No need for annual sessions
April 23, 2013
Last week, the Nevada senate approved a constitutional amendment that will allow lawmakers to meet for 30 days in Las Vegas on even-numbered years.
We don't believe there is anything the Legislature has to do now that it hasn't had to do every other year since it first started meeting 150 years ago.
Lawmakers had to ride trains and horses to get to Carson City in those days. They had to create two-year budgets with only the faintest clue how much money would be available.
Today, lawmakers spend far less time traveling, have relatively instant access to information they need to make decisions, and yet they still want more time to do their work.
We figure voters were pretty clear in 1998 when they passed the constitutional amendment requiring the Legislature to finish their work in 120 days.
We like the idea that our legislators have to leave Carson City after they finish the session and then go back to their regular jobs, where they have to deal with the consequences of their actions, just like all the rest of us do.
Holding annual sessions sounds too much like forming a professional Legislature to us, and that's not something we're interested in having.
If there's a problem it's that the Economic Forum doesn't issue its report on the next two years until May 1. Seems to us that you wouldn't need a constitutional amendment to alter the Forum's timetable so that information about the state's economy would be available closer to the beginning of the session, giving lawmakers February, March and April to finish the budget. That would give local governments a far better idea of what was coming in time to finish their budgets by the May 15 deadline.
But if lawmakers insist on meeting in Las Vegas for a month every other summer, we suggest they hold the session in July, outdoors. That should keep any mischief to a minimum.