Nevada Legislature rejects Gov. Gibbons domestic partnership veto |

Nevada Legislature rejects Gov. Gibbons domestic partnership veto

Geoff Dornan / Nevada Appeal

CARSON CITY ” The Nevada Senate voted 14-7 Saturday to override Gov. Jim Gibbons’ veto of the legislation creating domestic partnerships.

SB283 would allow domestic partners to register their relationship with the Secretary of State, gaining some of the rights and privileges of marriage such as inheritance without being married.

Sen. David Parks, D-Las Vegas, authored the measure saying the bill is “about equality and fairness.”

He said it’s not just for same sex relationships, that it’s for opposite sex couples who,

for various reasons, don’t want to get married. Some examples which were raised during debate on the issue were situations in which marriage would eliminate a pension being received by one of the partners.

Parks emphasized the partnership is not the equivalent of marriage “and every legal expert says so.”

He said 18 states already have domestic partnership laws.

Parks was backed by Sen. Dennis Nolan, R-Las Vegas, one of four Republicans to back the veto override. Nolan said he voted against the measure but has since read both the Nevada constitutional provision declaring marriage to be between a man and a woman and SB283.

“SB283, I now believe, in no way undermines the 2002 (marriage) initiative,” he said.

He said it doesn’t say anything about providing through a contract the legal rights and privileges which married couples have.

But Sen. Maurice Washington, R-Sparks, agreed with Gibbons’ veto message that the measure circumvents the constitutional ban on recognizing same sex marriage.

“This bill here is an attempt to go around the will of the people,” he said.

Washington, who is black, denied he is prejudiced saying “I know what prejudice is all about.”

“The sanctity of marriage expresses the character and fabric of a people,” he said.

SB283 was one of four vetoed measures voted on in the Senate and five voted on by the Assembly Saturday. In all cases, the governor’s vetoes were overturned.

The only one where the vote was tight was SB283 which received the bare minimum two-thirds vote in the Senate ” 14-7.

Voting against were Democrats Terry Care and John Lee of Las Vegas. That meant four Republicans had to back the override: Nolan, Dean Rhoads, of Tuscarora, Randolph Townsend, of Reno, and Mike McGinness, of Fallon, joined the majority.

The Senate also voted to override the veto of SB415, the bill funding Public Employee Benefits Program premiums which Gibbons vetoed because lawmakers rejected some of his proposed reductions to those benefits. The vote to override was 21-0.

In addition, Senators voted unanimously to override the veto of SB234, which raises the state fees collected on short term car rentals. And they voted to override the veto of the proposed fuel tax increase in Washoe County contained in SB201. Gibbons vetoed that measure despite the fact the people of Washoe County supported the proposal in an advisory ballot question. He said they didn’t understand what they were voting for.

The Assembly votes to override five more vetoes by Gov. Jim Gibbons brought the total for that house to 13 including the major budget measures.

The five measures in the Assembly included AB458, Speaker Barbara Buckley’s measure creating a rainy day fund to protect public education funding in bad economic times.

“It’s incomprehensible to me the governor would veto this,” she said.

Buckley said Gov. Jim Gibbons’ veto message said it was because the bill didn’t include stabilization funds for other areas of state government.

“That’s because we did that in another bill,” she said. “AB165 creates a stabilization fund for all government accounts.”

The vote was 36-5 with one member absent ” easily beating the 28 votes needed for a two-thirds majority.

In addition, the Assembly voted to override Gibbons on AB25 which contained fee increases for DMV ” 37-4.

They did the same with AB141 which established a recovery fund for people defrauded by mortgage brokers and others in the housing and lending industry ” 37-3.

AB246, which contained new fees to support the creation of an apprentice hunting license for teens, was overridden on a 41-0 vote.

Finally, the Assembly overrode Gibbons’ veto of AB463, which strictly limited the ability of state agencies to hire consultants ” especially former or current state employees. The bill requires the legislative Interim Finance Committee to sign off on any consulting contracts. Again the vote was 41-0.

Both houses must reach a two-thirds majority to override the governor’s veto of any legislation. The Senate overrides now go to the Assembly and the Assembly overrides to the Senate today.

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