The Nevada legislature has been in session since February and has heard and passed a wide variety of bills related to “gun control,” environmental justice, social justice, and “reproductive” justice. Yet, Democratic legislators killed Governor Lombardo’s school safety proposals due to “not having enough time” to hear two school safety bills before a key deadline on Friday. Seemingly, parts of the Restorative Justice plans implemented by the legislature in 2019 will simply be shifted and amended, in spite of widespread, bipartisan opposition.
NEW: Senate Democrats say they will advance only one school safety bill, sponsored by Assemblywoman Angie Taylor, through committee.
That means a bill from Gov. Lombardo will die at a deadline this Friday, barring a new amendment to Taylor's bill https://t.co/Ys0OOpS3He
— Jacob Solis (@jacobsolisnv) May 16, 2023
In a report by the Nevada Independent:
Senate Democrats have signaled they will move this week to consolidate two similar bills aiming to overhaul the state’s K-12 school discipline laws — setting up a potential showdown with Gov. Joe Lombardo’s office over yet another of his top legislative priorities.
The former, sponsored by Assemblywoman Angie Taylor (D-Reno), would peel back key parts of the state’s 2019 restorative justice law and expand the ability of schools to suspend or expel students. The latter, which was the only bill presented personally by Lombardo this session, includes additional proposals governing exactly how and under what conditions students can be suspended or expelled, as well as new data reporting requirements for the Department of Education.
Sen. Roberta Lange (D-Las Vegas), chair of the Senate Education Committee, told The Nevada Independent on Tuesday that her committee would not have time to hear both bills ahead of a key bill deadline on Friday. Though proposals included in Lombardo’s bill could still be added to Taylor’s bill, the announcement functionally guarantees the death of Lombardo’s policy proposals if no amendments are made.
During his State of the State, Governor Lombardo urged the Nevada legislature to fix the mess they created in 2019 when they passed AB 168, a Restorative Justice experiment signed into law by former Democratic Governor Steve Sisolak which prohibited or limited the expulsion of students.
The bill also prohibited removing, suspending or expelling students solely for offenses related to attendance or truancy, according to a memo by the Nevada Department of Education. It also changed language in state statute that said students “must” be expelled for committing battery that results in bodily injury of an employee to “may be expelled.” Since the law was passed, violence against teachers and students has escalated across school districts throughout the Silver State.
Assembly Bill 330 repeals restorative justice measures by “removing the reference to a statewide framework for restorative justice developed by the Department of Education, the development of which is repealed by section 15 of this bill.”
Assembly Bill 285 eliminates the age requirement of eleven years old for expulsion, transfers the responsibility of creating a restorative justice plan from the school to the school board, and maintains the disciplinary requirements related to “progressive discipline” and restorative justice.
Assembly Bill 194 authorizes the suspension, expulsion or permanent expulsion of a pupil of any age who commits a battery or assault against an employee of a school or another pupil while on the premises of any public school, at an activity sponsored by a public school or on a school bus. The bill also authorizes the permanent expulsion of a pupil who is at least 11 years of age who sells or distributes any controlled substance while on the premises of any public school, at an activity sponsored by a public school or on a school bus. Existing law authorizes the suspension, expulsion or permanent expulsion of a pupil with a disability if the pupil is at least 11 years of age.
Although AB194 had wide, bipartisan support, the bill will not advance.
The Better Nevada PAC responded, accusing Democratic legislators of playing political games at the expense of students and teachers:
Dems in the state legislature waited 60 days to act on school safety only to kill Gov. Lombardo's bill and push one of their own.
Playing political games while students and teachers are forced into unsafe classrooms.
— Nevada War Room – Better NV PAC (@BetterNevadaPAC) May 16, 2023
Governor Lombardo’s education proposals haven’t received hearings and his election integrity proposals which, in part, require voter ID, the elimination of universal mail ballots, and election-day deadlines for counting ballots, will die this legislative session.
In a press conference last month with Democratic leadership, the Nevada Globe asked Assm. Yeager if Governor Lombardo’s election integrity bill, SB405, will receive a hearing. Yeager replied, “We are here at the Legislature to solve problems. This isn’t a problem that exists in the state of Nevada,” Yeager said. “It’s simply a solution in search of a problem…Our elections are safe and secure…we have the best elections in the country.”
Although 35 states have implemented various requirements for voter identification, AG Ford curiously charged that Voter ID was “unconstitutional.”
“This attorney general will not abide by an unconstitutional act like voter ID here in this state, where the only people who’ve ever prosecuted it are standing before you,” Ford said. “I stand by Speaker Yeager and that entire Legislative Building in not giving that bill a hearing.”
SOS Aguilar joined the chorus, stating: “It is important to understand when you mess with a fundamental right, you better be very careful in what you are doing to limit your access to the ballot box.”
As the legislature nears the end of their biennium session, bipartisanship has been predictably scarce.
After Governor Lombardo’s State of the State, The Globe noted: “the speech was optimistic in tone but fell short on reality as his appeal for bipartisanship hit a wall built by a Democratic majority led by Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro and Speaker-Elect Steve Yeager.”
Democrats designed a supermajority through redistricting both chambers. With only one seat away from obtaining a super majority in the State Senate, the Democrats may be lying in wait to unilaterally pass Democrat-sponsored legislation and override a gubernatorial veto.
UPDATE: 11;54 PM: Governor Lombardo will veto state budget if legislative priorities aren’t address. Special session is likely!
Gov. Lombardo isn't putting up with partisan nonsense from Democrats in the state legislature.
Nevadans want and deserve action on education, public safety, and school choice.
— Nevada War Room – Better NV PAC (@BetterNevadaPAC) May 17, 2023
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