Las Vegas Sun

November 18, 2017

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Political notebook: A little extra time doesn’t help

CARSON CITY -- When the 2001 Legislature ended in disarray, Sen. Bob Coffin decided he would make a point of changing a pesky rule.

Coffin, D-Las Vegas, this session introduced a bill that would require the Legislature to adjourn at midnight on the 120th day of the session.

While Senate rule No. 9.5 requires midnight's adjournment, the Constitution permits an extra hour of work for Daylight Savings Time.

So it was with a touch of irony near the end of a marathon sprint to a finish that Coffin rose at 11:45 p.m. Monday -- the last day of the regular session -- to suspend rule No. 9.5 and "eat crow" for having brought his resolution.

And so it was that senators had another 75 minutes of work time to take a vote -- time they showed they didn't need because there was no vote on taxes and time ran out.

Third time's no charm

Sophomore Assemblymen David Brown, R-Henderson, and John Oceguera, D-North Las Vegas, have now served in more special sessions than regular ones.

First elected in 2000, Brown and Oceguera served in the 2001 and 2003 regular sessions and went into overtime after their freshman session when redistricting talks went awry. Both were called to Carson City last August for a session on medical malpractice and now both watched this year's sine die go by without closure on taxes.

Banking on no tax

When the state Senate on Wednesday took up a financial institutions tax, a number of hands went up -- not in opposition -- but for disclosure purposes.

Sen. Ann O'Connell, R-Las Vegas, said she would abstain because her husband serves on the board of a bank.

Sen. Bernice Mathews, D-Sparks, said she would vote even though she herself serves on a bank board.

Sen. Randolph Townsend, R-Reno, disclosed he is both on the board of bank and a shareholder, but would be voting because, he said, the franchise tax would not affect his bank any differently than any other.

Coffin said: "I'm going to vote for whatever I feel like," after disclosing that he has a casino client at his insurance business and that his wife serves on a bank board.

The disclosures prompted Sen. Dennis Nolan, R-Las Vegas, to disclose that "I imbibe in alcohol," but that the proposed liquor tax wouldn't impact him any differently than other drinkers.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Raggio, R-Reno, capped the discussion by stating that he serves on the board of both a gaming company and a health insurance company. As for financial institutions: "I have overdrafts in several banks."

Hates it high and low

Sen. Sandra Tiffany, R-Henderson, is clearly opposed to most business taxes.

But she provided a new reason for opposing an increase in the business license fee smaller than the $100 increase for which she had already expressed distaste.

Tiffany asked whether a $50 increase was improper because it might not bring in enough revenue to justify the Department of Taxation's mailing of notices to pay the tax.

The current business license fee is $25, but is paid only the first time a business registers with the state.