CARSON CITY – The Legislature wrangled 959 bills in its 2021 session – 496 in the Assembly and 463 in the Senate – and 74 resolutions, for a total of 1,033 pieces of legislation.
Lawmakers enacted 515 of the bills, sending them on to the governor. So more than half of all legislation died along the way, failing to meet deadlines for action in committee or on the Assembly or Senate floor.
A few lasted all the way to the end, at least on paper – “zombie” bills still technically alive but with little or no chance of being enacted.
A few died in the last two weeks – Assembly Bill 209 would have banned the de-clawing of cats for mere convenience. Of greater moment, Assembly Bill 395, which would have banned capital punishment, got a formal announcement of its demise. Both passed the Assembly but were not taken up by the Senate.
Here are a few for which the bell tolled officially only at final adjournment, or close to it:
For the terminally ill: Assembly Bill 351 would have allowed terminally ill patients to self-administer a life-ending medication. Introduced March 22, it got one hearing on April 9 and was referred out of committee with no recommendation on April 13. Exempted from deadlines, it was sent to the Assembly Ways & Means committee on April 14, and that’s where it stayed for the rest of the session. The measure has been introduced repeatedly in recent years, but has never found enough support among lawmakers.
Student loan policing: Assembly Bill 382 would have regulated student loan servicers and established rights for student borrowers on private loans. Introduced March 23, the bill required a two-thirds majority in both houses to pass. It fell one vote short of that margin in the Assembly on May 28 and saw no further action.
Certifying midwives: Assembly Bill 387 would have established state licensing for midwives. Introduced March 23, it also required a two-thirds majority vote in each house and made the cut in the Assembly on May 28 on a 28-14 vote. Three days later, on the session’s last day, it lost in the Senate by just one vote, 13-8.
Transgender help: Senate Bill 139 would have required Medicaid and private health insurers to cover treatments related to gender dysphoria, a psychological condition suffered by transgender people whose gender identity conflicts with the sex they were assigned at birth. Introduced Feb. 22, it was exempted from deadlines and referred to the Senate Finance committee after passing out of another committee. It went no further.
Keep the lights on: Senate Bill 232 would have required the daytime use of headlights on two-lane highways by most vehicles, including farm equipment and animal-driven vehicles. Introduced March 15, it was exempted from deadlines and passed out of committee on April 6, but referred to the Senate Finance Committee for further consideration. It didn’t get any.
An extra buck: Senate Bill 437 would have raised an administrative fee charged in Justice Court in certain proceedings from $1 to $2. Introduced May 4, it needed a two-thirds majority to pass. It lost in the Senate by two votes on May 19, was reconsidered there the same day and passed 14-7, but died in the Assembly on the last day of session, 26-16.
Policing casino gun bans: Senate Bill 452 would have helped casinos with gun bans enforce their rules by allowing staff to call police on offenders directly, instead of investigating possible violations first. The bill was borne out of another successful gun bill banning so-called ghost guns, which lack serial numbers and can’t be traced. Introduced May 18, SB452 drew unusually broad-based opposition but made it out of committee and squeaked through the Senate on May 26 by one vote, 11-10. It went nowhere in the Assembly.
Redrawing the lines: Finally, Senate Bill 462 was an 11th-hour Republican-sponsored measure to create a reapportionment committee to oversee the redrawing of legislative districts this year based on the latest census. Introduced May 29, it was pretty much dead on arrival, referred to committee and forgotten.