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Facts about the Nevada Legislature

     

Size and Apportionment of the Nevada Legislature

The Nevada Constitution sets the maximum size of the Legislature at 75 members. It further provides that the Senate may not be less than one-third nor more than one-half the size of the Assembly. The Nevada Legislature, which has the responsibility to establish the number of its members by law, presently has 63 members, 21 in the Senate and 42 in the Assembly.

The Constitution requires the Legislature to adjust the boundaries of the legislative districts following each decennial census. The 2001 Legislature retained 42 Assembly districts, with an average population of 47,578 people (based on the 2000 United States Census). It also retained districts for 21 State Senators. Seventeen of these are single-member districts, which represent an average of 95,155 citizens per district. The remaining four Senators are in two-member districts in Clark County, which represent about 190,310 residents per district. The average legislative district in Nevada increased by 66 percent in population between 1990 and 2000, reflecting Nevada’s rapid growth. The State’s population was about 1.2 million in 1990 and reached nearly 2 million in 2000.

Currently, 14 Senators and 29 Assembly Members represent legislative districts in Clark County, while 4 Senators and 7 Assembly Members serve primarily Washoe County. Three Senators and 6 Assembly Members represent the remainder of the State. (One Assembly district that includes Washoe County also covers portions of rural Nevada, and one Senate district covers central Nevada and a portion of Clark County.)

2011 Reapportionment and Redistricting

The Bureau of the Census of the U.S. Department of Commerce is required to deliver redistricting data from the decennial census in 2010 to the states not later than April 1, 2011. Upon receipt of this data, the 2011 Session of the Nevada Legislature will be required to reapportion and redistrict the election districts for the members of the Legislature, the members of the U.S. House of Representatives from the State of Nevada, the Board of Regents of the University of Nevada, and the State Board of Education.

Sessions

Regular sessions of the Legislature begin the first Monday in February of odd-numbered years. Nevada is one of only four states that have true biennial sessions.

From 1961 through 1997, the length of legislative sessions in Nevada depended upon the time required to process proposed legislation, review the spending proposals of State agencies, and adopt a biennial State budget. Some sessions lasted as long as 169 days. At the 1998 General Election, Nevada voters approved a constitutional amendment limiting future regular biennial sessions to 120 days. The amendment also requires the Governor to submit the Executive Budget to the Legislature two weeks before the start of session.

The Governor may also call the Legislature into a special session. After both houses have organized in special session, the Governor is required by the Nevada Constitution to state the purpose for which they have convened. The Legislature may not enact any bills or joint resolutions pertaining to subjects other than those for which it was convened. The last special session, which was the twenty-sixth in State history, was conducted during the interim period in 2010.

The Legislature Between Sessions

In addition to their ongoing representational duties, members of the Legislature are also involved in committee work between sessions. Members are assigned to various permanent and interim study committees to investigate a wide range of issues and make recommendations to the next session of the Legislature. These committees hold public hearings, direct research, and deliberate on proposed legislation for the next session of the Legislature.

Staff Support

The Legislative Counsel Bureau provides central, nonpartisan staff support for the Legislature through its Fiscal Analysis, Legal, and Research Divisions. It also includes the Audit Division whose job consists of auditing the accounts of State agencies, and an Administrative Division, which provides accounting, security, and various "housekeeping" functions.

The LCB is supervised by the Legislative Commission, a body of 12 legislators, 6 from each house. The Commission meets periodically to take action on behalf of the Legislative Branch of government and provides guidance to the staff of the LCB.

Qualifications of Legislators

To be elected to either house of the Legislature, a person must be at least 21 years of age at the time of the election, a resident of the State for one year, and a qualified elector and resident in the district to be represented.

Terms of Office

All 42 members of the Assembly are elected for 2-year terms at the general election held in even-numbered years. Members of the Senate are elected for 4-year terms, with 10 being elected in one General Election and 11 in the next. Effective for the 2010 General Election, a current or former Assembly or Senate member may not seek election to a house in which he or she has served for 12 years or more.

Compensation

Until 2005, legislators received a salary of $130 per day for the first 60 days of each regular session and the first 20 days of each special session. Since 2005, the salary ($130 per day) has been adjusted by an amount equal to the cumulative increase in the salaries of State employees, per Nevada Revised Statutes 218A.630. (Legislators receive no salary for the remaining 60 days of a regular session.) In addition, a per diem allowance for meals and lodging (consistent with the federal rate set for the Carson City area) is authorized by statute. Legislators receive additional allowances for stationery, postage, travel, and telephone use.

     


For more information see Chapter II of the 2011 Nevada Legislative Manual

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Last updated 4/11/2011


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