Las Vegas Sun

January 18, 2018

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Search is on for votes to beat Gibbons’ domestic partner veto

State Sen. David Parks, D-Las Vegas, is rounding up votes for an override of Gov. Jim Gibbons’ veto of the domestic partner bill.

In vetoing the bill, the governor cited the state’s voter-approved constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

The bill “would effectively bypass that constitutional mandate by allowing the rights and privileges of marriage to be bestowed upon non-married persons,” Gibbons said. “I believe that because the voters have determined that the rights of a marriage should apply only to married couples, only the voters should determine whether those rights should equally apply to domestic partners.”

Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, said although the bill provides certain rights to domestic partners, it does not overturn the constitutional amendment limiting marriage to between a man and a woman.

Senate Bill 283 would provide couples, same-sex and opposite sex, such rights as community property, responsibility for debts and the right to seek alimony if the relationship ends.

Horsford assigned Parks, the bill’s sponsor and the Legislature’s only openly gay member, to round up votes for an override.

Parks said he needs two additional votes in both the Senate and Assembly to override Gibbons’ veto.

In the Senate, the bill was approved 12-9, with Democrats Terry Care of Las Vegas and John Lee of North Las Vegas joining seven Republicans in voting against the bill.

In the Assembly, the bill was approved 26-14 in the Assembly, with John Carpenter, R-Elko, and Jerry Claborn, D-Las Vegas, absent.


Gibbons could also veto legislation approved Tuesday by the Senate Judiciary Committee to impose bigger fees for filing lawsuits and documents in district court. Companion bills would raise court filing fees and create nine additional district judgeships in Clark County and one in Washoe County.

Senate Bill 65 would boost the fee for filing a lawsuit by $99. A $1,359 fee could be levied for filing a suit involving “a business matter as defined by the local rules in the district.” Construction defect suits would cost an additional $349.

An additional $20 fee would be tacked on to each civil suit with the money going to the program for legal services. And county commissions would have the authority under the bill to add another $20 fee for court security.

The bill also directs county recorders to collect a $50 fee for recording a notice of default and election to sell, which would support a foreclosure mediation program.

The number of district judges in Clark County would increase from 42 to 53, two of whom would be family court judges. The new seats on the bench would be filled in the November 2010 election.

Fees for filing court documents would be used to pay for the new judges and their staffs. They could also be used to construct facilities for the new jurists.

If approved, the new fees would go into effect July 1.

The bill initially carried a $1 million appropriation from the state to pay for the judges — the state has traditionally paid the salaries of the district judges, and counties have handled related expenses. But the $1 million appropriation was eliminated when the new fees were included.

Gibbons, who has said he won’t support new taxes or fees, has not said whether he will sign or veto the bill.


A Senate resolution to end term limits went down to defeat in the upper chamber. The resolution would have been a step toward eliminating term limits, which voters approved in the 1990s and begin to take effect this year.

About one-fourth of all legislators will be forced out by term limits. Nevada term limits allow legislators to serve three four-year terms in the state Senate and six two-year terms in the Assembly.

Sun reporter J. Patrick Coolican contributed to this report.

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