Indy Resource Guide: Participating in the legislative session
Every two years, Nevadans have 120 days to weigh in on state policies and laws as policymakers convene in Carson City for the state’s legislative session.
This year, the Legislature convened on Feb. 6 and will end on June 5. During the session, state lawmakers discuss policy issues, allocate government spending and establish and reform statewide laws touching on criminal justice, elections, health care and more.
Though state representatives cast the votes to approve or change laws, you can play a role in the policy-making process by communicating with them directly about issues or weighing in on bills during hearings.
Use this tool to determine who your legislators are and reach out to them directly. There are also ways to speak your mind during committee meetings or share your opinion from home by submitting comments by phone or in writing. Scroll through this guide to learn how to participate in Nevada’s 82nd legislative session.
- Giving public comment
- Participating online
- Other options
- Additional accommodations
- Important links
Giving Public Comment
You can provide public comment on a bill during its committee hearing. To find out when and where hearings will be held, you can use NELIS, the Legislature’s online bill-tracking system. We provide more information on navigating NELIS below.
Once you’ve determined which committee is hearing your bill and what day and time the hearing will occur, you will have the option to participate in public comment either in person or over the phone.
When giving public comment, remember that committee meetings often do not start on time, comment time can be limited and seating in a committee room is often limited. Though you’ll be allowed to speak about an issue or topic at the beginning or end of a meeting, you will not be allowed to ask questions during a discussion or bill hearing.
As you give public comment, it’s best to be as precise and succinct as possible. Remember to say your first and last name along with the spelling and give any details that could be relevant to your testimony, such as your field of expertise or connection to the issue you are commenting on. It’s also important to note whether you are testifying in opposition or support of a bill or if you are neutral.
For example, if you were commenting on an education measure, you could say:
Hello, my name is Jane Doe, spelled J-A-N-E D-O-E, and I’m a mother of three children attending school in Las Vegas. I’m speaking out today about funding for after-school programs outlined in SB22. I will be testifying in support of the bill. All three of my children participate in after-school programs and without the extra funding outlined in the budget proposal, those programs will shut down. They won’t be able to participate in robotics tournaments or other activities that allow them to use their knowledge outside the classroom.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
If you require any special accommodations in order to testify, contact the secretary of the committee you’re testifying before. We’ve included information for those secretaries below.
Commenting in person
You can give public comment in person at two locations: the Legislative Building in Carson City or the Grant Sawyer State Office Building in Las Vegas. All visitors are welcome in either building but must go through security.
In Carson City, the Legislative Building is located at 401 S. Carson Street. Free parking is available in the parking garage or in the two lots pictured on the map below. If needed, there will be a vehicle circulating the parking lots to provide an enclosed ride to the entrance of the building. If the vehicle is not in sight, you can call (775) 684-6812 to request transport.
All visitors will be required to enter either through the north or west security entrances which involve metal detectors and x-ray machines for bags. Because of construction, the east entrance near the parking garage is closed.
Once you’re in the building, locate the room where the committee hearing is taking place. The room number will be listed online. We’ve included maps below, and they are also available in the building, but don’t be afraid to ask for directions if you can’t find your room!
In Las Vegas, the Grant Sawyer Building is located at 555 E. Washington Avenue. Some legislative meetings will be connected by video to one of the hearing rooms in this building this session. Those meetings are marked on the legislative calendar. Public parking is available in front of the Grant Sawyer Building, and all those who enter will be required to go through security. Once you’re inside, find the hearing room where the hearing is being streamed and take a seat.
Once you’re seated in the room in either Carson City or Las Vegas, it’s time to be patient and wait until your bill comes up. There will be an agenda for the day’s meeting, but bills may or may not be heard in the order they appear on that schedule.
During the hearing for your bill, the chair will leave time for public comment. They will invite public commenters to speak by having those who support the legislation testify first, followed by those who are in opposition and finishing with those speaking in neutral. If you’re speaking, wait for staff to call for your position and then approach the microphone and share your thoughts.
Commenting over the phone
If you want to speak during a committee meeting but can’t make it to either building, you can provide comment over the phone.
To do so, dial the number outlined in the meeting agenda once the public comment portion of the hearing begins. Comments by phone will be taken last, so it’s possible you’ll be on hold for a long time.
Once on the line, you’ll be prompted to provide the meeting ID (this is also included in the agenda) and then press #. When prompted for a participant ID, press #. A member of the Legislative Counsel Bureau staff will prompt you when it is your turn to give public comment by calling out the last four digits of your phone number.
If you’re watching the stream while you call in, be aware that the stream is slightly delayed, so you may be prompted to give comment over the phone before it appears to be your turn on the stream. Always default to the instructions given over the phone.
If you’re busy during the hearing for the bill you want to weigh in on, you can submit your comment online as well. Most online options for participation require you to create a NELIS account, so we suggest setting one up before you continue.
Submitting documents for/against a bill
To submit documents supporting your testimony for or against a bill, you should email those directly to the committee holding the bill’s hearing. Emailing a committee directly is also the best way to submit your opinion online without creating a NELIS account. When submitting documents or comment, include your first and last name, the organization you represent (if applicable), the relevant bill number and your position on that bill.
Email addresses and secretary contacts for each committee are included below:
- Assembly Commerce and Labor: [email protected]. Full committee information and secretary contacts here.
- Assembly Education: [email protected]. Full committee information and secretary contacts here.
- Assembly Government Affairs: [email protected]. Full committee information and secretary contacts here.
- Assembly Growth and Infrastructure: [email protected]. Full committee information and secretary contacts here.
- Assembly Health and Human Services: [email protected]. Full committee information and secretary contacts here.
- Assembly Judiciary: [email protected]. Full committee information and secretary contacts here.
- Assembly Legislative Operations and Elections: [email protected]. Full committee information and secretary contacts here.
- Assembly Natural Resources: [email protected]. Full committee information and secretary contacts here.
- Assembly Revenue: [email protected]. Full committee information and secretary contacts here.
- Assembly Ways and Means: [email protected]. Full committee information and secretary contacts here.
- Senate Commerce and Labor: [email protected]. Full committee information and secretary contacts here.
- Senate Committee of the Whole: [email protected]. Full committee information and secretary contacts here.
- Senate Education: [email protected]. Full committee information and secretary contacts here.
- Senate Finance: [email protected]/ Full committee information and secretary contacts here.
- Senate Government Affairs: [email protected]. Full committee information and secretary contacts here.
- Senate Growth and Infrastructure: [email protected].Full committee information and secretary contacts here.
- Senate Health and Human Services: [email protected]. Full committee information and secretary contacts here.
- Senate Judiciary: [email protected].Full committee information and secretary contacts here.
- Senate Legislative Operations and Elections: [email protected]. Full committee information and secretary contacts here.
- Senate Natural Resources: [email protected]. Full committee information and secretary contacts here.
- Senate Revenue and Economic Development: [email protected]. Full committee information and secretary contacts here.
The Nevada Electronic Legislative Information System (NELIS) will help you find information about bills, committee hearing dates and times, the latest actions by the Senate and Assembly and more. Before using this system, we recommend that you create an account.
After you create an account, head into NELIS to see the daily schedule for the Legislature and any upcoming meetings and committee hearings. There’s a navigation bar with the topics “Legislation,” “Budgets,” “Committees,” “Meetings & Floor Sessions” and “Session Info” you can click on depending on what information you’re looking to find.
Here’s a brief summary of what those topics contain:
- The “Legislation” tab contains links to proposed legislation or petitions in the Assembly and state Senate.
- In “Budgets,” you can find links to the proposed state budgets separated out by department.
- “Committees” allows you to view the meeting schedule, members, staff and bills in discussion of any given committee.
- “Meetings & Floor Sessions” allows you to see the scheduled committee meetings and floor sessions for a given date.
- “Session Info” has links to calendars, the list of all legislators, rules the Legislature must follow and information for press and lobbyists.
Vote Nevada has a visual guide that can walk you through where everything lives on the site.
You can also sign up for Personalized Legislative Tracking to track specific bills on NELIS. The state will allow you to bookmark up to 10 bills or resolutions for free, but there are also paid versions that will allow you to track more.
The Nevada Independent also has a policy and bill tracker you can view here, offering an overview of discussions and goings-on at the statehouse.
For more information about the bills introduced in the Legislature this year, The Indy also has this spreadsheet we use to track the status of legislation throughout the 82nd session. The information in the tracker is intended to be comprehensive, but as staff endeavor to track the progress of hundreds of bills, some information may not be updated immediately and NELIS will always have the most up-to-date information.
Sharing your opinion through NELIS
You can share your opinion on a specific bill using NELIS. To do so, first find the bill you’d like to share your thoughts on in the full list of bills and resolutions. Once you’ve reached the bill page, scroll to the bottom to find the “Public Opinions” section. Click the link in this section to share your opinion online. To use this method, you will select your position, provide your first and last name, address and email address, and include any comments you want to share.
You will also be able to view a graph on this page breaking down how many other opinions shared about this bill were positive, negative or neutral. To view opinions submitted for or against all bills, click here.
Lobbying firms and advocacy organizations set up meetings with legislators throughout the session to discuss bills and policies. Often, they will have constituents join these meetings to help support their cause. A full list of lobbyists and the interests they represent can be found online. You can reach out to any of these individuals to try and get involved in an issue or subject matter area.
Additionally, organizations will host events both inside and outside the building such as breakfasts, rallies and receptions throughout the session. A full calendar of those events is available online.
You can watch floor sessions in person in Carson City from the gallery in both the Senate and Assembly chambers. If you require special accommodations to attend a floor session in the Senate, contact the office of the secretary of the Senate at (775) 684-1440. For the office of the chief clerk of the Assembly, call (775) 684-8555.
If you require a sign language or another other language interpreter or an assistive listening device for a committee hearing or floor session, please contact the appropriate committee secretary, the secretary of the Senate at (775) 684-1440 or the chief clerk of the Assembly at (775) 684-8555, as appropriate, as soon as possible prior to the meeting.
Large print versions of bill text and other publications can also be made available. For bill text, reach out to the appropriate committee. For a copy of any other Legislative Counsel Bureau publications, contact the director of the Legislative Counsel Bureau at [email protected].
The director of the Legislative Counsel Bureau is also the best point of contact if minutes are not available for a meeting and you require a transcript or if you have any other requests for accommodations not addressed above. Requests should be made at least 72 hours in advance, whenever possible.
- For a full calendar of key deadlines, click here.
- A calendar with all the legislative meetings and other scheduled events is available here.
- For the list of proposed bills, click here.
- To search bills and bill language, follow this link.
- A list of all Senate and Assembly members is available here.
- The Nevada Legislature will stream floor sessions and committee hearings on YouTube.
- For information about committees, their members and their meetings, click here.
- For the legislative gift shop and publications, click here.