2015 Legislative Update For Week of 3/23/15
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Weekly Update


SB252 dominates week

Bill hearings focused on funding education

Committees heard Business License Fee testimony for more than 12 hours over two days
The introduction of Senate Bill 252 was history in the making. The Governor's proposal to modernize and improve Nevada's K-12 public education system and its revenue structure was discussed during two lengthy hearings, the first hearing was before a joint session of the Senate Committee on Revenue and Economic Development and the Assembly Committee on Taxation while the second hearing continued before the Senate Committee of the Whole the following day. Total time for testimony during both hearings clocked in at more than 12 hours. Phew!

The first hearing was memorable not only because of its duration — 9 hours, 12 minutes — but also because all other committee meetings were cancelled that afternoon, something that typically never happens. Another rarity was Governor Sandoval himself introduced SB252 and had three former Nevada Governors on hand to lend bipartisan support to his Business License Fee bill: Governors Bob List and Richard Bryan in Carson City and Governor Bob Miller in Las Vegas.

Many prominent figures in Nevada's business community stood up to support the bill, such as Elaine Wynn, chairwoman of the state Board of Education, and Tom Skancke, head of Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance. Homebuilders, construction industry officials and other business groups also joined in supporting the plan. HOPE submitted its resolution in support of SB252 as well.

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 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. It is estimated that the Business License Fee could raise more than $400 million.

Discussions on SB252 will continue on Monday at 4 p.m. The bill will need to win support from two-thirds of the Senate and Assembly to become law. You can watch it live here.

If you missed either of the first two hearings, you can view archived videos from Wednesday and Thursday.

Follow up

NDE wraps up budget testimonies

The Senate Finance and Assembly Ways and Means Joint Subcommittee on K-12, Higher Ed, and Capital Improvement Projects has met for the last time to hear the Nevada Department of Education's budget testimonies.

The first meeting on Feb. 19, covered the Distributive School Account. The DSA is the main funding source for Nevada's education system. The second meeting on Feb. 27, continued with more education programs from the Governor's budget, such as Ready by 3 and Great Teaching and Leading Fund. The third meeting on March 3, the Joint Subcommittees heard the budget for the Office of Educator Effectiveness and Family Engagement, among others.

The last meeting on March 17, focused on many of Governor Sandoval's reforms, such as literacy programs, expanding the Advanced Placement program, increasing funding for social workers in schools, educator licensure, and data privacy. The Department of Education also presented its department budget. Each house will hear the actual budgets beginning next week.

Coming up this week

  • Monday, March 23 @ 3:15
    The Assembly Committee on Education will hear AB206, AB221, and AB395. AB206 addresses additional resources being provided to parents or guardians of a pupil in public school in relation to bullying; it will be heard in a work session. AB221 requires the Department of Education and school boards to publish accountablility reports on the NDE's website. AB395 revises provision to the State Public Charter School Authority in regards to the budget, employees, salaries, job titles and responsibilities. Watch the hearing live here.
  • Tuesday, March 24 @ 3:30 p.m.
    The Senate Committee on Education will hear SB236. SB236 revises provisions relating to STEM Advisory Council, such as requiring the council to establish events that recognize exemplary achievement or performance by students in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Watch the hearing live here.
  • Wednesday, March 25 @ 3:15 p.m.
    The Assembly Committee on Education meets to hear AB278, AB339, and AB351. AB278 revises provisions relating to class-size reduction; AB339 relates to school board of trustees membership and accountability; and AB351 relates to projects that benefit charter schools. Watch the hearing live here.
  • The Assembly Committee on Education may hear AB394 on March 30 @ 3:15 p.m. and AB303 on April 1 @ 3:15 p.m., according to Nevada Succeeds Legislative Update. AB394 – sponsored by Assemblymen Gardner, Fiore, Jones, Silberkraus, Hickey, Dickman, O'Neill, Seaman, and Trowbridge – prescribes the process where an incorporated city may create its own school precinct within a county school district with the approval of the State Board of Education. AB303 repeals the Common Core State Standards and its requirement that a student pass current end-of-course exams in certain subjects. This bill could replace Common Core regulations with the state's old standards.

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.

Did you know?

A bill's got a tough life: If it fails to meet any of the Legislative Session deadlines, then it dies and can no longer be considered. This 120-Day Calendar sets the structure for the Legislative session. Last week, Legislators passed their first major deadline for introducing bills, and because of that deadline, we saw a staggering 248 bills introduced in two days! This should explain why our "On our radar" section, below, is so lengthy. This week, it's the Committees' turns.
  • Day 43 (Monday, Week 7) – Legislators must formally introduce their bills
  • Day 50 (Monday, Week 8) – Committees must introduce their bills

On our radar

Educational bills worth mentioning

  • AB148 – The bill deals with student safety and allows concealed carry permit holders to carry their weapons on campuses of higher ed institutions, public and private schools, and day-care centers. Clark County School District proposed an amendment to have public and private schools and day-care centers removed from the bill; it was successfully amended and received a "do pass" from Assembly Judiciary Committee in a work session.
  • AB376 – Revises provisions that require charter schools to adhere to current class-size reduction guidelines.
  • AB378 – This bill eliminates the class-size reduction program and replaces it with the Fund For Master Teachers program. It also converts all teachers and administrators to annual contracts, ending teacher tenure in Nevada.
  • SB178 – Requires all public schools students receive physical education classes for a specified amount of time and it would require 3 PE credits to graduate high school.
  • SB220 – Requires 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.
  • SB228 – This bill requires parental consent for student data to be released, except for basic directory information. The bill was amended to include private school and homeschool student data collections, too. Data collected are used for many things from school star ratings to teacher evaluations.
  • SB287 – Provides for instruction in cursive handwriting in all public elementary schools and for students to write legibly by end of third grade. Currently with the Nevada Academic Content Standards, cursive writing is not included.
  • SB290 – This bill repeals the Common Core State Standards and its requirement that a student pass current end-of-course exams in certain subjects. The difference between this bill  and AB303 is that it could replace Common Core regulations with Massachusetts' old ELA and Math standards or another standard that is equivalent.
  • SB332 – This bill allocates money to CCSD for the Peer Assistance and Review program. The funds must be used to provide assistance to teachers in meeting the standards of effective teaching.
  • SB345 – Provides for full-day Kindergarten using a weighted funding formula. It mandates every public school have a full-day Kindergarten program, but it is not mandatory to attend.
  • SB391 – This bill  creates a plan to ensure students Read By 3rd Grade and increase proficiency of those students who read below grade level.
  • SB397 – This bill implements the proposed changes to the Nevada Plan, or weighted funding formula, for English Language Learners and Free and Reduced Lunch students.
  • SB405 – Expands the program of Zoom schools and the provision of programs and services to children who are ELL in certain other schools. This bill allows money to be spent on professional development, family engagement, and teacher incentives.
  • SCR6 – This bill studies the current school districts boundaries and looks at others states and financial and educational ramifications of redrawing district lines for consolidation.

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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