Bill changing Nevada initiative process dies

An Assembly panel has shelved a bill opposed by slow-growth advocates because it added new requirements to Nevada's initiative process -- used to seek a building permit cap in Douglas County last year.

AB428 didn't come up for a vote Friday in Government Affairs, and died as a result because that was the deadline for action on measures by committees in the house where they were first introduced.

The death of AB428 in the Assembly panel followed last week's shelving of a similar measure, SB279, in the state Senate.

Both proposals had been criticized by leaders in the effort to pass the Sustainable Growth Initiative in Douglas County.

The cap on building permits passed easily in November, but a judge invalidated it in February. The ruling was sought both by builders and by Douglas County District Attorney Scott Doyle.

Backers of the ballot question, imposing an annual cap of 280 dwelling units for in Douglas County's scenic Carson Valley, are appealing to the Nevada Supreme Court.

In challenging AB428 and SB279, SGI proponents Jim Slade and John Garvin said the Nevada Constitution requires government officials to facilitate rather than impede the initiative process -- and the bills would make it tougher on groups such as SGI.

The proposals called for local governments to hold a public meeting where "findings" could be made about merits of an initiative dealing with a local master plan.

Attorney and former lawmaker Patty Cafferata, who represented the SGI group, said such requirements insert local government officials into the initiative process -- where they have no business because it's "the peoples' process."

Carole Thompson of the Douglas County Building Industry Association spoke in favor of AB428, saying it wasn't aimed at shutting down the initiative process and would establish "sensible" guidelines.

But in a later hearing, Thompson said her group was neutral on the similar Senate bill. Advocates for that measure included representatives of the Southern Nevada Homebuilders Association and the Northern Nevada Homebuilders Association. The Nevada Association of Realtors also backed the plan.


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