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January 03, 2007



New Hampshire convened on December 6 to do it's thing (Elect a couple of state officers).

Karl Kurtz

After posting this item, I received an e-mail message from Lorne Malkiewich, director of Nevada's Legislative Counsel Bureau, explaining that Nevada's February starting date was the result of a 1997 constitutional amendment limiting the session to 120 days. Lorne explains as follows:

"The argument against the 120-day limit was that we couldn’t finish a biennial budget that quickly (I know, other states do it much more quickly, but we had gotten used to sessions that extended more that 160 days, with budgets being completed at the end of session). To address this, Senator Raggio, the proponent of the change, suggested a requirement that the budget be submitted 2 weeks before the start of session. The Ways and Means and Finance committees could meet jointly for those 2 weeks to receive an overview of the budget. When session began, they’d be familiar with the budget and ready to review it in detail. If we left the starting date as the third Monday in January, this would have required the Governor to submit the budget by the beginning of January, almost an impossibility for a new Governor, who doesn’t even take office until the first Monday of January (which would have been the date the budget was due). By moving back the start of session to the first Monday in February, the Governor would have roughly the same amount of time to submit the budget as in the past: the budget was traditionally delivered the first week of session before this change, and two weeks before early February coincides with this timeframe. Even with the later start, a 120-day session would end in very early June, a full month earlier than the past several sessions. Since adoption of this change we have followed the same pattern: the Governor delivers the budget the third or fourth Monday of January (the fourth if it is a 5-Monday month, as is the case this year), he gives his State of the State address that day, and the money committees spend the next two weeks reviewing the budget (though the number and length of these meetings has decreased). Two weeks later, session begins, on the first Monday of February.

"In a nutshell, when we went to a 120-day session, we also required the Governor to submit the budget 2 weeks before the start of session. To give the Governor enough time to complete the budget, we moved back the start of session to early February. The result is that the budget is due roughly at the same time that it was in the past."

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