Published Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2010 | 1:55 p.m.
Updated Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2010 | 3 p.m.
Gov. Jim Gibbons today amended the proclamation that sets the agenda for the special session, adding water rights and pursuit of federal education money to the list of issues the Legislature will address.
The governor also said the special session will end no later than 11:59 p.m. Sunday, setting up a potential constitutional showdown with lawmakers.
"It is prudent, because of the high daily cost of the special session, that a time limit should be placed on the legislative session in order to promote expeditious handling of the important matters being considered," the governor said in a news release today.
The mandate, however, raises constitutional questions over the extent of the governor's control of a special session. The constitution allows the governor to set the agenda and call the Legislature into special session, but beyond that the law is vague.
According to the Sun's Jon Ralston, it appears the governor's call to end the session Sunday night is intended to counter lawmakers' plan to override anticipate vetoes.
Ralston reported earlier: "The governor's office learned today of a contingency plan by some legislative leaders to pass their bill, recess for five days (would have to be by resolution) and then return to override the governors' veto. So that prompted the governor's folks to dump all the remaining issues into the legislative pot and set that end date, especially because cuts have to be in by March 1 or the deficit gets appreciably worse.
"Legislative leaders believe they have the right to pursue such a strategy -- and their counsel apparently agrees -- but the executive branch believes the governor is backed up by history on setting an end date, which has been acquiesced to in the past."
In his revised agenda for the special session, Gibbons said the Legislature also consider changing Nevada law so the state can apply for federal funds through the Race to the Top program.
Lawmakers also need to considering changing state law regarding water rights, he said. Adding that issue to the mix was prompted by the recent Nevada Supreme Court ruling on the Southern Nevada Water Authority's water rights for its Eastern Nevada pipeline plan.