Las Vegas Sun

October 22, 2017

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Legislators are uniting to make Nevada better

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From the beginning of Nevada’s 77th legislative session, we said things were going to be different.  Instead of kicking the can down the road and letting partisanship serve as a roadblock to progress, we’re working hard and having discussions about how we can build a better Nevada.

We are already seeing the results of this. Last month, the Legislature unanimously passed a bill to revise the Consolidated Tax Structure, which will more fairly allocate revenue among municipalities. This is an important sign of how different this session is from previous ones. The Legislature also moved quickly to unanimously pass, in both chambers, online gaming legislation that was signed into law by Gov. Brian Sandoval. This legislation will create Nevada jobs while ensuring Nevada remains the gold standard in gaming.

In the Assembly, we’ve always ensured that lawmakers stick to deadlines on bill introductions. So far this session, 413 bills have been introduced. 64 other drafts have met the end of their road due to failure to meet bill introduction deadlines.

As part of ensuring we have an open and honest discussion about how to move Nevada forward, we need to make sure lawmakers have time to thoroughly read bills they are voting on. Sometimes, we learn about “unintended consequences” of bills passed by the Legislature months or even years after they become law. This is why deadlines matter.

Most importantly, unlike previous sessions, we have been discussing Nevada’s revenue structure and how to broaden the tax base from Day 1. Every parent, teacher and student in our state knows that our schools are woefully underfunded. Our children cannot learn or get the amount of individual attention study after study shows they need if they are stuffed into overcrowded classrooms with 40 or more kids. It’s easy to understand: More revenue equals smaller class sizes, more teachers and better programming.

This is why we began big discussions on the first day of this session. We are open to considering any idea that adequately funds our schools today and helps turn Nevada’s economy around. This session is a marathon, not a sprint. I am excited about how far we’ve come this session in making the process more transparent, more productive and less partisan. We in the Assembly Democratic Caucus look forward to working with our colleagues in both houses and parties and making sure this session we all work together to build a better Nevada.

Assemblywoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick, D-North Las Vegas, is the speaker of the state Assembly.

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