The 2013 session of the Nevada legislature is underway, what will it bring & how will it go?
The first big event to hit the 2013 session was the Nevada Supreme Court's recent ruling on a teachers union petition to create a business tax to fund education. This move by the Supreme Court takes this issue to the forefront of the session. The republicans in the legislature can't be happy that a "union" has gotten this petition this far, especially after attempts to bury and kill it have now failed.
It's no secret that legislative republicans have targeted the teachers union over collective bargaining. Eliminating public employee unions is a GOP hot button issue - (This isn't just a Nevada thing, it's a GOP crusade across the US at the state level).
So the legislature has 40 days to take action on the petition and either pass some form of the bill or vote it down and let it go to the voters. Look for alternative bills to appear that attempts to create some type of education funding. So there will be a mish-mash of alternative ideas, but you can bet, that the bill/petition as written by the teachers union will not be well received by the majority of the legislators, either due to outright ideological thinking (republicans) or fear of business community reprisals democrats).
Now that Nevada has moved another two year period into the era of term limits, the face of the legislature is changing every session, sometimes dramatically. Gone are the days of stalwart politicians (Bill Raggio, Joe Dini, Joe Neal, etc) who had deep knowledge of state affairs, decent working relationships within the legislative body and could lead their caucuses with unity.
With term limits, the revolving door will usher in new faces more often than ever. We have a new untested Assembly speaker (Marilyn Kirkpatrick) & a new leader on the Senate side (Mo Denis). Will they be able to maintain a "team" with their fellow legislators, or will there be a free wheeling my way of the highway mindset?
And lastly, will the contentious feel of the 2011 session (coming off the 2010 elections) remain or will there be more bi-partisan efforts to solve Nevada's issues!??! In the 2010 elections, we saw the rise of the tea party faction play a role in electing rigid uncompromising politicians at the federal and state levels. The 2011 session had some of those uncompromising republicans and it created tension between the parties and even within older GOP ranks.
So far I have the feeling that some former "hard liners", namely Sen. Mike Roberson have eased away from their cut everything at all costs ideology. Roberson has been down right diplomatic in public comments leading up to the 2013 session. So maybe there is hope for a little more across party compromise in 2013.
Final early analysis: The republican caucus won't be as far right as they were in 2011 and the democrat caucus will be similarly centrist as they were in 2011. So based on the early appearances that the GOP faction isn't as hard line as 2011 makes me think there might be some compromise in the 2013 session.............but as always, this remains to be seen!