairman O’Connell opened S.B. 395 for discussion.


SENATE BILL 395:  Transfers certain territory from Clark County to Nye County. (BDR 20-1220)


Mr. Fiorentino explained the essence of the amendment added by the Assembly is to remove a portion of the property which would have been moved into Nye County.  Some people were concerned about moving this property into Nye County, he said, because it could somehow affect Clark County’s agreement to maintain it.  He testified in support of the amendment, and said his understanding is both sponsors of the bill, Assemblyman Neighbors and Senator McGinness, also accepted the amendment.  He confirmed for Chairman O’Connell, Clark County would continue to maintain the road.






Mr. Fiorentino explained to Senator Titus, any costs for changing maps would either be non-existent or minimal.  He reported legislative legal staff advised the Assembly changing maps would not result in any costs to the state, because the counties would have to redo their Geographic Information Systems (GIS) maps.








Chairman O’Connell opened S.B. 401 to address the amendment added by the Assembly.


SENATE BILL 401:  Makes various changes to provisions governing office of science, engineering and technology. (BDR 18-815)










Chairman O’Connell opened S.B. 466 for discussion.


SENATE BILL 466:  Makes various changes regarding ethics in government. (BDR 23-716)


Chairman O’Connell explained to Senator O’Donnell the amendment added in the Assembly was non-substantive.









Chairman O’Connell opened S.B. 487 for discussion.


SENATE BILL 487:  Authorizes additional types of investments for money in certain public funds. (BDR 31-359)


Chairman O’Connell explained there were three amendments to consider, two of which were conflict only amendments.


Brian Krolicki, State Treasurer, testified since the tobacco securitization bill met its demise, it was inappropriate to have the equity money invested in instruments which would not be long-term.  The capability for equity stock investment for the trust fund for healthy Nevada was removed, he said, and the percentage for the Millennium Scholarship was reduced to 25.  He reported the chairman of the Assembly Committee on Government Affairs reduced from 60 percent to 50 percent the capability for investments in stocks in both the permanent school fund and the 10 percent trust fund for public health, which, he said, are essentially funds of perpetuity.


Mr. Krolicki explained to Senator Care only interest and earnings can be used to offset educational costs in the distributive schools plan as established for the permanent school fund under the state constitution.  Ms. Guinasso pointed out charitable trusts are still exempted under the state constitution.  Mr. Krolicki testified in support of the amendments.










Chairman O’Connell opened discussion on S.B. 489.


SENATE BILL 489:  Makes various changes regarding powers and duties of state treasurer and revises Uniform Disposition of Unclaimed Property Act. (BDR 18-360)


Mr. Krolicki pointed out the Senate Committee on Judiciary heard A.B. 77 pertaining to holding periods of unclaimed property, and there is a conflict with S.B. 489.




ASSEMBLY BILL 77:  Revises provisions governing unclaimed property. (BDR 10-410)


Continuing, Mr. Krolicki said both bills were passed out on general file at the same time, and once they are done procedurally they are going to come back together in conflict, which will perhaps require a conference committee.  Ms. Guinasso explained the committee could vote to not concur on S.B. 489 so the bill could be amended to take care of the conflict.


Assemblyman Bache reported A.B. 77 amendments were concurred upon earlier the same day of this meeting, during Assembly floor session, and had been sent to the Governor for signature.  Because parts of S.B. 489 conflict with A.B. 77, a conflict amendment would be generated, he said.


Senator O’Donnell asserted if the committee voted do not concur on S.B. 489, and A.B. 77 were to be signed into law by the Governor, then S.B. 489 would have to be changed.


Chairman O’Connell said she thought the same thing happened with S.B. 202.  She suggested the committee could vote to not concur to try to correct the situation with A.B. 77.  She told Mr. Krolicki to not worry about not understanding the process.










Chairman O’Connell opened discussion on S.B. 553.


SENATE BILL 553:  Makes various changes concerning finances of local governments. (BDR 30-130)


Assemblyman Bache said he asked the Assembly committee to adopt this amendment because he had a problem with having rolling stock and some other non-traditional items as part of a bond issue.  He suggested an appropriate compromise would be to sunset it in 2 years and require a report on what was purchased through general obligation bonds during the 2-year period.  By mandating it come back before the next session, the Legislature would have an idea of how much was spent on what, he said, and this would provide an opportunity to free up some monies in local government budgets for the next 2 years.


Chairman O’Connell commented a bond issue is very generic in what it asks for, but when publicity is sent out to individual buyers of bonds, there are different items listed from what was originally proposed, such as buses, which are never a part of the question voted on by the people.  She complimented Assemblyman Bache’s work, saying she liked the fact the local governments would report back to the legislature in 2 years.


Senator O’Donnell expressed concern with the fact local governments are allowed to bond for basically expense items and items which depreciate.










Chairman O’Connell opened discussion on S.B. 556.


SENATE BILL 556:  Prohibits reprisal or retaliatory action against officer or employee of local government who discloses improper governmental action. (BDR 23-793)


Senator Porter explained he supports the bill, but is concerned about a pending lawsuit by the presenter of the amendment involving the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT).  He said Tom Fronapfel, Assistant Director, Planning Division, NDOT, and not Jeff Fontaine, Deputy Director, NDOT, is involved in the lawsuit.  Senator Porter said he is very disturbed the committee would make a substantial change in the law in the midst of a lawsuit.


Senator Titus said this bill would not be retroactive and would not have any effect on the lawsuit, but would impact future whistleblower cases, bringing the state definition into compliance with the federal definition.  Ms. Guinasso said the traditional wisdom on whether a bill is retroactive or not is if the bill specifically says it is retroactive, and it is not typical for a court to apply a change retroactively.  Senator Care said he was not sure, but when there are procedural versus substantive changes, if the law is changed and there is a pending lawsuit, and there has been no judgment yet on litigation, under some circumstances it does have an impact on the outcome of litigation, even though the law did not become effective until after the commencement of the complaint.  He said he felt uncomfortable not knowing for sure.  Chairman O’Connell asked Ms. Guinasso to investigate the issue so the committee could revisit it at the next meeting.


Chairman O’Connell opened discussion on S.B. 565.


SENATE BILL 565:  Makes various changes relating to elections. (BDR 24-608)


Chairman O’Connell explained the Assembly amendment changed “shall” to “may,” added an effective date, and included some minor conflicts.  She explained the word “shall” would create an unfunded mandate for the smaller counties, because they might not have the money to buy new software as required.


Michael J. Stewart, Committee Policy Analyst, Legislative Counsel Bureau, testified as staff to the Assembly Committee on Elections, Procedures and Ethics.  He said he believes the concern was the city and county clerks did not want to be “forced” to have to supply information in the requested form in case they did not have it, and the committee was concerned it could be perceived as an unfunded mandate.  There was a subsequent amendment at the request of the secretary of state’s office, he said, which changed the “may” back to “shall,” so if, in fact, there is a statewide voter registration system, the secretary of state’s office could get information from the clerks.






Senator O’Donnell stated the committee was given two amendments which contradict each other, so concurrence on one and not the other one would still require a conference committee.  Chairman O’Connell said she thought the committee could just do away with one.  Senator O’Donnell said no, because, technically, if the bill were printed, the form for the latter one takes precedence, which would change the language back to “shall.”  Because this committee wants it to read “may,” he said, they would have to vote do not concur.






Chairman O’Connell opened discussion on A.B. 483.


ASSEMBLY BILL 483:  Makes various changes concerning reporting of campaign contributions and expenditures. (BDR 24-557)


Chairman O’Connell explained the Assembly Committee on Elections, Procedures, and Ethics did not concur with this committee’s amendment.






Chairman O’Connell said the conference committee would be Senator Porter, Senator Care, and Senator O’Donnell.






Chairman O’Connell opened discussion on A.B. 219.


ASSEMBLY BILL 219:  Directs Legislative Committee on Public Lands to take certain actions relating to wild horses. (BDR S-1119)


Chairman O’Connell explained in the Senate rules, if a person voted against a bill, that person cannot serve on the committee.  Senator Neal said the rule does not apply once you get to the conference.  Chairman O’Connell said she was shown the rule through investigation, and it is in the Senate Rule Book on conference committees.  She said the people who could serve are Senators James, Amodei, and Shaffer.


Chairman O’Connell asked the committee what they would think about requesting the Governor to do a proclamation for these children, who have worked so hard on this bill, and to send it from this committee to the kids.  She said she did not know how the conference committee would work out, but reported Senator James was very interested in trying to do something for the kids, and she thought Senator Shaffer would be as well.  She asked if there would be any opposition from the committee regarding such a request of the Governor.


Senator Neal asked further questions about the ruling for conference committee participation, and Chairman O’Connell explained the above-mentioned rule was stated by the front desk.




Senator O’Donnell provided a statement on the record, “for those listening on the Internet that might have an interest in 219.”  He said:


This is the best bill ever put forth by a children’s group to learn the process of the legislature.  There has never been a bill that has gone through so many machinations as this one.  So, I would like to go to conference committee and maybe work something out in terms of a resolution that would say what we really want to say, but maybe not make it in bill form and not upset some of the other people that voted against it.


Chairman O’Connell said this was why she thought something from the Governor would make them feel really good.  Senator O’Donnell reported Senator Porter brought up a very good point: “The next time these children bring a bill like this to the Legislature, may I suggest they get together with maybe Harvey Whittemore or Jim Wadhams.”







Chairman O’Connell opened A.B. 637 for discussion.


ASSEMBLY BILL 637:  Makes various changes concerning elections.  (BDR 24-339)


Chairman O’Connell noted Senators Neal and O’Donnell had voted against the bill and could not serve on the conference committee.  Mr. Stewart said there might be a small technical change the chairman wants to add in conference.  Assemblyman Bache confirmed there was a very technical change, but asserted there must be something else coming up.  Chairman O’Connell pointed out the document before the committee was not an amendment, so she did not know why it came back to the committee, or what the committee would recede or not recede from.  Assemblyman Bache suggested the committee not recede.


Ms. Jenson explained the amendment would make technical changes as proposed by the county clerks.  She said it would clarify tally lists and poll books deposited in vaults must be preserved for 22 months and destroyed after the preservation period.  As originally written, she said, the bill was unclear about what material needed to be destroyed, and the amendment provides continuity with other sections of the bill by changing “130 days” to read “4 months.”


Mr. Stewart testified in regard to the early voting issue, the Assembly committee wanted to make sure voters could submit an absentee ballot at the early voting location.  If a person did not choose to do the absentee ballot, he clarified, the ballot could be turned in and the person could vote early.






Senators O’Donnell and Porter asked for clarification on the changes.  Mr. Stewart said he would have to look at the two amendments, but would be happy to report back to the committee, or through staff. 







Chairman O’Connell determined to hold the bill until Friday and no vote was taken on the motion to recede on A.B. 637.  Chairman O’Connell adjourned the meeting at 6:15 p.m.







Laura Hale,

Committee Secretary








Senator Ann O'Connell, Chairman