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Assemblyman Oscarson not worried about pending special session

With a special legislative session poised to occur between Oct. 7 and Oct. 13 to mull over a Las Vegas stadium funding plan, assemblymen and senators will be affected as they are in the midst of their re-election bids.

During that special session and the following 15 days after it concludes, any legislative member up for re-election is prohibited from accepting any campaign donations, according to state laws.

If the special session lasts until the latest possible date of Oct. 13, legislative members will not be able to accept donations until Oct. 28. That is six days after the start of early voting and 11 days before the Nov. 8 General Election takes place.

District 36 Assemblyman James Oscarson, who is running against brothel owner Dennis Hof, explained he’s prepared for the halt in donations and the time the session will take.

“It won’t affect us a bit,” Oscarson said. “We’ll just continue to do what we’re doing. That’s what we’re legislators for, to be called into sessions and special sessions, to look at things that are happening.

“It’s part of the job and that’s what I do.”

A recommendation made by the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee earlier this month will be voted on at the special session, which Gov. Brian Sandoval called for on Sept. 21. The topic at hand will be a proposed $1.9 billion, 65,000-seat domed Las Vegas NFL stadium, that is expected to lure the Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas if approved.

The proposal calls for a Clark County hotel room tax increase of 0.88 percentage points in the casino corridor or 0.5 percentage points in outlying county areas to finance $750 million in stadium construction costs over 33 years. Tourists are set to take up the largest chunk of that proposed tax, in order to raise the $750 million required by the stadium developers and the Raiders.

The other $1.15 billion would be funded by a $650 million contribution by Las Vegas Sands Corporation CEO Sheldon Adelson, and $500 million coming from the Raiders.

Oscarson explained that he has yet to form an opinion on the possible Raiders stadium and the proposed tax plan that goes with it.

“To be honest, I don’t have all the information yet, but I’m looking forward to hearing it,” he said. “I’ll review the materials once they become available ahead of when Gov. Sandoval calls for the special session, then I will make what I think is the best choice for my constituents.”

Again, without seeing all the pieces of information that will be available during the special session, Oscarson couldn’t give an exact time estimate he thought the session will take but he doesn’t see it taking that entire amount of the allotted time.

“I certainly want to take the time and look through it and vet through the process, but I wouldn’t say a week,” he said. “The Legislature will take the time it takes to make sure it’s a good decision.”

A one-day special session would cost around $60,000, plus costs for overtime and printing. Each day thereafter would tack on $25,000. Additional costs could also occur, depending on how many bills would be needed and, if amendments are required, how complex they might be.

Legislators are paid $146.29 per day during a special session. The per diem rate for Carson City is $140 per day, which is intended to cover meals and hotel costs. Costs associated with traveling to and from the session also are covered.

The room tax measure will require a two-thirds vote of the 63 legislators (42 state assemblymen and 21 senators) in order to send the plant to the next step, a vote by the Clark County Commission.

Contact reporter Mick Akers at makers@pvtimes.com. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

The Pahrump Valley Times is owned by Las Vegas Review-Journal Inc., which is owned by the Adelson family.

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