NFA Legislative Update 5/7/2017 by Kent Ervin
While our biggest push during the final weeks of the Legislature needs to be on faculty compensation, there are other bills with important impacts good and bad. See our full bill watch list here. Regarding the priority bills under consideration this week listed below, please take a few minutes to express your opinion on the Share Your Opinion page, contact your own Legislators, or contact the legislative committee members listed at the committee links below. NFA positions below are those approved by the state board.
AB202(R1) Interim study on affordability for students at NSHE colleges & universities. Includes study of faculty compensation. Passed Assembly 41-1. Hearing Tuesday May 9 in Senate Education Committee. NFA supports. SUPPORT AB202 as amended 4/19/2017 on the Share Your Opinion page.
AJR5(R1) Constitutional amendment to remove Board of Regents, its authority, duties, and election requirement from Nevada Constitution. The Board would still be in statute, but its composition, election, and duties could be changed by any future legislature. NFA opposed. Passed Assembly 38-4. Hearing Monday May 8 in the Senate Legislative Operations and Elections Committee. OPPOSE AJR5 as amended 4/24/2017 on the on the Share Your Opinion page.
AB390(R1) Companion bill to AJR5. Spending and Governmental Efficiency (SAGE) commission for NSHE. Expands whistleblower protections for state employees who expose false statements by state officials and employees to Legislators. Passed Assembly 42-0. Hearing Monday May 8 in the Senate Legislative Operations and Elections Committee. NFA opposes the SAGE commission because of past negative experience with business-oriented SAGE commissions. NFA opposes the current over-broad bill language on whistleblower protection (taken literally would prevent supervisory action to influence the behavior of any state employee), although the basic concept is good. Select AB390 as amended 4/24/2017 on the Share Your Opinion page.
Heard, committee votes needed
SB384(R1) Makes confidential the personal information about PERS retirees, including names, except ID number, employer, retirement date, years of service, annual pension. 18% of NSHE active faculty are covered by PERS. Would prevent future publishing of names with pension amounts of PERS retirees. NFA supports. Needs to be passed out of the Assembly Government Affairs Committee. Support SB384 as amended 4/20/2017 on the Share Your Opinion page.
SB502(R1) As amended, adds 2nd NSHE representative to PEBP Board and fixes RFP procedures for PEBP and the Deferred Compensation Program. NFA opposed original version of SB502, but we worked with our public employee coalition partners and the Department of Administration to create a good bill. SUPPORT SB502 as amended 4/24/1017 on the Share Your Opinion page. Needs to be passed out of the Senate Finance Committee.
Hearings not scheduled yet
AB16(R1) and AB407(R1) Cooperative Extension reorganization and funding. Exempt and referred to Assembly Ways & Means Committee with no hearing date set. NFA has serious concerns about the unfunded mandate in AB16, although increased funding for Cooperative Extension programs would be good in principle. NFA is opposed to how AB407 would impinge on faculty employee rights, causing terminations of southern Extension faculty under financial exigency by July 1 with no assurance of rehiring by a new Southern Cooperative Extension program. Select AB16 as amended 4/24/2017 and AB407 as amended 4/24/2017 on the Share Your Opinion page.
The best way to contact Legislators is by phone, or e-mail from a personal account preferably outside of regular work hours. On merit pay and other compensation issues in particular, also encourage friends of our colleges and universities to contact their legislators in support of faculty and students.
Nevada Faculty Alliance Legislative Liaison