About Nevada’s Legislature

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

The Executive Branch – The Executive Branch is the head of the government in Nevada. The role of the Executive Branch is to enforce 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 head of the Executive Branch in Nevada, and his or her office is in the Capitol Building.

The Judicial Branch – The Judicial Branch of the government interprets 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 also met previously in the Capitol Building but moved to its own building in 1937.

The Legislative Branch – The Legislative Branch makes the laws (called statutes) for the state of Nevada. The Nevada Legislature is made up of the Assembly and the Senate. 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 met 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.

Nevada has a bicameral legislature, which means it is made up of two housesthe 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. Senators’ terms are staggered so that half of the total number of Senators are elected every two years. Legislators are limited to 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.

Each legislator represents a specific area of our state called a legislative district. Legislative districts are used to elect legislators to the Nevada Senate or the Nevada Assembly.

Our legislators love hearing from their constituents and learning about what matters to them. As a citizen living in the state of Nevada, this means you! Some ways to contact your state legislators to share your ideas and opinions include writing a letter, writing an email, making a phone call, and visiting the Legislative Building.