March 6, 2017
The Nevada State Capitol building is appropriately located in downtown Carson City, the first and only capital city the Silver State has had since statehood on October 31, 1864.
The original structure was completed in 1871 and housed all branches of state government. Over the years it was expanded, then other homes were built nearby for the Legislature and Supreme Court. The state’s constitutional officers, including the governor, still have offices in the historic building.
In addition to housing working government offices, the Nevada State Capitol building is a worthy tourist attraction. It is beautifully maintained in its original Neoclassical Italianate style and an excellent museum with history of the building and Nevada is located on the second floor. Visitors can take self-guided tours through the building or arrange for a guided tour (requires advance arrangements). The building is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday and closed on holidays. The grounds surrounding the Nevada State Capitol provide a park-like setting and are worth time to explore. While in Carson City, you can also visit the nearby Nevada State Museum, located in the old Carson City Mint.
The 79th (2017) Regular Session of the Nevada Legislature is currently in session, making this a particularly interesting time to pay a visit. There’s no telling who you might see in the way of local and state politicians. For more information, refer to “Nevada State Capitol Building and Museum.”
February 8, 2017
The 79th (2017) Regular Session of the Nevada Legislature is now in session. It began on Monday, February 6 and will end on June 5. The Nevada Legislature meets every other year in the state capital of Carson City for 120 consecutive days. This time frame is set by the Nevada constitution. Otherwise, special sessions can be called by the governor or by two-thirds of the legislature.
In the 2016 election, both Senate and Assembly flipped from majority Republican to majority Democrat. The governor and all other state constitutional officers are Republicans elected for four years in the 2014 election. It will be interesting to see how well this group plays together.
For links to more information about the Nevada State Legislature, elected members, legislative process and more, refer to “Nevada State Legislature in Carson City.”
January 11, 2017
There will be some new laws in Nevada as a result of ballot measures passed by voters in the 2016 general election. In Washoe County, we are going to see a sales tax increase due to the passage of WC-1 on the November ballot. Nevada also bucked the national GOP trend in the last election, voting for Hillary Clinton and returning control of both houses of the Nevada State Legislature to Democrats. Former Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto was elected over Joe Heck to fill the U.S. Senate seat of retiring Harry Reid. Nevada State Senator Ruben Kihuen beat incumbent Crescent Hardy for U.S. House of Representatives District 4. Both of the winners are Democrats.
WC-1 – Washoe County School District Capital Projects Funding Ballot Question
Passed. Authorizes the Washoe County Commission to impose a sales and use tax of 0.54 percent to fund only capital projects of Washoe County School District for the acquisition, construction, repair and renovation of school facilities. WC-1 increases the Washoe County sales tax rate from 7.725 percent to 8.265 percent, the highest in Nevada. The increase will likely be implemented in April, 2017.
State Question No. 1 – Expand Gun Background Checks
Passed. The measure requires firearm transfers to go through a licensed gun dealer for a background check. Temporary transfers and transfers between immediate family members are exempted from the measure.
(Update: The Nevada Attorney General has ruled that the measure is unenforceable since the FBI is refusing to do background checks due to lack of funding. Several Nevada sheriffs have said they will not enforce the law until the situation is resolved.)
State Question No. 2 – Legalize Recreational Marijuana
Passed. The measure legalizes and taxes the recreational use of one ounce or less of marijuana by individuals at least 21 years of age. Recreational marijuana stores won’t be open until various regulations are in place, estimated to be around the end of 2017. Medical marijuana was already legal in Nevada. There are numerous medical marijuana dispensaries in the Reno region.
State Question No. 3 – Establish an Open Electric Energy Market
Passed. Adds language to the Nevada Constitution requiring an open, competitive retail electric energy market that eliminates energy monopolies.
State Question No. 4 – Medical Patient Tax Relief
Passed. Requires the Legislature to exempt sales and use tax on durable medical equipment, oxygen delivery equipment, and mobility enhancing equipment prescribed for use by a licensed health care provider.
Sources: Nevada Secretary of State, Washoe County Registrar of Voters, Reno Gazette-Journal, Politico.