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August 27, 2015

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On its final day, Legislature still wrestling with important bills

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AP Photo/Cathleen Allison

Gov. Brian Sandoval, general counsel Lucas Foletta, center, and chief adviser Dale Erquiaga work Tuesday, May 31, 2011, at the Capitol in Carson City.

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The Nevada Legislature entered its final day of the 2011 session, with lobbyists and lawmakers making their last push on special interest legislation and a bill extending taxes making its way to a final vote in the Senate.

The Legislature has until 1 a.m. Tuesday to finish its business, unless Gov. Brian Sandoval calls a special session, which he has said he will not do.

Republicans, led by Sandoval, agreed to extend taxes passed in 2009 that were set to expire on June 30. In exchange, Democrats agreed to spending cuts for education and social services, and changes to policies like teacher tenure and collective bargaining.

The latter issue, which dictates how counties and cities bargain with public employee unions, threatened to unravel the budget compromise Sunday night. Republicans were unhappy with language they believed broke the general agreement the sides had struck. Specifically, they believed the agreement included a ban on supervisors bargaining collectively. It was so narrowly written that only a handful of city, county and school district employees would be banned, said Sen. Ben Kieckhefer, R-Reno.

But Kieckhefer said Monday morning that a compromise had been reached about 3 a.m. this morning that would create a broader prohibition on supervisors collectively bargaining.

In addition to final wrangling on the budget deal, lobbyists and lawmakers were fighting for a broad array of last-minute controversial policies:

• Taxicab company Frias Transportation succeeded in getting a bill that allows a $3-per-trip credit card fee on fares out of a Senate committee. An amendment had required the taxi companies to fund a "senior rides" program, at a cost of $1.2 million, but the company succeeded in getting that requirement removed and with it, the requirement the bill passes by 2/3rds.

• HOA legislation that would put a cap on collection and attorney fees for homeowners delinquent on HOA dues, at $3,300 was still floating around in the legislative ether.

• A bill that would allow public financing of arena projects in Clark County.

• Jockeying over the amount of money mining will pay to the state.

• A bill revising the agreement with California over construction project approvals at Lake Tahoe.

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