About the Legislature

There are three branches of government in Nevada that work together to help and serve the citizens of the state.

The Executive (Ex·​ec·​u·​tive) Branch – The job of the Executive Branch is to apply the laws, services, and policies that are made by the Legislature. The Executive Branch includes the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, State Treasurer, and the State Controller. The Governor is the leader of the Executive Branch in Nevada, and his or her office is in the Capitol Building.

The Judicial (Ju·​di·​cial) Branch – The Judicial Branch of the government explains or decides the meanings of the laws created by the Legislature. The Judicial Branch is made up of the Supreme Court of Nevada, appellate courts, district courts, and municipal courts. The Supreme Court of Nevada used to meet in the Capitol Building but moved to its own building in 1937.

The Legislative (Leg·​is·​la·​tive) Branch – The Legislative Branch makes the laws (called statutes) for the state of Nevada. One of the primary functions of a legislature is to protect the rights and freedoms of the people, and they do this by enacting laws and laying down the groundwork for carrying out those laws. The Legislature is also in charge of the budgets (money) for the state. They have the power to approve or deny budgets that spend taxpayer dollars.

The Legislature used to meet in the Capitol Building until 1971, when the Legislative Building opened at the south end of the Capitol Complex. The Legislature now meets at the Legislative Building biennially, which means that it holds its sessions every two years.

Nevada has a bicameral legislature, which means it is made up of two houses: the Senate and the Assembly. The Nevada Constitution sets a maximum limit of legislators to 75. The number of Senators cannot be less than one-third, or more than one-half, of the number of Assembly members. Since 1983, the Nevada Legislature has had 21 members in the Senate and 42 members in the Assembly.

To be able to serve as a member of the Assembly or as a Senator, you need to be at least 21 years old, a citizen living in Nevada for at least one year before the election, and a qualified elector (this is someone who is able to vote in an election) in your individual county and district. However, the Nevada Constitution says that each house of the Legislature can “judge of the qualifications, elections and returns of its own members.”

Members of the Assembly are elected every two years, and Senators serve a term of four years. Legislators are only allowed to serve a total of twelve years in each house. This means that a legislator can serve in one house (Assembly or Senate) for twelve years, then serve in the other house (Assembly or Senate) for another twelve years.