- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 2, 2015

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - Nevada lawmakers wrapped up their 120-day legislative session after passing a major tax hike and a budget with significant new investments in education.

The Legislature adjourned at the stroke of midnight Tuesday.

Members of the Assembly and Senate cleared what was arguably their biggest task when they passed a tax package that the governor’s office estimates is worth $1.1 billion.

They finished their work Monday night by passing five bills implementing a state budget of more than $7 billion and rushed through some last-minute policy measures that now head to the governor for his signature or veto.

Here’s what’s happened on a number of hot-button issues:

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BODY CAMERAS: Troopers with the Nevada Highway Patrol could soon be wearing body cameras. A newly approved measure, sponsored by Democratic Sen. Aaron Ford, requires officers to wear the devices and is funded by nearly $1.3 million from the state highway fund. The bill requires the highway patrol to have regulations in place for troopers wearing the cameras by next summer.

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TEACHER SHORTAGE: Lawmakers approved a bill backed by Gov. Brian Sandoval that will offer scholarships for future teachers and $5,000 bonuses for first-year teachers as a way to combat a worker shortage. The measure was introduced late in the session amid concerns that the teacher shortage would sabotage Sandoval’s major education initiatives. A total of $25 million has been allocated for the programs.

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SCHOOL DISTRICT BREAKUP: Lawmakers approved a bill that requires lawmakers and others to study the effects of splitting the Clark County School District, the nation’s fifth-largest, into separate school precincts. Republican Assemblyman David Gardner, sponsored the measure, said a breakup would improve education. Lobbyists with the Clark County School District have said fragmenting district could severely interfere with its bond rating. The bill was amended to require a vote of an interim legislative commission before a breakup could go through.

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PREVAILING WAGE: Lawmakers reversed a controversial decision they made earlier this session on the prevailing wage, which is a sort of minimum wage for contractors. A bill signed into law by Sandoval allowed for the extension of school construction bonds but also specified that school construction wouldn’t be subject to the prevailing wage. A late amendment that passed both houses again made school construction projects subject to prevailing wage, but at 90 percent of the rate of other public works projects.

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EXTRA DMV FEE: Lawmakers gave final approval Monday to a bill that authorizes a $1 technology fee on any paid transaction at the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles. The money is aimed at funding a $109 million DMV modernization project that includes a new computer system.

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LIVE ENTERTAINMENT TAX: Burning Man tickets could soon be taxed under a bill passed by the Legislature. Lawmakers moved forward with changes to the state’s Live Entertainment Tax in hopes of capturing revenue from an evolving entertainment landscape and closing loopholes. Senators unanimously approved the bill Sunday, and the Assembly approved it Monday. The bill proposes a 9 percent tax on live entertainment, a change from the existing system that imposes a 5 percent or 10 percent tax depending on the size of the venue. The measure would include escorts but not prostitutes, and it also clarifies that large-scale outdoor entertainment events would be taxed.

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HIGHER MINIMUM WAGE: Nevada lawmakers narrowly rejected a proposal that would have raised Nevada’s minimum wage to $9 for some workers but also made it harder to qualify for overtime pay. The measure would have upped the state’s minimum wage for workers without employer-offered health insurance to $9 and required at least ten hours of work in a day before employees qualified for overtime pay. Assembly members rejected the measure Monday night on a 21-19 vote.

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