Dear Constituents and Supporters,
On June 5th, the 79th session of the Nevada Legislature adjourned and over the course of the 120 days, more than 1,150 bills and resolutions were proposed, 609 were signed into law by Governor Sandoval, 41 were vetoed and hundreds made their way through the four committees I served on: Judiciary; Corrections, Parole and Probation (CPP); Commerce and Labor; and Education.
Much of the focus in Education centered around workforce development, career and technical training, higher education, accountability to results, and ensuring the success of the reforms that were put into place in the 2015 session. In Commerce and Labor we dealt with everything from cleaning up insurance regulations and occupational boards to supporting micro-breweries and energy efficiency policies. The business community and the republican delegation rallied successfully to stop proposals that would have been cumbersome and costly to small businesses and taxpayers. Judiciary and Corrections, Parole and Probation were heavy on criminal justice reform that ranged from efforts to reduce recidivism and prison overcrowding to increasing penalties on racketeering and extending the statute of limitations on child abuse. Making public safety a priority while examining effective ways to prepare individuals to reenter society so they do not return to a life of poverty and crime was a constant challenge in arguably the hardest working and toughest issue tackling committees I served on for this session.
To search the list of the bills and learn more about the issues that matter to you, go to: https://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/NELIS/REL/79th2017/Bills/List. Another helpful one stop resource to quickly review this session’s bills and their final fate, compiled by Megan Messerly at the Nevada Independent, can be found at https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1-5PaeaoEle5taNHYEHAzSDLY_Czt02ltJu5UtrEFw5k/edit#gid=0. If you are a podcast fan, Nevada Newsmakers conducted interviews (including mine on May 16th) throughout the session with legislators accompanied by commentary from a rotating panel of pundits.
As I wrap up my freshman session, I am extremely grateful for the privilege of serving Assembly District 25. It is a tremendous responsibility to consider the needs of the 64,000 constituents in our district and the interests of almost 3 million Nevadans across our state. I learned a great deal over the past four months about countless issues, the legislative process and the making of good (and bad) policy.
I am also tremendously thankful that four of my bill proposals made their way into law with unanimous support from both houses.
AB204 was the direct result of a constituent request to make it easier to change your last name to your middle name on a marriage certificate, saving couples from costly and time-consuming court proceedings and publication requirements. Thank you to Rick Russell for bringing this request forward to streamline the process for generations of newlyweds to come.
AB260 has received a lot of coverage since it tackles the demand side of the sex trafficking issue in our state by raising penalties on the buyers of illegal prostitution and directing the funds to prevention and enforcement efforts. Human Trafficking is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world and Nevada had the highest number of calls per capita to the National Human Trafficking Hotline with 26,727 calls in 2016 alone. Special thanks to Marissa Crook, Melissa Holland, Jason Guinasso, the Law Enforcement and Public Health Community, Awaken and other advocacy groups who contributed to and supported this important legislation.
AB362, closes the communication loopholes that have allowed predators to move from one school to the next even while investigations of sexual misconduct are pending. This phenomenon, known as “Passing the Trash”, has been getting national attention as Clark County School District had 12 cases of teacher sexual misconduct in the first quarter of 2017 alone. Meghin Delaney with the Review Journal provided an excellent in-depth analysis of the issue along with coverage of AB362 and the sister effort of Senator Heidi Gansert’s SB287 to address this problem through the “Broken Trust” series. Thanks to the input of all the engaged parties, this legislation has been acknowledged as the model for the United States by SESAME (Stop Educator Sexual Abuse Misconduct and Exploitation) and by the authors of the first law passed in Pennsylvania which AB362 was fashioned after. Particular thanks go to Terri Miller of SESAME, Robert Eglet, a prosecuting attorney on these cases, the Department of Education and the Districts for their contributions to this bill. Countless children will be saved from betrayal, abuse and a lifetime of memories they should never have to face because of this safety net in the most vulnerable of places, our schools. Parents will be able to know districts, principals and school personnel are taking appropriate steps to keep their kids safe.
AB318, my fourth and final bill proposal to make its way into law for the session was amended into AB280 and became a collaborative effort thanks to the sponsor and Jeff Haag with the State Purchasing department. Nevada closes approximately 300 contracts per year, many of which are multi-million dollar and multi-year agreements that could bolster Nevada jobs and generate revenues for the state. In a highly competitive bidding process the decision often comes down to a very narrow margin of difference between two companies of equal caliber and pricing. This bill directs the Purchasing Department to take into consideration the economic connection between the bidder and the State to avoid awarding close bids to out-of-state companies. Thank you to Valerie Glenn, Lt. Governor Mark Hutchison, former Senator Greg Brower, and Steve Hill for the inspiration to pursue this effort to support jobs, our economy and to put Nevada businesses first.
As I reflect on the 79th legislative session, I am continuing to review what was and wasn’t accomplished and what needs to be addressed next. More importantly, I would like to hear from you on the issues you cared about most from this session and for the future. As your voice in the Nevada Assembly, I always strive to represent my constituents’ concerns and issues. Please reach out with your thoughts, questions, and ideas by emailing me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. The input I received from the great men and women in my district was invaluable to the decision making process and I truly appreciated the feedback on the bills that were most important to you.
To stay connected with the issues and happenings in AD25, follow me on twitter @jilltolles and on my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Tolles4Nevada.
It is a tremendous honor and responsibility to represent the 64,000 men, women and children in Assembly District 25. It remains a great privilege to serve in the legislature and I am grateful for your input and support.
Assembly District 25
4790 Caughlin Parkway #180
Reno, NV 89519
Right: At a bill signing with my constituents for AB64 which opens up doors of opportunity through alternative diplomas for students with “abilities” to get jobs, go onto higher levels of learning or serve in the military.
Some additional education successes include:
SB555: adds a one-time, $20 million appropriation to the Opportunity Scholarship program. The bill helps low- and middle-income students attend private schools on scholarship.
SB546: provides $84 million in matching funds for a new engineering building at the University of Nevada at Reno.
AB482: cleans up language within the College and Career Education grants to allow for alignment with Nevada’s workforce needs and to better prepare Nevada’s growing workforce for the jobs of the new Nevada economy.
SB19: expands dual enrollment opportunities for all Nevada students.
SB249: increases financial literacy coursework for grades 3-12 to teach fiscal responsibility to future wage earners.
Below: Thank you to WCSD teacher of the year, Aaron Grossman for bringing in his 6th grade class from our neighborhood Elementary School, Roy Gomm!
Acknowledging constituent, small business owner and longtime family friend, Clint Durocher with Farmers Insurance on the floor. Although this session was defined more by the anti-business bills that were successfully blocked, there were some notable accomplishments for entrepreneurs and emerging industries.
AB280: requires the state to give a 5% bidding preference for purchasing contracts submitted by Nevada-based businesses.
AB405: restores net metering in Nevada, bringing back 1000’s of rooftop solar jobs to our region as we generate power by Nevadans for Nevadans.
AB69: allows for the full implementation of autonomous vehicles in Nevada, and authorizes the use of an autonomous vehicle to provide transportation services by taxicab companies and transportation network companies (Uber, Lyft).
SB126: provides certified small, women-owned, minority-owned, and veteran-owned businesses with access to small loans through the Governor’s Office of Economic Development.
AB436: would require the Secretary of State’s office and other government entities to provide information about access to financing to small businesses.
March was Child Abuse Prevention Month and we planted pinwheels in front of the Nevada Legislature in honor of the mission to protect children in our state. Mark Robison from the Reno Gazette Journal just wrote an article about the most recent case of teacher sexual misconduct in Washoe County and the efforts to fight it through AB362 and SB287.
SB212: expands the “Safe to Tell” program.
AB145: extends the statute of limitations for victims of sexual abuse and child pornography.
SB213: adds additional supervision and protections for students with disabilities.
AB247: allows for the early termination of certain rental agreements by victims of verified harassment, sexual assault or stalking.
AB260: addresses the demand side of sex trafficking by directing increased penalties to be used for enforcement and prevention.
AB243: allows a judge to vacate a judgment for a victim of sex trafficking, allowing them to move on from their past and start a new future.
SB488: makes it a crime to knowingly transport children for the sex trafficking purposes.
Below: Honoring Awaken and Melissa Holland and Jen Robinson for their work to help women get out of the “life” of sex trafficking with a Proclamation on the Assembly Floor.
Honoring Patty Cafferata (right), legacy legislator for Assembly District 25, former Nevada State Treasurer, DA, author and current Communications Director for the Attorney General, Adam Laxalt on the Assembly floor.
Some measures to increase government accountability and efficiency included:
AB471: establishes the Office of Cyber Defense Coordination within the Department ofPublic Safety.
SB160: increases transparency for regulations by requiring agencies to post online andnotice of intended action three days in advance.
AB451: Requires School Board Members to take professional development training on education statutes, open meeting law and financial management.
We did much to honor and protect those who protect us this session. (Left: Nevada Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Ceremony at the Capitol. Below Left: Standing with Chuck Callaway from Metro Police).
SB546: provides funding for a $38 million Northern Nevada veterans’ home.
AB24: codifies Nevada’s tuition benefits for veterans and their families; specifically, instate tuition benefits are expanded to out-of-state Gold Star spouses and children.
AB252: allows peace officers in Nevada to withhold their home address from being printed on their driver’s license or identification card.
SB33: prohibits the foreclosure or lien of a service member while on duty or deployment and for a period of one year following their return from active duty or deployment.
SB326: requires a child care facility to grant priority admission to children of a parent that is, or has, served in the Armed Forces of the United States.
I could not have done it all without the help of my attache, junior legislator, and legal wiz kid, the Amazing Marissa Crook, and my studious, kind and sharp as a tack intern, Tyler Ellis.
The Assembly Republicans were great teammates as we tackled the issues this session. Our Minority Leader, Paul Anderson and the leadership team worked hard to keep us up to date to the very end on the most important decisions before us and the caucus staff, including Eric Roberts, Omar de la Rosa and Ross Hemminger, were a team of professionals working tirelessly on our behalf.
Thank you to all my constituents who gave me feedback and input along the way and thank you all for the continued support!