2015 Legislative Update For Week of 3/16/15
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Weekly Update


Governor unveils plan

Business license fee bill is bold, simple

SB252 creates new education funding stream using tiered system based on gross receipts
Governor Sandoval will present his business license fee proposal to modernize and improve Nevada's K-12 public education system and its revenue structure before a joint legislative committee on Wednesday at 1 p.m. All other committee meetings are cancelled for the afternoon.

The bill, SB252, was introduced last week and will be heard by a joint session of the Senate Committee on Revenue and Economic Development and the Assembly Committee on Taxation. (Watch Wednesday's testimony live here.)

According to Sandoval, the updated Business License Fee bill, is "the most broad-based, least complicated, and fairest way to increase education funding."

SB252 will replace the current business license fee with a tiered scale based on gross receipts. Currently, all businesses pay a flat fee of $200 a year regardless of their type or revenue. This fee – not a tax – generates approximately $68 million annually for the state general fund.

The new plan, however, proposes a company's fee would be determined based on its industry type and gross receipts, and sectors with a higher average profit margin will pay more. Rates vary depending on the 30 different types of industry and range from a minimum of $400 up to a maximum of $4 million, although no companies presently meet that maximum threshold. Estimates of what the Business License Fee would raise range from $250 million to more than $400 million.

"It is the best way to ensure that all Nevada businesses share in the investment in educating Nevada's children," Sandoval said, "and it will allow for immediate revenue for the budget."

The bill will need to win support from two-thirds of the Senate and Assembly to become law.

We see you

Open Book gives public clear view of funds

Like many businesses and households, the Clark County School District is learning to do more with less and eliminate waste where it can. It also understands that making its budget information easily accessible tells taxpayers that it is accountable to them. With that transparency in mind, CCSD has an informative web site called Open Book that lets the public see what it takes to keep the nation's fifth-largest school district up and running. Scroll through this user-friendly site, get familiar with the tools, and take a look at the infographics – they are especially helpful in illustrating how, where, and why the school district spends money, how it compares to other large school districts, and more.

Follow up

Laws of the land

Have you caught your breath yet from last week's whirlwind action that got SB207 and SB119 signed into law? Well, now is definitely not the time to sit back and think that the 10-year rollover bond for school construction and improvement projects is all wrapped up.

The next steps are hammering out construction schedules and securing future land acquisitions, if we want to see those shovels in the ground by this summer.

CCSD Board of School Trustees is holding a joint meeting with the Bond Oversight Committee on Thursday at 11:30 a.m. at its Administrative Center, 5100 W. Sahara Ave., Room 446.

Coming up this week

  • Tuesday, March 17, 7:30 a.m.
    Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce's Newsfeed Breakfast will discuss the state of K-12 education in Nevada. Local and national education panelists include Kati Haycock, President of The Education Trust, Pat Skorkowsky, Superintendent of Clark County School District, Ruben Murillo, Jr., President of Nevada State Education Association, and Allison Serafin, Vice President of the Nevada State Board of Education. The panel will be moderated by Glenn Cook, Senior Editorial Writer for the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
  • Tuesday, March 17, 8 a.m.
    Department of Education Budget hearings resume with the joint Senate Finance and Assembly Ways and Means Subcommittee on K-12, Higher Ed, and Capital Improvement Projects. Watch the meeting live here.
  • Tuesday, March 17, 10:30 a.m.
    Attendance Zone Advisory Commission (AZAC) will meet to review zoning changes for the 2015-2016 school year and will also review zoning concerns for the 2016-1017 season. The meeting is at the Edward A. Greer Educational Center Board Room, 2832 E. Flamingo Road at 10:30 a.m.
  • Tuesday, March 17, 3:30 p.m.
    SB220 will be heard for the first time by the Senate Committee on Education. The bill would require middle school/junior high school students to learn about personal financial literacy, such as understanding loans, debt, credit, interest rates, taxes, insurance, and more. This bill comes from the Nevada Youth Legislature. Watch the meeting live here.
  • Thursday, March 19, 4 p.m.
    AJR6, a bill that proposes to amend the Nevada Constitution to allow the Legislature to authorize a lottery for support of the public education of children and the health and welfare of senior citizens, will be heard by the Assembly of Legislative Operations and Elections. Watch the meeting live here.

Your two cents

Contact Legislators

Getting in touch with your legislators is easy and they really do want to hear from you. Your opinions help shape our laws. And don't forget to mention you're a member of HOPE!
  • The Share Your Opinion page offers a form for one-stop communication with minimal effort and no searching for legislator contact information.
  • Contact Senators and Assemblypeople directly. Each branch of the Legislature has all the contact information for its members listed on one page.

On our radar

Educational bills worth mentioning

  • AB112 – Clarifies policy concerning a safe and respectful learning environment for students as well as administrators, teachers, and support staff in public schools. The bill was in a work session last week and received a "do pass as amended."
  • AB165 – Establishes the Nevada Educational Choice Scholarship Program. Payroll and Modified Business Tax payers can donate funds to this private program in the form of a scholarship and get a tax credit. It passed a work session and moves on to the Assembly Ways and Means Committee.
  • AB278 – Requires the Department of Education to develop certain policies, procedures and guidance related to class-size reduction. This bill will be heard in the Assembly Committee on Education in the near future.
  • AB303 – Removes the requirement that a pupil pass current end-of-course examinations in certain subject areas and voids the regulations through which the State Board of Education adopted the Common Core State Standards. This bill could replace Common Core regulations with the state's previous standards. The Assembly Committee on Education will hear it soon.
  • SB75 – Allows for a more flexible year-round testing schedule for SBAC testing in schools on a year-round calendar. It was amended and received a "do pass as amended" last month. It will most likely not be heard on Senate floor for some time.
  • SB204 – Provides protections from and preventions against bullying and cyber-bullying in public schools. It will be heard by the Senate Committee on Education in the near future.
  • SB211 – Requires a school district to set the time for the beginning of a school day: no earlier than 7 a.m. for elementary, no earlier than 8 a.m. for middle, and no earlier than 9 a.m. for high schools. The bill was heard with no action last week and is scheduled for a work session soon.

Stay informed during the session by using the Nevada Electronic Legislative Information System (NELIS). It offers access to Bills, Budgets, and Committees, a useful Calendar, contact information for Senate and Assembly members, and you can also sign up for Personalized Legislative Tracking

And now, if you miss anything, archived videos of past meetings and floor sessions are available for viewing.

The spotlight
on policy change

HOPE's Top 5 Goals

What does HOPE want? We want to see change in areas that will improve the chances of a better education for our current and future students. Our platform is broad and inclusive:
  • Pre-K for under-resourced children
  • Universal full-day Kindergarten
  • Embedded and collaborative Professional Development
  • Funding Formula reform and a Stabilization Account
  • Rollover bonds for school construction and refurbishment

The voice
for our children

We all need HOPE!

HOPE is guided purely by the goal to provide the best education possible for all students in the state. Our parent advocacy group formed in 2014 to fill the void where family and community involvement was largely missing. Our membership allows us to offer a unified voice representing families and community members all over Southern Nevada. It also helps educate and inform local and state level decision-makers and legislators on specific needs of students and teachers in Clark County and beyond.

Share HOPE with your friends and ask them to sign up today to become a member — www.hopefornevada.org. With your support, we will always have HOPE for Nevada's students!

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