Hettrick likes streamlined | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Hettrick likes streamlined

Enforcing a limit on Nevada’s biennial legislative sessions streamlined the legislative process during the 1999 session, according to state Assemblyman Lynn Hettrick.

“It changed the dynamics of the whole session,” he told members of the Tahoe-Douglas Chamber of Commerce during the business organization’s State of the Basin luncheon on Monday.

Legislative business was completed 16 minutes short of the 120-day deadline, Hettrick said.

Previous sessions have gone weeks beyond that and accomplished less.

Along with a strict ending, all bills had to be introduced during the first 43 days of the session and out of committee by the 68th day.

That ensured the legislature opened ready to work. Previously, the first 30 days were slow and bills could be introduced to the last couple days, he said.

Having an end-date also secured public notices were made before hearings. Without a deadline, the legislature had previously suspended rules, including three-day public notices, to allow quick review of new bills.

The streamlining cost the state less and was more productive than previous sessions.

Last year, the state spent $15.5 million to run the session. This year it cost $13 million even though 8 percent more bills were introduced. A total of 650 bills were passed or 51 percent of those introduced.

Another innovation this year was the use of live audio feeds over the Internet of committee and general sessions. Many representatives also had laptop connections during the sessions.

“People would e-mail me while they were listening to a hearing that I was in and ask why their question was not being asked,” Hettrick said.

Among the legislatures accomplishments”

– Restructuring of electric utility deregulation provides better protection for small consumers, he said. The new bill allows small electricity buyers to buy as a group to get better prices.

– With Nevada’ state operated workman’s compensation insurance “about to go bust” under the weight of a $2 billion debt, the 1999 legislature privatized the program.

– Students struggling with the state’s new mandatory high school competency exam will have $9 million-worth of remedial programs to help.

Hettrick called the test easy and said that students who could not pass were not prepared to make their way in the world.

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