LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The 2019 Legislative Session is getting underway this week in Carson City.
Investigative reporter Joe Bartels will be in Carson City the next few days as the 80th session of the Nevada Legislature begins. The session will last for 120 consecutive days and approximately 1,200 bills will be considered before the session ends on June 3.
About 900 of those bills will receive a hearing only and only about 600 bills are expected to pass.
Click here for more information about the session.
Lawmakers are expected to make education a big focus. Gov. Steve Sisolak set forth his agenda during his first State of the State speech just a few weeks ago and education was at the top of his list.
Education topics to be addressed include Nevada's 51-year-old education formula. Sisolak has said he's open to working on the issue but there is not a consensus plan. Additionally, it could cost hundreds of millions to adequately fund education in the state.
Reading is also a hot topic. Approximately 9,000 third-grade students are currently at risk of being held back if they can't read by the end of the year. Also, lawmakers will be discussing what happened to the room tax increase, which was supposed to go towards education but was diverted to the state's general fund during the recession a few years ago.
Surprise emergency room billing and drug prices are at the top of the list for healthcare issues.
13 Action News has done a couple of stories about families being hit by big bills after a trip to the emergency room.
As for rising drug prices, Sisolak has said that he wants to "reign in" pharmaceutical companies. Lawmakers are also expected to work on a wide-ranging opioid bill in an effort to combat the opioid crisis that is gripping the nation.
Lawmakers will also consider reducing penalties for some crimes and the possibility of ending capital punishment. They will also talk about Marsy's Law, which is a crime victims bill of rights.
Those who currently work for minimum wage will probably be happy to hear that lawmakers will be considering raising Nevada's minimum wage once again. A bill in 2017 proposed $12 an hour. It was vetoed by Gov. Sandoval. However, Sisolak has said that he supports raising the minimum wage slowly over 3 to 4 years.
There is also a bill draft request to require certain private employers to provide paid sick leave to full-time employees under certain circumstances.
Energy issues include renewable standards and a law that allows large businesses to purchase power on the open market. Lawmakers will also consider three bills that propose to make changes to the state's water law.
The Rainy Day Fund is sure to be a discussed at length during this year's Legislative Session. 10 percent of the marijuana excise tax is currently going into the fund but Gov. Sisolak wants that money to be used for the Millennium Scholarship fund or school safety measures.
Other topics to be addressed include background checks for gun purchases, bump stocks, early voting, same-day voter registration, rent stabilization, Dillon's Rule and collective bargaining.
Lawmakers will also consider several bills that would solve the issue of banking for the marijuana industry and a Cannabis Compliance Board.
For the first time in a long time, Democrats are running the show in Carson City. Gov. Sisolak is the first Democratic governor since the 90s. Additionally, there are more women than men in the state's legislature for the first time.
The snow is really coming down here at the legislature! pic.twitter.com/fwMl6bZBJM— Joe Bartels (@Joe_Bartels) February 4, 2019
Speaker Frierson is very proud of the first female majority in the legislature in state history. Assembly members stand and applaud— Joe Bartels (@Joe_Bartels) February 4, 2019