2015 Legislative Update For Week of 5/25/15
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Weekly Update


Tax time

'Nevada Revenue Plan' heard in joint meeting

Gov.'s bipartisan proposal blends elements of three bills into amendment to AB464
On May 21, in a joint meeting with the Senate Committee on Finance and Assembly Committee on Ways and Means, Gov. Sandoval's revised tax package was introduced. The "Nevada Revenue Plan," as it is called, was pitched as an amendment to AB464 with the goal of raising $262 million a year to help fund his $7.4 billion budget.

Sandoval's initial attempt at paying for his education initiatives was with SB252, or the Business License Fee plan. The BLF used a tiered scale based on industry type and gross receipts to produce revenue. It passed the Senate back in April but got stuck in the Assembly Committee on Taxation and hasn't moved since. But now, with time quickly running out in the Session, another plan was created that would hopefully be appealing enough to pass a two-thirds majority vote — 28 votes in Assembly and 14 in the Senate.

Sandoval's new revenue proposal takes concepts from SB252, AB464, drafted by Assembly Majority Leader Paul Anderson and Assemblyman Derek Armstrong, and SB374, crafted by Sen. Pat Spearman, and merges them together, with a few tweaks. 

The three parts of the "Nevada Revenue Plan" work together to broaden the state's tax base and allow investment in education through a business license fee, a modified business tax, and a "commerce" tax based on industry type and gross revenue.

The first part, the business license fee would increase between $100 to $300, depending on the type of business. This is different than SB252 in that there are fewer categories and requires less money to register a business with the state.

The second part is the modified business tax. It would increase for general businesses to 1.475 percent from 1.17 percent, with mining and banking institutions paying 2 percent. Along with the MBT, more businesses would also be subject to the levy on payroll taxes with a decrease in the exemption from $340,000 to $200,000.

The third component is probably the most important part of the amendment, and the part that will bring in the most revenue, the "commerce" tax. This tax would be imposed on annual revenue earned in Nevada by large businesses that gross $3.5 million or more. Companies would also be able to deduct 50 percent of that tax as a credit against their modified business tax.

But without funding, nothing happens. The grand vision of better education for all Nevadans, the long, hard hours put in by Legislators, and the countless letters, emails, phone calls and opinion surveys our HOPE Members have submitted, would all have been for nothing because there will be no money to fund any of these initiatives that aim to improve our educational system and student achievement. They will be wasted opportunities.

Now is the time to fund education and pave the way to success for our students and their futures.

Time's a tickin'

Tell Legislators to fund education – now!

While the Department of Education's budgets have been closed and the many education bills work their way to the Governor's desk, they are still unfunded. We could lose out on all the progress that has been made in the name of education at the Legislature so far. We can't let this happen!

Although Gov. Sandoval's original plan to fund his education initiatives fizzled out in Assembly Committee on Taxation, we now have Assembly Bill 464, Sandoval's alternative "Nevada Revenue Plan," as a proposed amendment that will help pay for those many initiatives that have been earmarked for our students and teachers.

PLEASE TAKE ACTION TODAY and write your Legislators and the specific members of the money committees (Senate Finance, Assembly Ways and Means) to encourage them to continue to support funding education. Be sure to also thank them for their hard work and mindfulness toward education in the Session thus far. Your opinions help shape our laws. Tell them what you think! And don't forget to mention you're a member of HOPE!

Follow up

Assembly Bills
  • AB107 – Requires the State to report out subgroup data for FRL students in terms of their academic achievement, retention rates, graduation rates, dropout rates, and assessment scores. It was in a work session on May 12 and then passed as amended on the Senate floor unanimously with a 21-0 vote; it is now awaiting the Governor's signature.
  • AB221 – The Department of Education and school boards will publish accountability reports on the NDE's website with reasons for tracking the data and a list of entities with access to it. It was heard in Assembly Ways and Means on May 21 and got a do pass as amended, and is exempt.
  • AB351 — Allows three-star charter schools to access the bonding provisions created in 2013 and says that schools only need to maintain the ratings for two preceding years instead of three. It was declared an emergency measure under the Constitution and later was passed as amended 20-0. Next, it goes back to the Assembly.
  • AB421 – Creates the Spending and Government Efficiency Commission for public education in this State for 2015-16. The Commission will consist of 12 members with business experience, and will examine spending with goals to streamline it and improve the quality of education. It was referred to Senate Education Committee, and received a do pass as amended, and then declared an emergency measure under the Constitution on May 22. It passed 19-0 from Senate on May 23 and goes back to the Assembly floor.
  • AB447 – Recommends that teacher evaluations are weighted according to the Teachers and Leaders Council: 25 percent comes from local assessments and another 25 percent from statewide assessments. The bill was declared an emergency measure under the Constitution and passed the Senate as amended, on May 22, unanimously, 20-0, and goes back to the Assembly.
  • AB448 – This bill authorizes the DOE to establish a new school district, the Achievement School District, that will take over persistently under-performing schools and transform them into a high-quality charter school. It was amended to limit the ASD enrollment to an opt-out system. It passed the Assembly 25-17 on May 22, as amended and moves to the Senate. It is an exempt bill.
  • AB485 – Transfers the STEM advisory council to the Governor's office of Science, Innovation, and Technology from the Department of Education. It was heard in the Assembly Ways and Means Committee on May 23 and got a do pass as amended.
Senate Bills
  • SB92 – The intent of this bill is to ensure students have access to the best teachers. It incorporates language from SB77, creating Turnaround Schools. It was heard with no action in Senate Committee on Education on May 21. It is unfunded and may have a fiscal impact.
  • SB405 – Enhances ZOOM School funding for landmark programs providing free quality Pre-K, full-day Kindergarten, ELL reading centers, and an extended school year with necessary transportation. ZOOM schools also act to provide incentives to fill our teacher vacancies. This bill is exempt. It got a do pass as amended from the Assembly Committee on Education on May 19, passed Assembly 35-7 on May 22, and goes back to to Senate.
  • SB429 – Makes a supplemental appropriation of $62.2 million to the State DSA from the State General Fund for a shortfall resulting from unanticipated increase in K-12 enrollment for the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 school years. This bill is exempt. It passed Assembly 40-2 on May 22 and goes back to Senate.
  • SB432 – Creates Victory Schools with goal of having students in poverty read at or above grade level, are ready for high school, and graduate without the need for remediation. This is part of the Governor's budget. The bill is exempt. It was passed out of Senate by majority vote 20-1 on May 15, heard in Assembly Committee on Education on May 21 and got a do pass as amended.
  • SB460 – Creates a framework for evaluating alternative schools that have at least 75 percent of its population fit into one of four guidelines: previously expelled students, habitual discipline problem, Special Education qualification, or have serious academic or behavior issues. This bill is exempt. It was heard in Senate Finance Committee on May 22, and got a do pass as amended.
  • SB463 – This is the Nevada version of the Student Privacy Pledge that sets rules about how student data is protected. Any student over the age of 16 may see his/her own records, any student younger than 16 has to have a parent or guardian view the data. Violations of the privacy rules will result in fines. Declared an emergency measure under the Constitution. It passed the Assembly 32-10 on May 22, as amended, and goes back to Senate.
  • SB491 – Allocates $10 million a year with a private match to recruit high-quality charter schools for students below the Federal poverty line. It got a do pass as amended from Senate Committee on Finance on May 21 and is declared exempt.
  • SB509 – Makes various changes to provisions governing charter schools; it is a Charter Authority cleanup bill. It was heard in Senate Committee on Finance on May 22 and got a do pass as amended. This bill is exempt from deadlines.

Reaching for a goal

HOPE for Nevada's students, teachers

Top 5 Goals have been signed into law or are getting close to Governor's desk
  • Pre-K for under-resourced children.
    The NDOE's Other State Education Programs ✔︎ Budget 2699 was passed by Joint Committee of Senate Finance and Assembly Ways and Means on May 16, but still awaits actual funding.
  • Universal full-day Kindergarten.
    The NDOE's School Remediation Trust Fund ✔︎ Budget 2615 was passed by Joint Committee of Senate Finance and Assembly Ways and Means on May 16, but still awaits actual funding.
  • Embedded and collaborative Professional Development.
    SB474 creates the Great Teaching and Leading Fund in the state budget. ✔︎ Budget 2618 for Professional Development Programs passed the Joint Committee of Senate Finance and Assembly Ways and Means on May 16, and like other budgets, still awaits funding. SCR1 also creates an interim study concerning PD for teachers and administrators during the 2015-2016 Interim.
  • Funding Formula reform and a Stabilization Account.
    ✔︎ Budget 2610, the Distributive School Account, was closed, and like the rest of the budgets, awaits funding via AB464 and the Gov.'s "Nevada Revenue Plan" amendment. On the bill side is SB397, the "new" Nevada Plan that requires weighted funding for ELL and FRL students; SB424 creates a K-12 Public Education Stabilization Account that reallocates half of remaining fund balance money from DSA to a stabilization account for the future; and SB508 provides for long-term modernization of the Nevada Plan (per-pupil funding) based on a weighted funding formula for ELL, FRL, Special Ed, and GATE students.
  • Rollover bonds for school construction and refurbishment.
    ✔︎ SB119 and ✔︎ SB207 were both signed into law by Gov. Sandoval. We now have not one but two (!!) laws enacting the rollover bond to fund new construction and improvements at existing schools.
* The ✔︎ indicates a bill that has become a law or a budget was passed.

Coming up this week

Monday, May 25
  • AB464 – A proposed amendment was presented in a policy discussion on May 21, by a joint meeting of the Assembly Committee on Ways and Means and the Senate Committee on Finance for the alternative tax plan to fund education initiatives. No action or testimony was taken by the joint committee since it was a policy discussion and not a hearing. It will be heard by the Joint Committee at 2 p.m. Watch it live here.
  • SB133 – Creates a Teachers' School Supplies Reimbursement account to pay back teachers for out-of-pocket school expenses up to $250 per year. The bill is exempt due to the $5 million fiscal note for operating expenses. It got a do pass as amended from Senate Education Committee and will be heard in Senate Committee on Finance at 10 a.m. Watch it live here.
  • SB302 – Establishes a universal education savings account (ESA) that the State will pay from the DSA to be used towards private schools, religious schools, homeschooling, transportation, or other alternative forms of education. These Educational Savings Accounts could be used for tuition, textbooks, tutoring and college savings, among other expenses. It is declared exempt. It will be heard in Senate Finance at 10 a.m.
  • SB508 – Provides for long-term modernization of the Nevada Plan (per-pupil funding) based on a weighted funding formula for ELL, FRL, Special Ed, Kindergarten and GATE students, as well as average daily attendance, starting in the 16-17 school year. It is exempt and will be heard in Senate Committee on Finance at 10 a.m.
  • SB332 – Allocates $1 million for each year of the biennium to support the Peer Assistance and Review (PAR) program in Clark County and Washoe County. The Senate voted 19-1 in favor on May 19. It has been referred to concurrent Committees on Education and Ways and Means and is being heard at 1 p.m. in the Assembly Committee on Education.
  • SB338 – Sen. Debbie Smith's bill complements Gov. Sandoval's anti-bullying campaign. It requires the Director of the Office for a Safe and Respectful Learning Environment within the Department of Education to establish the Safe-to-Tell Program to enable the anonymous reporting of dangerous, violent or unlawful activity, or threats thereof, in or at a public school. It was heard in Senate Finance on May 19, passed the Senate unanimously on May 21, and moves to Assembly Education today at 1 p.m. It is an exempt bill. Watch the meeting live here.
Tuesday, May 26
  • SB391 – The Read by 3rd Grade bill provides support services for early grades with a focus on improving literacy rates. Students must pass a reading test by third grade or be held back. It also requires school districts and charter schools to report the number of third graders retained each year to the Nevada Department of Education. It received a do pass as amended from the Assembly Committee on Education on May 22. This bill is exempt. It will be heard on the Assembly floor at 11:30 a.m.
  • SB474 – Creates the Great Teaching and Leading Fund in the state budget. Funds can be used for professional development, teacher and leader recruitment and preparation, and peer assistance and review. It got a do pass as amended from Assembly Committee on Education and moves to Assembly floor at 11:30.
  • SB503 – Provides for the creation and implementation of the Breakfast After the Bell Program. The bill, which is exempt, got a do pass from Assembly Ways and Means Committee on May 22, and moves to Assembly floor at 11:30.
  • AB166 – Establishes a state seal to be put on a diploma for biliteracy for students who are proficient in English and another language besides English. After a work session May 15 with an amendment regarding location of seal, bill moves to Senate floor at 5 p.m.
  • AB234Multicultural education bill requires program by State Board of Education for students in grades 2-12. Also requires teachers to take a course in teaching multicultural education. The bill passed the Assembly 39-1 with an amendment. It is exempt and moves to Senate Committee on Education at 3:30 p.m.
  • SB483 – This bill would make temporary rates on payroll taxes and sales tax permanent. The "sunset taxes" were created in 2009 and lawmakers have temporarily extended them every two years. The bill could raise more than $600 million from the payroll taxes and a $1 tax increase on cigarettes. It passed Senate 18-3 on May 15 with an amendment and it will be heard by the Assembly Committee on Taxation after adjournment.

Final laps

Finish line in sight

We're nearly at the end of the 78th Session with only a few weeks left to go. Bills have passed through committees in both houses, budgets are closed, and deadlines keep coming. So much action and yet we still have some distance to cover before reaching the finish line.

The next important date on the 120-day Legislative Calendar is May 27 when Budget Bills Introduced Exempt Bills from Committee. Bills that have been marked as "exempt" must pass through committee or else they die.

All action on these decisions must be completed by the end of the 120th day of the session, by midnight, June 1. If not, a special session will be called to extend the time the Legislature has to finish its business. The cost of the special session will be about $60,000 for the first day and $25,000 for any subsequent days, according to estimates from the Legislative Counsel Bureau. It will be paid out of the Legislative Fund.

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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