Las Vegas Sun

December 13, 2017

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Senate committee OKs plan to allow Legislature to meet in Las Vegas

CARSON CITY — The $146.29 daily salary for state legislators ends today, but a new plan is moving forward to allow lawmakers to double their salary, hold part or all of sessions in Las Vegas and meet annually instead of every two years.

The Senate Legislative and Operations Committee approved a proposed constitutional amendment that would make major changes in the Legislature.

Now, lawmakers earn the $146.29 per day for the first 60 days of the 120-day regular session. The proposed change would allow them to be paid for every day they are in session.

Also, lawmakers now can meet in Las Vegas but cannot take a vote. The proposed change would let lawmakers, with a majority vote, conduct a portion or an entire session in Las Vegas.

Committee Chairman Pat Spearman, D-North Las Vegas, said meeting in Las Vegas would allow for better participation from citizens in Southern Nevada.

Lawmakers now meet for 120 days in regular session during odd-numbered years. The proposal would permit 45-day sessions in even numbered years.

To pass, the amendment would have to be approved by the Legislature this year and again in 2015 and then be ratified by voters in 2016.

The proposed amendment also removes the constitutional limit that lawmakers receive only $60 for postage and other expenses. Supporters say the limit is outdated.

Sponsors of the measure, Sen. Tick Segerblom and Assemblywoman Lucy Flores, both Las Vegas Democrats, have deleted from the original resolution a proposal that lawmakers be paid $2,000 every month, whether they were in session or not.

They also removed a proposal requiring the Legislature to approve appointments made by the governor and other elected officials.

The committee vote was 4-1, with Sen. James Settelmeyer, R-Minden, opposing the measure, which now goes to the full Senate.

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