Lombardo Veto Tracker: Governor sets new record with 75 vetoes
Editor’s note: This story was updated on Wednesday, June 21, 2023, at 1:28 p.m. to include the complete list of vetoed bills and summaries of veto messages issued by Gov. Joe Lombardo.
Gov. Joe Lombardo has set a new record for the most vetoes issued in a single legislative session, with the first-term Republican rejecting 75 bills passed by the Democrat-controlled Legislature.
That includes 43 vetoes issued Friday, the final day for Lombardo to sign or veto any bills passed during the regular legislative session before they would automatically become law at midnight.
Bills scuttled by Lombardo late Friday — the end of a constitutional 10-day window for the governor to sign or veto legislation — include a raft of housing bills that would have added new tenant protections and overhauled the state’s summary eviction procedures and a bill that would have continued funding universal free school breakfast and lunches at K-12 schools.
The governor also vetoed a bill that would have allowed higher education employees to collectively bargain under state law and another piece of legislation that would have provided state-funded health care coverage to pregnant people who don’t qualify for Medicaid because of their immigration status.
“This session, Democrats passed legislation that raised taxes, eroded constitutional rights, and expanded bureaucracy, among countless other examples of government overreach,” Lombardo said in a Friday afternoon statement. “Nevadans elected me to protect and serve our state – which includes protecting Nevadans from harmful and dangerous legislation.
Lombardo’s Chief of Staff Ben Kieckhefer told The Nevada Independent Friday night that the number of vetoes reflect Lombardo’s willingness to “hold the line” against policies he believed would violate constitutional rights, get in the way of business or expand government into places it should not be.
Lombardo’s 75 vetoes far outpace previous single-session veto totals by dozens, and place him second all-time in total vetoes, only behind the state’s last Republican governor, Brian Sandoval, who vetoed 97 bills across eight years in office.
Three of the vetoed 75 bills were resurrected via amendments on other pieces of legislation. One took place during the regular legislative session and the other two bills were attached as amendments to the Oakland A’s stadium bill approved in a special legislative session.
This is a developing story, and will be updated in the coming days with additional details about bills Lombardo vetoed. The governor’s office has posted a list of vetoes here, while the Legislature maintains an online list of vetoes here — though neither were fully up to date as of Friday at 7:00 p.m.
Click here to see a summary of the latest measures that have been vetoed.
The vetoes issued Friday alone exceed the 41 vetoes issued by Sandoval after the 2017 legislative session, and fall just five short of the previous single-session veto record, 48, set by Gov. Jim Gibbons in 2009. Those similarly came during times of split government, with Democrats in control of the Legislature, and a Republican in the governor’s office.
Alongside the personal record years from Sandoval and Gibbons, the only other session that saw a governor veto more than 30 bills was the state’s first legislative session in 1864, which saw Gov. H.G. Blasdel veto 32 measures. Overall, Sandoval holds the highest veto record for any Nevada governor, having vetoed 97 bills during his eight years in office, besting the previous record of 59 held by Gibbons.
Since 1899, only two governors have ended a legislative session without vetoing a bill — Democratic Gov. Mike O’Callaghan in 1975 and Republican Gov. Kenny Guinn in 2003.
Once a governor vetoes a measure, the bill returns to the Senate or Assembly, depending on whichever house first sponsored it. Members of the house have to vote by a two-thirds majority to override the veto or the veto remains. The bill then needs to receive a two-thirds majority in the other house to complete the veto override.
Though Democratic lawmakers in the Assembly held a two-thirds majority during the most recent legislative session and could override a veto, Senate Democrats held 13 of 21 seats and needed to convince at least one Republican to join them if they hoped to overturn the governor’s veto.
Veto overrides are relatively rare. Outside of Gibbons, who had 25 vetoes overridden, no Nevada governor has had more than three vetoes overridden during their time in office. Neither of the state’s last two governors — Sandoval and Gov. Steve Sisolak — have had a veto overridden.
The 43 bills Lombardo vetoed after the session will not be transmitted back to the Legislature until the next regularly scheduled legislative session, set to begin in 2025. Only at that time will lawmakers have the opportunity to attempt to override any of those vetoes.
Here’s a brief look at all of the bills Lombardo has vetoed.
Click here for a spreadsheet containing all vetoes.
JUNE 16 VETOES
Tenant protections and an eviction diversion program
SB335, sponsored by Sen. James Ohrenschall (D-Las Vegas), would have protected tenants who had pending rental assistance applications from being evicted and also established a formal eviction diversion program within Nevada’s court system.
The measure passed out of the Senate and Assembly on party-line votes, with Republicans in opposition.
“SB335 would create onerous burdens in Nevada's residential renting market by requiring even more hurdles for a landlord to evict a non-compliant tenant by establishing a judicial diversion program for such tenants,” Lombardo said in his veto message released Tuesday.
The Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada, which provides eviction self-help programs, legal services and renter advice, panned the veto of SB335 and other housing bills as likely to contribute to the state’s housing crisis.
“Governor Lombardo’s misguided vetoes … will lead to thousands of newly homeless Nevadans,” the statement read.
Adjusting Nevada’s summary eviction process
Nevada’s unique rapid summary eviction process requires a tenant to make the first filing in an eviction case, not the landlord.
The bill passed out of the Assembly and Senate along party-line votes, with Democrats in support.
In his veto message, Lombardo criticized the measure for imposing “additional and unnecessary delays and costs on those seeking to remove individuals who unlawfully remain on their property after the termination of their lease.”
“This bill would make our summary eviction process more time-consuming than our peer states and would create ambiguous threshold standards which could be ruled upon by a judge without any formal hearing, providing insufficient protections for Nevada property owners,” Lombardo wrote.
On Tuesday, the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada said the bill created “basic fairness in our summary eviction process” and argued Lombardo’s veto will make thousands of Nevadans homeless — particularly seniors and people with disabilities.
The measure would have provided for a grace period of at least three days before a landlord could charge a tenant late fees, specified that a landlord could only charge an application fee to one prospective tenant at a time and prohibit increases in fees without advance notice.
The bill passed out of the Senate on a 14-7 vote with one Republican, Sen. Scott Hammond (R-Las Vegas), joining Democrats in support. It passed out of the Assembly on a party-line 28-14 vote with Democrats in support.
Lombardo wrote in his veto message that SB78 was “partially well-intended” but said it would “only serve to exacerbate an already challenging period” for renting families.
“This bill would make wide-ranging changes to accounting practices, traditional fee collection, certain disclosures, and various notice requirements with which lessors in new agreements would be immediately forced to comply at the risk of sustaining penalties,” Lombardo’s message read.
The Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada criticized Lombardo for vetoing the bill.
“SB78 would have provided consumer protections to renters such as banning a landlord from accepting multiple application fees for an apartment when the unit is already in line to be rented by another tenant and stopping landlords from charging families an application fee for each child in the home,” their statement read.
Rental fee transparency
AB218, sponsored by Assemblywoman Venicia Considine (D-Las Vegas), would have increased the transparency of rental fees and prohibited fees associated with paying rent through an online payment system.
The bill also would have required landlords to, in any reference to the amount of rent due in a lease agreement, list the amount as a single figure, accounting for all fixed costs associated with monthly payments. A landlord who does not comply with the provisions could be guilty of a deceptive trade practice.
The measure passed out of the Assembly on party-line votes, with Republicans in opposition.
In his veto message, Lombardo said he could not support AB218 because it “would needlessly increase the difficulties associated with renting residential properties” and create an unintended incentive for tenants to not agree to amend existing rental agreements to comply with the law and instead pursue legal action against a landlord.
“Existing leases must have been considered in this legislation for it to be remotely sensical,” Lombardo wrote.
Clarity on rent control implementation
Sponsored by Sen. Edgar Flores (D-Las Vegas), SB371 would have addressed a lack of clarity in state law about which jurisdictions have the authority to implement rent control and answered a decades-long debate about addressing affordable housing measures.
The bill would have authorized a board of county commissioners and a governing body of an incorporated city, except as expressly prohibited by statute, to enact any ordinance or measure relating to affordable housing, such as rent control.
Though Flores clarified in hearings that the bill does not specifically implement rent control — it only gives local governments the power to adopt rent control if they choose to — most of the testimony in opposition focused on rent control.
The bill passed out of the Senate (12-9) and Assembly (26-14) on nearly party-line votes, with Sen. Skip Daly (D-Reno) joining Republicans in opposition.
Lombardo in his veto message highlighted Nevada’s position as a Dillon’s Rule state — meaning that local government authority is limited expressly to powers granted by the Nevada Constitution or Legislature — and said the bill’s “excessive broadness” creates the type of uncertainty that the Nevada Supreme Court has determined conflicts with Dillon’s Rule, adding that would inevitably leave the bill “exposed to constant legal challenges.”
Rent caps for those living in mobile homes
SB275, sponsored by Sen. Skip Daly (D-Sparks), would have provided rent caps for those living in mobile homes.
The bill — which would have allowed a maximum 60 percent increase on rent annually for those living in mobile homes — passed out of the Legislature on party-line votes with Democrats in support.
In his veto message, Lombardo criticized the bill for implementing a form of rent control.
“As has been noted when similar rent control policies have been implemented elsewhere, this would likely lead to housing shortages, reduced property maintenance, and potentially reduced property tax revenue for local governments,” Lombardo wrote.
Tracking and limiting corporate homebuyers
SB395, sponsored by Sen. Dina Neal (D-North Las Vegas), would have prohibited corporations, limited-liability companies and any affiliates from purchasing more than 1,000 residential properties in a year. Any such companies buying homes would have been required to register with the state and potentially pay a registration fee through a new registry maintained by the secretary of state’s office to track corporate homebuyers.
The bill came in response to a trend of private equity-backed real estate companies purchasing thousands of homes over the past decade.
The bill received support from all Democratic lawmakers and just one legislative Republican, Sen. Ira Hansen (R-Sparks), who expressed concerns about the potential of Chinese companies buying Nevada properties.
Lombardo in his veto message described the 1,000 properties limit as arbitrary, and said the bill would worsen the availability of residential units in the state.
“[The bill] would remove millions of dollars in commerce tax revenue from businesses engaged in the sale of real estate, detrimentally affect blue-collar trades by decreasing demand for new construction, and chill interest from Nevadan lessors during a period when renters are in desperate need of greater residential availability,” he said.
Finance reporting for inaugural committees
SB60, a bill from the secretary of state’s office that passed out of both houses along party lines, was gutted and replaced on the final day of the legislative session to instead require state constitutional officers’ “inaugural committees” report financial contributions and expenditures, similar to what is required for political committees.
The overhauled bill arrived in response to reporting from The Nevada Independent finding that Lombardo created a nonprofit organization called “Nevada Inaugural Committee” to run events and fundraise for his inaugural balls rather than register the entity as a political action committee (PAC). Lombardo’s chosen arrangement means the committee is not required to disclose as much about its donors, and it is a departure from how previous governors registered their inaugural committees as PACs.
Though the measure applies to all constitutional officers elected through a statewide vote, including attorney general and treasurer, Lombardo wrote in his veto statement that he was rejecting the bill because it was too narrowly tailored.
“Increasing fairness and transparency in government and elections is an important goal,” Lombardo wrote. “That said, if transparency is truly a priority for the Legislature, it should pass legislation requiring disclosure of activities beyond a single office.”
Expanding ballot languages
AB246, sponsored by Assemblywoman Selena Torres (D-Las Vegas), would have expanded access to election materials by requiring counties to provide ballots in non-English languages if there are at least 5,000 qualified voters from a minority group of limited-English proficiency in that county.
Under the new thresholds — lower than those in federal law — the bill would have required Clark County to provide ballots in Chinese in future elections.
It passed on largely party-line votes, with Democrats and two Republican senators in support.
In his veto message, Lombardo said that it “is critical that individuals are not intimidated by a language barrier on election day” but said he cannot support the bill because existing federal and state laws “sufficiently accomplish the goal of ensuring language accessibility.” He noted that county and city clerks already have the authority to add languages as they see fit.
State employee retirement contributions
AB498, a Democrat-backed bill, would have trimmed in half state employees' share of retirement contributions through the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS), while increasing employers' share of contributions.
The veto triggers a provision of the state worker pay bill AB522 that will grant state workers an additional 7 percent raise in the fiscal year starting July 2024.
That adjustment had been dependent on the failure of AB498, and it adds to what had already been the largest raises approved for state workers in decades, including raises ranging from 10 percent to 13 percent in the upcoming fiscal year beginning July 2023, and 4 percent raises (plus the 7 percent triggered by the veto) in the following fiscal year starting July 2024.
Democratic lawmakers backed the retirement contribution change as a way to increase take-home pay because state workers make hefty contributions, typically higher than private company retirement plans, to support the state pension system. However, Lombardo opted to stick with traditional salary raises as the mechanism to do that.
In his veto message, Lombardo called the bill a “dramatic departure” from current law and said the proposed change would create an unknown and “potentially unsustainable” increase in the state’s share of PERS payments, which could necessitate future budget cuts down the line.
He also pointed directly to the additional 7 percent increase included in the state worker pay bill (AB522), arguing those increases — coupled with the rest of the many boosts given to state workers this session — “will go a long way in making state employee compensation competitive with local governments and the private sector.”
Continued funding universal free school breakfast and lunch
AB319, sponsored by Assemblywoman Sandra Jauregui (D-Las Vegas), would have extended a COVID-era decision by lawmakers to fund universal free school lunches statewide at K-12 schools.
Originally funded in 2022 by federal American Rescue Plan (ARP) dollars, the bill would have used a mix of remaining federal money and $43 million in new state dollars to continue the program through the next two years.
Republicans opposed the measure in a party-line vote in the Assembly, but three Republicans joined Democrats to pass the bill in the Senate.
In his veto message, Lombardo said it was important to ensure that students have proper nutrition, but he was concerned the policy could lead to an increase of food waste. He also said with federal pandemic funding drying up, it was time to get back to the “normalcy of pre-pandemic operations.”
Collective bargaining for higher ed employees
AB224, sponsored by Assemblywoman Sarah Peters (D-Reno) and backed by the Nevada Faculty Alliance, would have effectively placed professional employees at the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) under a 2019 law allowing state workers to collectively bargain.
Those higher education workers are the only state workers currently excluded from the law under separate bargaining language maintained by the Board of Regents, which governs higher education. The measure — which marks the third attempt by faculty to secure bargaining rights under state law — saw some Republican support in the Assembly, but none in the Senate.
In his veto message, Lombardo pointed to the existing ability of faculty to collectively bargain under the authority of the Board of Regents and, pointing to the status of the regents in the state constitution, said the board should be given “deference” on bargaining policies and procedures.
State-funded health care bill for undocumented pregnant women
Lombardo vetoed SB419, which would have provided state-funded health care coverage to uninsured pregnant people who don’t qualify for Medicaid, regardless of their immigration status.
The bill, also known as the Health Opportunities, Planning, and Expansion (HOPE) Act, would have appropriated $1.7 million over the next biennium to the Division of Health Care Financing and Policy to provide the prenatal, labor and delivery coverage under Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which provides low-cost health coverage to people not eligible for Medicaid.
In a veto message, Lombardo explained that there were several bills this legislative session that aimed to expand Medicaid services but none included funding to cover the administrative costs for the Division of Health Care Financing and Policy (DHCP) to implement them.
“Given the number of approved projects currently assigned to DHCP along with staff turnover and vacancies within the Division, there are insufficient resources to implement this new service this biennium,” Lombardo wrote. “Since this bill would add to an already overworked staff, I cannot support it.”
Bill sponsor Sen. Fabian Doñate (D-Las Vegas) initially proposed to expand Medicaid coverage to all undocumented people in Nevada, potentially adding tens of thousands of people to the state’s Medicaid rolls, but SB419 was scaled back through the legislative process to just allocate funds to CHIP for extended care.
According to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation report, several states have made the move to provide prenatal care to people regardless of immigration status by extending CHIP coverage to the unborn child. There’s also a growing number of states that have expanded fully state-funded coverage to certain low-income people regardless of immigration status.
At the federal level, some members of Congress have proposed legislation that would expand eligibility for health coverage for undocumented immigrants, but there’s no clear path to passage with Republicans in control of the House.
During one of the bill’s early hearings, a presentation by the Nevada Hospital Association showed that the state’s 19 largest hospitals have about $1.26 billion in unreimbursed care each year from patients unable to pay their medical bills — including those under Medicaid and Medicare, and those who are uninsured, underinsured or undocumented.
“Although our efforts have fallen short at the Governor's Office, the passage of the Nevada HOPE Act was a historic bipartisan campaign that placed working immigrant families at the forefront of our political landscape,” Doñate said in a statement Saturday. “For years, families like my own have been denied access to health services simply due to their immigration and citizenship status, and today, we are farther along in solving that injustice than ever before.”
Banning some “forever chemicals”
SB76, a bill sponsored by Sen. Dina Neal (D-North Las Vegas), would have banned the sale of certain products containing PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) or “forever chemicals,” including carpets, food packages and cosmetics.
Those chemicals do not break down in the environment, and have been linked to certain cancers and developmental issues in children.
Though the bill passed with bipartisan support out of the Assembly and Senate, Lombardo wrote in his veto message that the measure “aims to accomplish too much too soon.”
He noted that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is preparing regulatory considerations for the chemicals that will apply to all states. He said Nevada should wait for the EPA’s determination, which would help “avoid unnecessary burdens for doing business in Nevada.”
“At this juncture, it is more prudent to await federal guidance on this matter before placing a substantially increased regulatory burden on manufacturers and retailers across the State,” Lombardo wrote.
Public-private partnerships for higher ed
AB74, brought by the Assembly Committee on Education, would have allowed the Board of Regents to enter into public-private partnerships in order to “promote and enhance student life or an educational program at an institution within the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE).”
The measure was also amended to require prevailing wage requirements as part of those agreements, a provision that would prevent colleges and universities from using the language to circumvent prevailing wage requirements on other public construction projects. The prevailing wage is an average wage paid to a majority of similarly employed workers in a specific occupation in the same area, typically aligning with wages and benefits paid to workers of a particular union.
It all comes as higher education leaders have sought to broaden the scope of potential public-private deals — and as a means to clean up the legality of such deals, after a partnership to build the UNLV Medical School Building was criticized early this year in a legislative audit.
The bill passed out of the Assembly with a unanimous vote and received a party-line (13-7) vote in the Senate.
In his veto message, Lombardo echoed criticism of a number of other prevailing wage-related bills that he also vetoed, calling the expansion in this case “burdensome.”
Automated criminal record sealing
AB160, sponsored by Assemblyman C.H. Miller (D-North Las Vegas), would have adopted procedures to automatically seal criminal records for anyone who is eligible.
Though the bill had support from Democrats in the Assembly and Senate, Republicans in both houses voted against the bill.
In his veto message, Lombardo said it would “increase the likelihood that offenders would have their records sealed even if they shouldn’t be.” He said waiting periods for criminal record sealing were drastically shortened in 2019 to the detriment of prosecutors’ offices, who had to review the petitions to seal and flag any they believed should not be sealed. He said this bill would further increase the workload of these offices.
“This bill would require the Department of Public Safety to provide an auto-generated list containing the names of anyone convicted of a misdemeanor or certain felony drug offenses,” Lombardo wrote.
He also said he could not support removing the requirement that a hearing be conducted if the prosecuting office does not stipulate to the record-sealing, “effectively making any opportunity to object to sealing functionally meaningless.”
Collective bargaining reports for school districts
Sponsored by Assemblywoman Natha Anderson (D-Sparks), AB172 would have required school districts to provide unions recognized by the district with the name, address, email address, telephone number and work contact information for each employee in a collective bargaining unit at least on a semiannual basis, unless the district and union agreed otherwise.
Under the proposed measure, employees could request the school district not provide their information and contact details to the union.
In his veto message, Lombardo raised concerns that the bill could “place certain employees on uneven footing with their counterparts” and didn’t think it did enough to address possible privacy issues.
Oversight for children’s behavioral health
Under AB201, sponsored by the Assembly Committee on Health and Human Services, the state Department of Health and Human Services would have been required to provide oversight and make recommendations for improving the children’s behavioral health system of care.
The measure would have also added new members to the Commission on Behavioral Health’s subcommittee on the mental health of children and required a mental health consortium to submit certain documents to the state.
It also called for a study of the feasibility and formulation of a comprehensive state plan to provide behavioral health services and would have clarified the authority of the State Board of Health to require the licensing of certain behavioral health facilities, among other changes.
The measure passed out of the Assembly on a 30-12 vote and out of the Senate in a party-line 13-8 vote.
In his veto message, Lombardo argued the bill would add a large amount of work to the Department of Health and Human Services without either funding that work or providing evidence that the new requirements could reliably lower costs.
“Providing a report of projected savings that may occur with recommendations to spend dollars that will certainly occur only results in additional spending without assurances that savings to cover those additional costs will materialize,” he wrote.
Banning hand-counting ballots
AB242 would have mandated that all ballots be counted with a mechanical voting system. Ballots would have also been required to be cast, registered and recorded by machines. All 17 Nevada counties use mechanical voting systems for at least some of their election processes, though the bill came in large part as a response to Nye County election officials’ efforts last year to count ballots by hand instead. Critics have pointed to studies showing that hand counting ballots is more error prone and time-consuming than mechanical counting.
An original version of the bill would have eliminated the use of paper ballots for in-person voting, but that proposal was removed amid strong opposition from Republican lawmakers.
The bill was passed by the Assembly along partisan lines in late April and the Senate passed the bill in late May with bipartisan support — only four Republican senators voted in opposition.
In his veto message, Lombardo said “the bill's prohibition against any hand-counting of ballots is an impermissible transgression upon the right and, indeed, duty, of duly elected county officials to ensure their vote-counting procedures are best aligned with the needs of their electorate.”
Tweaking interim structure of Legislature
AB243, a bill that passed out of the Senate 12-9 on the final day of the session with Sen. Dina Neal (D-North Las Vegas) joining Republicans in opposition, proposed a raft of changes to the Legislature’s interim structure, including applying common-law principles of parliamentary law to interim committees, moving up the authorized start date for interim committees and renaming several committees.
Lombardo in his veto message said “since there is broad disagreement amongst legislators over management of their own branch of government, this change is inappropriate at this time.”
Keeping donor information confidential
Under AB258, a governmental entity would have been required to keep any records identifying a person as a donor, member or volunteer for a nonprofit organization confidential.
Anyone alleging that a governmental entity violated the law could bring a civil action to obtain relief and damages of no less than $2,500 for a violation and $7,500 for an intentional violation.
The bill passed out of the Assembly on a 34-8 vote and on a 16-5 vote in the Senate, with some Republicans in opposition.
In his veto message, Lombardo wrote that the bill had an “admirable goal” to keep the type of information outlined in the bill confidential, but that it “goes too far in attempting to ensure this end is accomplished.”
He called the fines within the bill “problematic” and said “there is not necessarily any rational relation between the ‘damages’ mandated in the bill and the harm suffered by the complainant.”
“Since this bill stipulates arbitrary damages awards and allows virtually anybody to pursue a claim under its provisions, I cannot support it,” Lombardo wrote.
Establishing requirements for senior living centers
AB281, sponsored by Assemblywoman Michelle Gorelow (D-Las Vegas), would have required administrators of senior living centers to ensure that facilities are equipped with functional ventilation systems, established requirements governing the detection of carbon dioxide and established requirements for assessing repairs, upgrades or installation to heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems at senior living facilities.
The bill would have also required certain personnel to complete and review ventilation system assessment reports and administrators to prepare reports on the work performed on the ventilation system. Under the proposed law, those reports would have been publicly available.
The bill passed out of the Senate and Assembly on party-line votes, with Republicans in opposition.
Lombardo wrote in his veto message that ensuring senior living facilities have good indoor air quality, functioning heating and ventilation systems was “important,” but nothing prohibits that work from being done in the bill’s absence.
“The Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health (‘DPBH’) can currently grant federal funding available for this work to the operators of these facilities,” Lombardo wrote. “Having the bill sunset when federal funding is no longer available recognizes the unsustainability of this language.”
The federal funding came from pandemic-era federal relief packages, with funds from those programs largely set to run out by the end of next year.
He also criticized the measure for requiring that only certain categories of trained personnel could complete the work and said the bill does not give sufficient time to review any changes and determine their potential impact on the operators.
Female apprentices for public works
AB305 would have required at least 2 percent of the hours of labor in a public works department be completed by women apprentices. This bill, sponsored by Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno (D-North Las Vegas), was an effort to get more public works departments to seek women applicants and make these jobs more accessible to women.
The bill had bipartisan support in the Assembly and Senate.
In his veto message, Lombardo called the measure “well intended” but said it was “impracticable'' given that there are fewer than 250 female apprentices statewide and many essential trades have no female apprentices enrolled.
“After reviewing the benchmarks provided in this bill, it would be nearly impossible to reach … the provided employment targets,” Lombardo wrote. “Nevada should not be in the business of creating laws with which compliance is virtually impossible.”
Licensing kratom products
AB322, sponsored by Assemblyman Duy Nguyen (D-Las Vegas), would prohibit the sale of any product or food containing kratom — an herbal substance that can produce opioid- and stimulant-like effects — unless the product is registered with the Division of Public and Behavioral Health. Anyone who violates that restriction could face administrative fines up to $500 and $1,000 for second or subsequent offenses.
In his veto message, Lombardo called the bill well intended, but noted there was no approved use of kratom by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
“Though an outright ban on this readily available product would be appropriate, that is not what this legislation does,” Lombardo wrote. “Instead, it creates a regulatory structure for this product, suggesting that the state approves of its use. I cannot support that suggestion.”
Car insurance inspections
Sponsored by Assemblywoman Tracy Brown-May (D-Las Vegas), AB334 would have set up a standard timeline for insurers to follow on the inspection and repair of motor vehicles.
The bill passed out of the Assembly on a 30-10 vote and out of the Senate on a 13-7 vote, with Republicans in opposition.
In his veto message, Lombardo called the measure a “one-size-fits-all” attempt to expedite the repair process timeline for cars that has the potential to “create unintended consequences” and would likely “exacerbate” problems rather than resolve them.
“At its most basic, the inspection process timeline established by AB334 conflicts with and undermines the claims resolution process and would make Nevada's among the most restrictive timelines in the nation,” Lombardo wrote.
Uniform Parentage Act
The bill would have replaced existing provisions governing parentage and parent-child relationships with language modeled after the Uniform Parentage Act, including definitions, terms of voluntary acknowledgment and provisions on genetic testing, assisted reproduction and surrogacy.
The bill passed out of the Senate and Assembly along party-line votes with Republicans opposed.
In his veto message, Lombardo wrote that though the bill has an “admirable goal of streamlining certain decisions related to parentage,” it would codify a set of laws that have only been implemented in a “significant minority of states.”
“The changes contained in this bill would inevitably hamstring judges in making certain case-by-case determinations related to parentage,” Lombardo wrote. “Which, by their very nature, will likely be more focused on finding the best solution possible for the family or families before their court.”
AB383 — or the Right to Reproductive Health Care Act — was sponsored by Assemblywomen Selena Torres (D-Las Vegas) and would have guaranteed access to contraception and prevented the state from enacting any law that burdens access to reproductive health care.
The bill passed in the Assembly along party lines and in the Senate with limited Republican support, and came amid concerns that contraception is the next target as court decisions and state laws elsewhere restrict reproductive health care.
In his veto message, Lombardo said that the bill “would effectively place any control over decisions related to reproductive care, financing, and education in the hands of today's state policy-makers instead of tomorrow's local officials.”
Because of that, he said the bill “would unnecessarily restrict local officials’ autonomy” and likely lead to litigation.
But backers of the bill said that access to contraception is a widely supported issue among all voters. In a statement following the veto, the political advocacy group Americans for Contraception released a statement saying that the veto was a “blatant disregard for the will and well being of Nevada’s residents.”
Limiting health care provider fees for Family and Medical Leave Act forms
AB437, sponsored by the Assembly Committee on Commerce and Labor and passed on party lines in the Assembly and with some Republican support in the Senate, would have limited the fees health care providers could charge for filling out forms that patients need to submit to their employers to take a leave of absence under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993.
Providers would have been limited to a $25 charge if they had not, in the last three years, treated or examined the patient who was making a leave of absence request. Providers would have been required to fill out the forms for free if they had treated the patient in the past three years.
Lombardo in his veto message said the bill “is aimed at the admirable goal of ensuring inexpensive access to certain care,” but that it “is an unreasonable transgression into standard business activity,” and that costs for the services are better determined by individual providers than the Legislature.
Non-binding arbitration provisions within insurance contracts
AB439, sponsored by the Assembly Committee on Commerce and Labor, would have made it so that provisions for arbitration in various types of insurance contracts are not binding, covering a wide variety of contracts including health insurance, group health insurance, health benefits plans and contracts for medical services coverage by various health care organizations.
The law would not have applied to a contract between a plan sponsor and a hospital or a provider of health care. A section of the bill would have also eliminated provisions of the Nevada Insurance Code to remove requirements related to arbitration provisions in certain contracts for insurance.
The bill passed unanimously out of the Assembly and on a 14-6 vote out of the Senate with Sen. Lisa Krasner (R-Reno) joining Democrats in support of the measure.
Lombardo said in his veto message the bill would stand “in contrast to existing court precedent regarding arbitration agreements,” namely that the U.S. Supreme Court has held “that state rules that burden the formation of arbitration agreements stand as an obstacle” to the Federal Arbitration Act, meant to streamline litigation processes.
Changes to how the state budget is prepared
AB527, a bill brought by the Assembly Ways and Means Committee, would have required the governor in preparing the executive budget to include the judicial and legislative branches’ budgets in conjunction with the executive budget when calculating the minimum 5 percent and maximum 10 percent reserve.
The bill gained support from both sides of the aisle in the Senate but was only approved by Democrats in the Assembly.
In his veto message, Lombardo criticized the bill for limiting the state’s “flexibility” in times of economic uncertainty, arguing it could potentially require cuts in the executive branch in the case of a large biennial increase to the legislative branch budget.
Requiring certain cities and counties to create growth reports
SB81, sponsored by Sen. Skip Daly (D-Sparks), would have extended and revised existing law that requires certain counties and cities in Nevada to prepare reports on growth-related issues — such as the I-80 corridor within Washoe, Lyon and Storey counties — by extending the reporting requirements that expired last year until 2026. It would have also added provisions for joint meetings, including legislators and local government representatives, and regional reports to address the positive and negative impacts of growth in the region.
The bill passed through the Assembly and Senate on party-line votes with Democrats in support.
Lombardo said in his veto message the bill “would insert unwanted and unneeded legislative representation” into regional planning decisions that have historically been decided by local elected officials.
Interim study on state agencies
Under SB88, sponsored by the Senate Committee on Natural Resources, the Joint Interim Committee on Natural Resources would have been charged with conducting an interim study of state agencies that regulate natural resources in Nevada.
The study would have included an examination of the composition, mission and scope of the Board of Wildlife Commissioners, the Commission on Mineral Resources, the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the state Environmental Commission.
The bill passed with bipartisan support — members of the Senate passed the bill 16-4 and the Assembly passed it with a 33-9 vote — with all Democrats and some Republicans voting in support.
In his veto message, Lombardo said the studies mandated by the bill could be initiated by the chair of the interim committee independent of the bill’s passage and would be better decided on by the committee itself.
Cleaning up 2021 traffic laws
SB104, a bill that passed unanimously out of the Senate and along party lines in the Assembly with Democrats in support, aimed to clean up two bills from the 2021 session that reformed state traffic laws — AB116, which decriminalized traffic tickets, and SB219, which prohibited suspension of a driver’s license for unpaid fines.
That includes changes to the information collected in traffic stops and timelines for responding to a citation.
Though the bill passed out of the Senate unanimously, it passed out of the Assembly on a party-line 27-14 vote (with one excused absence), with Democrats in support.
Lombardo in his veto message said that because AB116 was not implemented until this year, “we should allow more time to gain a complete understanding of that bill's effects.”
He added that the bill would “encroach upon judicial discretion” by removing a judge’s power to suspend a “driver's license for any legitimate purpose.”
Protecting North Las Vegas Charter Committee
SB246, sponsored by Dina Neal (D-North Las Vegas), was originally a workforce development bill but became more controversial when Neal added provisions protecting the North Las Vegas Charter Committee from alleged “abuses of authority” from the North Las Vegas City Council. The charter committee is responsible for considering and putting forward changes to the city’s foundation document, with any changes subject to legislative approval through the charter committee’s one bill each session.
The bill was amended to include a workforce development program and provisions prohibiting the city council from interfering with the duties of the charter committee, as well as requirements that the charter committee meet at least four times between regular legislative sessions and that each person appointed to the charter committee complete ethics training.
The bill passed out of the Assembly on a 23-19 vote, with several Democrats joining Republicans in opposition. Members of the Senate passed the bill on a 15-6 vote with all Democrats and some Republicans in support.
In his veto message, Lombardo criticized the bill as “little more than a legislative attempt to circumvent the Charter Committee process.”
He also criticized the last-minute amendment adopted on the final day of the legislative session without “sufficient form of public input,” a duplicative workforce program already in place in North Las Vegas and “arbitrary” limits on agenda items for charter committee meetings that Lombardo called “a striking alteration to current law.”
Changing qualification requirements for unincorporated town boards
SB262, sponsored by Sen. Edgar Flores (D-Las Vegas), would have revised how individuals can qualify as members of advisory councils and town boards in certain rural counties, replacing a requirement to be a “qualified elector” with a new requirement to live in the unincorporated town and be either a U.S. citizen or lawfully residing in the country.
All legislative Republicans voted against the measure in both the Senate and Assembly. In submitted testimony, critics charged that the measure would allow immigrants who would not be allowed to vote to serve on such boards.
In his veto message, Lombardo argued that in order to “ensure the greatest accountability to voters, service on such a public board should be reserved only for those who can participate in elections related to their community.”
New reports for state and local public works contracts
SB272, sponsored by Sen. Pat Spearman (D-North Las Vegas), would have required state agencies and local governments to publish annual reports online detailing the number and size of public works contracts, as well as how many of those contracts went to minority-owned, women-owned, and LGBTQ-owned businesses.
The bill saw some GOP support in the Senate, advancing 15-6 with the votes of Sen. Heidi Seevers Gansert (R-Reno) and Sen. Lisa Krasner (R-Reno), but dropped to a party-line 28-14 vote in the Assembly with Republicans opposed.
In his veto message, Lombardo called the bill “admirably motivated,” but said “the intended outcome of posting this data is unclear” and that “without a clear objective, this bill's burden on existing government is unjustifiable.”
Expanding who qualifies as employees on public works projects
SB301, sponsored by Sen. Roberta Lange (D-Las Vegas), would have expanded the definition of employees on public works projects (subject to the state’s prevailing wage) to include workers who deliver or remove “construction material or structures” — a category that includes asphalt and concrete.
The measure found no Republican support. In the Assembly, SB301 passed on a 25-17 vote, with three Democrats joining Republicans in voting against the bill.
In his veto message, Lombardo criticized the bill for the potential to increase costs of public work projects without providing additional training or safety requirements for the affected employees.
Biennial targets for energy storage
SB314, a bill sponsored by Sen. Roberta Lange (D-Las Vegas) that passed along party lines in the Senate and with a few Republicans joining Democrats in support in the Assembly, sought to require the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada to establish targets every two years for energy storage by electric utilities. The commission previously set energy storage targets through regulation in 2018, meaning the bill would require more frequent updates to the targets.
The bill also would have prohibited someone from installing an electrochemical energy storage system unless the person holds a valid license.
In his veto message, Lombardo said the bill would increase “the likelihood of related labor shortages” if the state’s energy storage training program cannot satisfy the “training demand necessary to keep Nevada's energy storage systems on the cutting-edge.”
Allowing more cops to collectively bargain
SB319, sponsored by Sen. Dallas Harris (D-Las Vegas), would have changed the definition of “employee” in the state employee collective bargaining law to include unclassified category I, II and III peace officers (levels that represent the level of training for that particular officer, I being the highest) — in addition to classified employees already covered by the law.
Classified service positions are filled according to strict laws and regulations and paid at a specific scale approved by the Legislature, while unclassified positions include department heads, members of state boards and all other positions appointed by the governor, as well as various higher education positions and public safety officers, who can be hired by other appointing officers.
The measure passed unanimously in the Assembly and 20-1 in the Senate, with Sen. Robin Titus (R-Wellington) casting the lone “nay” vote.
Lombardo said in his veto message that unclassified positions are not subject to the same rules as classified employees, and allowing them to bargain “could lead to other distinctions between classified and unclassified staff being challenged.”
Adding new requirements to broadband infrastructure grants
SB384, sponsored by Sen. Skip Daly (D-Sparks), would have created new requirements for state agencies doling out federal grant money for broadband infrastructure projects. Those would include requiring applicants to ensure the jobs provided have “high-quality wages” for Nevada residents and members of underserved communities or signing onto a collective bargaining agreement, and apply public works requirements to any contractors on those jobs (including, unless unionized, prevailing wage laws).
The measure was passed through both houses on party-line votes with Republicans opposed.
Lombardo said in his veto message the bill would “dramatically increase the cost of broadband projects,” particularly in rural areas, through “onerous workforce burdens.”
Reinvesting health care profits in supportive services
SB400, sponsored by Sen. Dina Neal (D-North Las Vegas), would have required health maintenance organizations (HMOs) that contract with the state Department of Health and Human Services for Medicaid managed care programs to reinvest a percentage of their annual profits in programs in the local community to address homelessness and provide medication and housing.
The bill also included a $10 million appropriation for support of an advisory committee in Las Vegas that would work to address homelessness.
Lombardo said in his veto message the policy goals of the bill “are not without merit,” but that the measure is “duplicative of existing work,” including a Medicaid Reinvestment Advisory Committee created in 2021. He added that it “makes no appropriation to [the] Division of Health Care Financing and Policy to carry out the provisions.”
Implementing certain state worker arbitration pay, raises
SB440, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro (D-Las Vegas), would have paid out more than $25 million of a 2021 arbitration award for some state worker bargaining units, including the Nevada Police Union (NPU) and AFSCME. In its original form, it also would have given state workers a 2 percent cost of living pay raise for the 2023 fiscal year, though that provision was amended out as lawmakers sought to boost state worker pay elsewhere.
As part of a sweeping package of state employee compensation increases, SB440 became an early pressure point between Democrats and the Lombardo administration. In May, Cannizzaro blamed Lombardo for stalling on the bill in the Assembly over claims it could not find a way to identify which state workers would receive the bonus money.
SB440 was eventually passed by both houses on a party-line vote with Democrats in support.
Lombardo in his veto message said those workers who would be paid by SB440 were already “well-cared for” in the state employee pay bill, AB522, which granted the largest raises for state workers in decades.
He added that granting “retroactive non-binding arbitration awards during subsequent legislative sessions … would create perverse incentives regarding employee pay.”
Expanding DMV hours for voter registration
SB443, a Senate Committee on Legislative Operations and Elections bill that passed out of both houses along party lines with Republicans opposed, would have required DMV offices in Clark and Washoe counties to establish extended hours for the two weeks leading up to the deadline to register to vote by mail.
During that period, a person would be allowed to obtain or renew a driver’s license or identification card without an appointment — transactions that would trigger the state’s automatic voter registration system.
It also would have allowed for the use of a tribal identification card to register to vote, rather than a DMV-issued ID.
In his veto message, Lombardo said the bill would allow “insufficient proofs of residency to be used by potential electors in order to vote,” which he could not support.
JUNE 5 VETOES
Medical aid in dying
Lombardo became the first governor nationwide to veto a medical-aid-in-dying legalization bill (SB239) that passed out of the Legislature. The bill would have allowed patients with a terminal illness to self-administer life-ending medication under certain circumstances, following the example of other states including California, Oregon, and Washington.
To qualify for medical-aid-in-dying under the bill, patients would have needed a prognosis of no more than six months by two physicians. Under existing law, patients with such illnesses may only refuse resuscitation and life-saving treatment.
In his veto message, Lombardo said he was “not comfortable supporting this bill” in light of “recent progress in science and medicine and the fact that only a small number of states and jurisdictions allow for similar end-of-life protocols.”
The bill passed in the Assembly on a 23-19 vote and the Senate on an 11-10 vote. This was the farthest that such a bill has made it in the Nevada Legislature, having been proposed in several previous sessions.
Capping prescription drug prices
AB250, sponsored by Assemblywoman Venicia Considine (D-Las Vegas), would have capped costs for prescription drugs at the maximum fair prices negotiated by Medicare under provisions created through the federal Inflation Reduction Act.
The bill faced opposition from drug producers, including the pharmaceutical trade group PhRMA, which criticized the proposal for tying the state to federal decisions on drug negotiations.
Lombardo in his veto message said the bill “would set arbitrary price caps in Nevada based on federal decisions with no review or consideration from state stakeholders.” He argued that “caps could restrict patients’ access to medicines and result in less innovative treatments for patients.”
JUNE 3 VETOES
Gender-affirming care protections
Lombardo on Saturday vetoed SB302, a bill that would have protected health care providers offering gender-affirming care.
Supporters said without the measure, providers may leave the state, further exacerbating the state’s health care provider shortage. SB302 passed out of the Assembly (28-14) and Senate (13-8) on party-line votes, with Republicans in opposition.
In his veto message, Lombardo said he could not support the bill because it “inhibits the Executive Branch's ability to be certain that all gender-affirming care related to minors comports with State law.” He also said the measure “decreases the Executive Branch’s authority to ensure the highest public health and child safety standards for Nevadans.”
The bill was one of three significant LGBTQ protection measures proposed this session. On Wednesday, Lombardo signed one of those bills in the form of SB153, a bill requiring the Nevada Department of Corrections to adopt standards and protections for transgender, gender nonconforming and gender nonbinary incarcerated individuals.
A third measure (SB163) is still making its way through the legislative process. That bill would require insurance companies to cover treatment of conditions relating to gender dysphoria, a condition where individuals experience a mismatch between their gender identity and assigned sex at birth.
Requiring paid leave to qualify for tax abatements
SB429, a bill presented by Sen. Edgar Flores (D-Las Vegas) and Democratic former Lt. Gov. Kate Marshall, would have required companies with 50-plus employees that are seeking tax abatements from the state to provide their employees with paid family and medical leave for at least 12 weeks at a rate of at least 55 percent of the employee’s salary.
The bill passed 17-4 with bipartisan support in the Senate (four Republicans opposed) and passed along party lines (26-14) in the Assembly, with Democrats in support.
Flores described the bill during a hearing in April as a “pro-growth and pro-family” approach to “attract those businesses with an employee-centered culture.”
Lombardo in his veto message said the bill would apply “a unique precondition to a narrowly tailored group of businesses who are pursuing Nevada performance-based tax abatements” on top of existing state law requiring certain businesses to provide paid leave. He argued it would reduce Nevada’s competitiveness in attracting businesses to the state.
“SB429 would place Nevada at a severe disadvantage in its work to bring desirable businesses within its borders,” he said. “My commitment has been and will continue to be maintaining a streamlined and non-overly regulated state government structure to ensure Nevada remains open for business.”
Expanding labor commissioner authority on prevailing wage
In another veto of a prevailing wage measure, Lombardo on Saturday vetoed SB433, a bill sponsored by Sen. Skip Daly (D-Sparks) that would have required the state’s labor commissioner to create new regulations governing what projects would be required to pay the state’s prevailing wage. The bill passed out of both chambers of the Legislature on party-line votes, with Democrats in support.
In his veto message, Lombardo said the measure would have delegated a “disproportionate amount of authority to the Labor Commissioner,” and that many of the same decisions on prevailing wage projects would be better made by counties and cities.
“Nevadans, and the counties and cities in the Silver State, deserve to decide how various public works projects will be implemented — specifically those localities’ decisions regarding the prevailing wage,” Lombardo wrote.
School employee transfers in collective bargaining agreements
SB251, a bill sponsored by Sen. Edgar Flores (D-Las Vegas), would have required large school districts (in this case, the Clark County School District) to include school support staff as part of bargaining agreement requirements governing how and when employees are transferred or reassigned. As part of that inclusion, the bill would also prescribe the transfer of existing employees in either a workforce reduction or in a “surplus situation,” in which enrollment dips lower employment needs at certain schools.
The measure was lauded by education unions, which have long criticized the state’s education collective bargaining law as ambiguous and unclear on the subject, and have criticized the “surplusing” of support staff because of fluctuating enrollment numbers, rather than employee performance. It passed through both houses on a party-line vote, with Republicans in opposition.
But in his veto message, Lombardo argued the measure would “significantly restrict principals and leaders in local school precincts from hiring the individuals they believe best meet the qualifications and needs of their respective schools.”
“Since this bill misguidedly restricts a local school precinct from hiring its chosen educational and support staff and does nothing to ensure better learning outcomes in Nevada’s classrooms, I cannot support it,” he wrote.
Doctors as independent contractors
Members of the state Patient Protection Commission proposed AB11, a measure prohibiting hospitals from hiring doctors, as a way to address a lack of clarity in statute and align with three opinions from past attorneys general. That includes a 2010 opinion issued by then-Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto that declared it “has been the longstanding practice in Nevada that physicians only work as contractors for private hospitals, and not as employees.”
The law would not have applied to community hospitals or academic institutions.
Lombardo vetoed the measure Saturday, making good on a threat implied in a February letter obtained by The Nevada Independent saying the governor did not support the measure and asking members of the commission not to advance the legislation.
In his veto message, Lombardo said the bill would “decrease access to care for Nevadans by placing significant burdens on the ability to recruit physicians to Nevada” and noted that most states allow hospitals to employ physicians, and that most physicians prefer employment with a hospital.
“Access to physicians is critical to maintaining the health and wellness of Nevadans,” Lombardo wrote. “This bill would remove long-standing policies which have incentivized physicians to accept employment at 501(c)(3) not-for-profit hospitals and various government employers.”
The measure passed out of the Assembly on a 26-16 vote in April and out of the Senate along a 13-7 party-line vote in May with Republicans in opposition.
Disclosure: This blurb about the Patient Protection Commission was edited by Assistant Editors Michelle Rindels and Riley Snyder. Sara Cholhagian Ralston, a commission member, is married to Nevada Independent CEO Jon Ralston.
Banning certain cooling refrigerants
Despite clearing both houses unanimously and bearing a Republican sponsor, Lombardo vetoed AB97 on Saturday over concerns with overly broad language. The bill, sponsored by Assemblywoman Melissa Hardy (R-Henderson), would have banned the use of certain environmentally harmful refrigerants in cooling systems.
Lombardo called it “an important goal for Nevada” in his veto message. But he also sharply criticized the inclusion of a “or use of” clause that would not only have banned the creation of new systems with such refrigerants, but also required the conversion of existing systems in already-built structures.
“An ordinance requiring that sort of removal would place an outrageous cost-burden on many recreational, governmental and business facilities throughout the state,” Lombardo wrote. “Since AB97 places a potentially extreme and unfounded cost-burden on large-scale cooling systems across Nevada, I cannot support it.”
JUNE 1 VETOES
Criminalizing false presidential electors
SB133 would have created a felony penalty for creating or submitting a false slate of presidential electors, with penalties of four to 10 years in prison and up to a $5,000 fine.
In a June 1 veto message, Lombardo said he agreed with the bill’s efforts to secure elections, but had concerns about the severity of punishment. He noted that the punishment is higher than that for “high-level fentanyl traffickers, certain domestic violence perpetrators, and even some of the most extreme and violent actors on January 6.”
He added that he believed the bill “does nothing to ensure the security of our elections.”
The bill was passed 28-14 in the Assembly and 11-10 in the Senate. The vote was mostly split along party lines, with Democrats in favor; two Democratic senators — Sens. Melanie Scheible (D-Las Vegas) and James Ohrenschall (D-Las Vegas) — split with their party to vote against the bill. Scheible cited concerns over the harshness of the punishment.
Attorney General Aaron Ford had supported the measure, saying that under existing state laws, his office was unable to prosecute the Nevada Republicans who, in 2020, falsely pledged the state’s electoral votes to then-President Donald Trump, despite him losing the popular vote to President Joe Biden.
Temporary rent caps for seniors, Social Security recipients
To address rising rents and predatory rental practices affecting those living on fixed incomes, Assemblywoman Sandra Jauregui (D-Las Vegas) sponsored a measure that would implement temporary rent caps for seniors 62 or older or for those living on Social Security.
The bill, AB298, proposed capping rent increases at 10 percent of a qualified resident’s rent for a period of time running from June 30, 2023, until Dec. 31, 2024. It also would have also prohibited charging application fees for minors in the applicant’s household and required landlords to return application fees to those who applied for an apartment but were not selected and screened.
Under the policy, landlords would also have to share explicit details about the qualifications for application approval and an itemized list of application fees — two policies aimed at ensuring that those seeking housing were only charged the costs that the landlord or business actually spent on screening.
Despite the bill passing out of the Assembly in April with bipartisan support (36-6), including eight Republican Assembly members in support, members of the Senate passed the bill in a party-line vote (13-8) with Republicans in opposition in May.
Lombardo vetoed the measure Thursday, calling it an “unreasonable restraint on standard business activity” in his veto message.
“Though the bill is admirably intended to increase transparency in the rental process, it is needlessly heavy-handed in its approach,” Lombardo wrote.
Prevailing wage requirements for public, railroad, monorail work
Lombardo vetoed two bills that would have expanded the categories of workers on public projects entitled to be paid at least the prevailing wage in their field.
AB235, sponsored by Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno (D-North Las Vegas), would have modified existing law that requires all contracts involving a public body to include in express terms the pay of all skilled and unskilled workers matching their respective prevailing wages. Under this bill, workers doing “custom fabrication” of nonstandard goods for the project would have also been guaranteed to be paid the prevailing wage on public works projects. AB235 passed along party lines in the Assembly and the Senate.
SB299 would have removed an exemption from existing law and required construction or any other workers for railroad and monorail projects to be paid the prevailing wage for that work, regardless of the involvement of a public body in the contract. SB299 garnered bipartisan support in both houses, passing in the Assembly 37-5 and in the Senate 15-6.
Lombardo’s veto message for AB235 said that the bill would increase costs for prefabricated projects, with those costs “inevitably being absorbed by Nevada taxpayers.” Of SB299, Lombardo said its requirements would burden taxpayers for monorail projects and be “irrelevant to railroad projects since the Federal Railroad Administration already requires prevailing wages.”
Summer school options for all Nevada public schools
SB340 would have required all Nevada school districts to submit plans for providing summer school options in 2023 and 2024 to any K-12 students who choose to participate. The bill would have required the plans to have a special focus on pupils most at risk of learning loss, including students with deficiencies in core subjects, chronically absent students, students learning English, and students with disabilities. School districts would have also needed to provide transportation, breakfast and lunch, and virtual learning options for certain students.
The bill passed on party-line votes in the Assembly and the Senate with Democrats in favor.
Lombardo’s veto message said that it made little sense to mandate plans for the upcoming school year when those plans have already been in place. He also rebuked supporters for the lack of funding the bill offered districts in 2024, noting that school districts still have some federal relief funds from the COVID-19 pandemic to support summer programming this year.
Sen. Marilyn Dondero Loop (D-Las Vegas) criticized Lombardo’s veto of the bill, saying in a statement Thursday “from students with disabilities to students behind in math, reading, and science, everyone suffers when we do not have year-round learning opportunities.”
Counting votes earlier, changes to voter registration challenges
SB404 would have moved up the date for counting early voting results, allowing election officials to begin counting ballots on the first day of early voting, rather than Election Day.
The bill, which passed along party lines in both houses, would have also changed laws around voter registration challenges, prohibiting challenges of a registered voter voting by mail-in ballot.
Lombardo called SB404 a “bad bill” in his veto message. He said by weakening mechanisms for verifying residency and restricting a voter’s ability to challenge another voter’s eligibility, it would “serve to decrease confidence in elections by limiting the mechanisms by which voters themselves can prevent fraudulent voting.”
Pointing to concerns about election integrity, he also highlighted his own wide-ranging elections bill SB405, which Democratic lawmakers have not heard or moved this session. Lombardo argued various provisions in the bill — including requiring voter ID, shortening the timeline for submitting ballots and ending universal vote by mail — would increase public confidence in the state’s elections.
Counting ballots twice
AB394 would have prohibited election officials from counting ballots twice, except as required in the case of an audit or recount. The bill arrived in response to several rural counties’ attempts last year to count ballots by hand, including Nye County, where election administrators counted votes both by hand and through mechanical voting systems.
Lombardo in his veto message described the bill as an “overreach” into the conduct of local election officials and that such officials should not be restricted from counting ballots twice if they believe doing so would increase the accuracy of the count.
Increasing school security personnel chosen by precincts
SB148, sponsored by Sen. Roberta Lange (D-Las Vegas), would have required local school precincts to maintain a minimum staffing ratio of three security staff per 1,000 students, with a minimum of three safety monitors per school. This bill was first considered by lawmakers the day after a Clark County School District employee was hit by a stray bullet. The bill also included other provisions that would have given more say over staffing to local precincts, as opposed to superintendents.
It passed on a party-line vote out of the Assembly (28-14) and the Senate (13-8).
Lombardo said in his veto message that giving local precincts decision making power on more staffing decisions would make the process even more time-consuming.
“This bill would further increase delays, potentially requiring schools to wait years for basic services to be improved,” he wrote.
Limiting the sale of compact fluorescent lightbulbs
Lombardo vetoed a measure that would have prohibited retailers in the state from selling or distributing certain types of lightbulbs after 2025.
Assemblywoman Selena La Rue Hatch (D-Reno) sponsored AB144 in an attempt to address the environmental and health hazards presented by toxic chemicals contained in compact fluorescent lights, such as mercury. The bill exempted lighting used in specific instances such as photocopying, manufacturing and medical or veterinary diagnosis or treatment.
Members of the Assembly passed the bill in a party-line vote (28-14) followed by a 12-9 vote in the Senate, with Sen. Dina Neal (D-North Las Vegas) joining Republicans in opposition.
Criticizing the penalties included in the bill, Lombardo called AB144 “yet another example of an unnecessary, strict regulation that eliminates choice.” His June 1 veto message also pointed out that almost half of U.S. households already use non-fluorescent LED bulbs.
Language access for prescription drugs
AB251, a bill requiring pharmacies to dispense prescriptions with information about the medication and how to take it in the 10 most commonly spoken languages in Nevada, sponsored by Assemblyman Duy Nguyen (D-Las Vegas), did not advance.
Under existing law, the State Board of Pharmacy decides which languages must be provided in addition to English.
Though the bill received bipartisan support in the Assembly (33-9), members of the Senate voted along party lines to pass it (13-7) with Republicans in opposition.
Lombardo described the bill as “well-intentioned,” but noted in his veto message that it would create a burden on pharmacies in the state.
“Not only is the law burdensome,” Lombardo said. “It also provides no clarity about whether and how pharmacists should provide verbal instructions.”
Health insurance subsidy for long-term substitute teachers
AB282, sponsored by Assemblywoman Shondra Summers-Armstrong (D-Las Vegas), would have required school districts employing certain long-term substitute teachers a $450 monthly subsidy to purchase a health insurance plan. The bill would also have prevented school districts from limiting substitute teacher hours as a means of preventing such teachers from qualifying for the subsidies.
The bill passed through both houses with some bipartisan support, including 31-11 in the Assembly and 16-4 in the Senate.
“Addressing the compensation of those substitute teachers who are responsible for providing classroom instruction to students is essential to keeping them coming back to the classroom,” Lombardo wrote in his veto message.
But citing the “overly broad” definition of long-term substitute teachers and parts of the bill that would be “burdensome” to teachers and administrators, he said that increasing the daily compensation would be a more efficient way to provide health insurance access.
Imposing county taxes on fuel and motor vehicles
AB359 would have allowed Clark County commissioners to continue imposing additional increases of a motor vehicle fuel tax via ordinance beyond 2026 — rather than requiring voter approval in the 2026 general election to continue the tax increases.
The bill would have enabled the commissioners to approve continued increases with a two-thirds majority of the board, as long as they did so before Dec. 31, 2026.
The bill received bipartisan support, passing in the Assembly 32-10 and in the Senate 15-5.
In his veto message, Lombardo agreed with the bill’s emphasis on funding for new transportation infrastructure, but wrote that “a decision on this issue, which impacts household budgets everyday, is most appropriately rendered by the voters.” He noted that the 2026 date of the vote allows lawmakers time to consider other possibilities as well.
Moving the Keep Nevada Working Task Force
AB366, brought forward by the Assembly Committee on Government Affairs, would have moved the Keep Nevada Working Task Force from the lieutenant governor’s office to the secretary of state’s office. The role of the task force — to research and develop strategies for supporting career pathways and emerging industries — would have remained largely unchanged.
Both the Assembly and the Senate passed the bill unanimously.
Lombardo said in his veto message that the task force should be moved to the Department of Workforce that would have been created under SB431, a major government modernization bill proposed by Lombardo’s office that was never voted on in the Legislature (and one of several unaddressed Lombardo priorities that ultimately spurred a budget veto late Thursday).
“Since AB366 moves the Keep Nevada Working Task Force from a workforce and economic development-related office to an elections and records-related office, I cannot support it,” he wrote in his veto message.
However, the bill was amended at the last minute into another measure, SB24, that would change elements of the lieutenant governor's office and that was signed by Lombardo on June 13.
Union-backed train safety bill
AB456, a bill brought by the Assembly Committee on Growth and Infrastructure, would have limited the length of trains running through Nevada to just 7,500 feet and created new requirements for train defect detectors maintained by rail operators. The bill passed through both houses on a party-line vote.
Backers of the bill, chiefly the state’s rail worker unions, had called for the measure as a response to worsening working conditions and what they argued was an increasing risk of serious derailments of so-called “monster trains,” which often exceed 3 miles in length. It came as rail workers nearly initiated their first strike in decades late last year, and after a chemical spill from a derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, drew national attention in February.
But opponents, including rail giant Union Pacific, argued the measure could violate the U.S. Constitution’s Commerce Clause under a Supreme Court ruling from 1945 by regulating interstate commerce (a role reserved by Congress).
Bill proponents have countered that a more recent law, the 1970 Federal Railroad Safety Act, could supersede the ruling. But in his veto message, Lombardo criticized the measure as “policy overreach,” and echoed the claims made by Union Pacific in arguing the bill would be “unlikely to withstand litigation.”
Major budget bill, Appropriations Act, vetoed at last minute
Late Thursday night, amid stalled negotiations with Democratic legislative leaders, Lombardo vetoed the Appropriations Act (AB520), a sweeping government funding bill and one of the five major budget bills. Read more about that veto here.
MAY 31 VETOES
Money for legislative renovations
AB464, an appropriations bill from the Assembly Ways and Means Committee, would have sent $1.55 million to the Legislative Fund for “project development and initial operating expenses relating to anticipated building renovations and construction.” In hearings, Legislative Counsel Bureau head Brenda Erdoes told lawmakers the money would be split between $1 million in planning funds for the legislative building in Carson City, with the extra $500,000 split between potential projects in Carson City and Clark County.
The measure received split bipartisan support in the Assembly, with seven Republicans joining Democrats to advance the measure 35-7. Later amended in the Senate (where it received an extra $500,000 appropriation), the vote ended up on party lines, 13-8.
In his Wednesday veto message, Lombardo criticized a lack of “transparency and accountability” in the formal bill language and said he couldn’t support the measure until “there is sufficient detail” supporting the request.
“When the Executive Branch submits a capital improvement project, it includes a detailed breakout of costs and a summary of the project,” the veto message read. “The Legislature provides only a single line on a sheet of paper.”
Process for filling local government vacancies
On Wednesday, Lombardo vetoed two bills affecting how vacancies on local government boards and commissions are filled.
- SB20, a bill brought by the Nevada Association of Counties that would have changed the process of filling vacancies on county commissions. It would have allowed counties to provide the governor with the names of two potential appointees of the same political party as the most recent holder of the vacant seat, from which the governor would choose to make the appointment. It also would have permitted boards to call a special election to fill a vacant commission seat and establish a process for filling vacancies at a public meeting. The bill passed out of the Assembly on a 31-10 vote and out of the Senate on a 16-5 vote.
- SB210, which would have declared the public policy of the state that any appointments made by the governor to local boards or commissions should reflect the diversity of the state, including age, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, ethnic and geographic diversity. The bill also would have required boards and commissions to submit a list of potential appointees to the governor within 60 days of a vacancy occurring, and revised reporting requirements of certain licensing boards concerning the criminal history of applicants. The bill passed out of the Assembly on a 27-14 vote and passed out of the Senate on a 16-4 vote.
Lombardo’s veto message on SB20 said the bill “is a general overreach intended to upset the established balance between Nevada’s county commissions and the Executive Branch’s appointment authority.” Under existing law, the governor is allowed to appoint any person to a vacancy on a county commission seat as long as the appointee is of the same political party.
Lombardo called SB210 “well-intentioned” in his veto message, but said it also encroaches on the governor’s ability to make appointments.
Local heat mitigation plans
SB169 would have required Clark and Washoe counties to include heat mitigation strategies — such as cooling spaces, public drinking water access and urban tree canopies — to their long-term development master plan.
Lombardo vetoed the bill May 31, writing in his veto message that while well-intentioned, the bill would create “significantly more red tape for master-planned projects in two of Nevada’s fastest growing counties.”
The bill was passed on a 31-10 vote in the Assembly and on an 18-3 vote in the Senate.
Democratic lawmakers opted not to proceed with a veto override vote on SB171 on May 29.
MAY 29 VETOES
Medical debt collection
AB223, sponsored by Assemblyman Max Carter (D-Las Vegas), would have modified medical debt collection law and required creditors to issue debtors “payoff letters,” which detail exactly how much debt is owed. The measure was passed by the Assembly on a 38-2 vote and unanimously by the Senate.
Lombardo’s veto called the measure “well intended,” but criticized its creation of a “private right to action” — essentially one private party forcing another private party to do something — and argued existing regulatory structures under the state Department of Business and Industry could handle debtor complaints.
Statewide mental health consortium
AB265, sponsored by Assemblywoman Michelle Gorelow (D-Las Vegas), would have created a statewide mental health consortium, a body that would have connected similar regional groups and would have been able to file one bill draft request per legislative session. It was passed by both chambers unanimously.
Though calling the intent “noble,” Lombardo’s veto criticized an unfunded mandate from the bill, the lack of a new fiscal note this year despite a $200,000 fiscal note on a similar measure from 2021, as well as a new layer of “unnecessary bureaucracy.”
MAY 17 VETOES
Gun control bills
In mid-May, Lombardo vetoed a trio of Democrat-proposed gun control measures, all of which had passed on party-line votes out of the Legislature. The governor said in a statement that he will “not support legislation that infringes on the constitutional rights of Nevadans” and raised several constitutional concerns in his veto messages for the three bills.
The bills included:
- SB171, which would have prevented someone who was convicted of a hate crime within the past 10 years from purchasing a gun
- AB354, which would have criminalized bringing a gun within 100 feet of an election site
- AB355, which would have raised the legal age to purchase certain semi-automatic rifles and shotguns to 21, as well as closed a legal loophole in the state’s 2021 attempt to ban so-called “ghost guns.”
Democratic lawmakers opted not to proceed with a veto override vote on SB171 on May 29.
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