- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 2, 2015

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - Nevada lawmakers were wrapping up major policy issues Monday in the final hours of the 120-day legislative session.

Members of the Assembly and Senate cleared their plates of arguably their biggest task when they passed a tax package worth $1.1 billion.

It wasn’t until late Monday that they approved the last of five major bills implementing Sandoval’s budget of more than $7 billion. With less than an hour left in the session, lawmakers still hadn’t given final approval to bills that would allow the breakup of the Clark County School District and switch Nevada from a caucus to a primary system.

Legislative leaders said they’re confident that lawmakers will be able to wrap up pending bills in time before the midnight deadline.

Here’s what’s happened to a number of hot-button issues.

BODY CAMERAS

Troopers with the Nevada Highway Patrol could soon be wearing body cameras after lawmakers passed SB111. The 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 July 2016.

TEACHER SHORTAGE

Lawmakers in the Senate and Assembly gave the green light to SB511, 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 reform initiatives. A total of $25 million has been allocated for the programs.

PREVAILING WAGE

Lawmakers reversed a controversial decision they made earlier this session on prevailing wage, which is a sort of minimum wage for contractors. A bill signed into law by Gov. Sandoval allowed for the extension of school construction bonds, but also specified that school construction wouldn’t be subject to prevailing wage.

A late amendment to AB172 again made school construction projects subject to prevailing wage, but at 90 percent of the rate of other projects.

EXTRA DMV FEE

Motorists may soon be seeing a $1 fee at the Nevada DMV as the agency raises money for a new computer system.

Assembly members approve SB502 on Monday, which authorizes a $1 technology fee on any paid transaction at the DMV. The money is aimed at funding a $109 million DMV modernization project.

SCHOOL DISTRICT BREAKUP

Assembly members approved a watered-down version of a bill that calls for studying the possibility of breaking up the Clark County School District by the 2018-19 school year.

The full Assembly and a Senate budget committee passed the bill, AB394, after it was amended to require a vote of an interim legislative commission before a breakup goes through.

The bill would require that lawmakers and other interested parties form a commission to study the effects of breaking up the district, the nation’s fifth-largest, into separate school precincts.

Republican Assemblyman David Gardner, who is sponsoring the measure, said it would create more efficient school districts with more access for parents.

Lobbyists with the Clark County School District said breaking up the district could severely interfere with the district’s bond rating and other district-wide agreements.

LIVE ENTERTAINMENT TAX

Burning Man tickets could soon be taxed under a bill moving through the Legislature.

Lawmakers are moving forward with changes to the state’s Live Entertainment Tax in hopes of capturing revenue from an evolving entertainment landscape and closing confusing loopholes.

Senators voted to approve the bill, SB266, on a unanimous vote on Sunday, and the Assembly approved it on 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.

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.

Assembly members failed to approve an amended version of SB193 on Monday night on a vote of 21-19, one short of the required constitutional majority.

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.

Failure to adopt the amendment means that the state’s overtime law and minimum wage will remain the same. Workers in non-exempt categories currently qualify for overtime pay after eight hours of work, with a 24-hour reset period.

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