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January 27, 2015

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Nevada Territory

Why the Nevada Legislature has until 1 a.m. Tuesday to finish

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CARSON CITY - The Nevada Legislature has, per the Constitution, 120 days to finish the people's business. That would make Monday, June 6, the end of the Nevada 2011 session. Except ...

Except the Nevada Supreme Court, of course.

The distinction between Pacific daylight savings time and Pacific standard time means the Legislature has until 1 a.m. Tuesday to finish its business, according to a 2001 Supreme Court ruling.

The language of the Constitution seems plain:

"Any legislative action taken after midnight Pacific standard time on the 120th calendar day is void, unless the legislative action is conducted during a special session convened by the Governor."

Note "Pacific standard time." Back in 2001, legislators decided to press their luck, went after midnight and passed some bills. The Nevada Supreme Court was asked to decide whether those bills were legally passed. The court decided those bills did pass, according to Lorne Malkiewich, director of the Legislative Counsel Bureau.

Nevada is now operating on Pacific daylight savings time, not standard time. You move clocks forward one hour in spring. That means in the Nevada Legislature, midnight is 11 p.m. under Pacific standard time. And 1 a.m. on Tuesday is midnight.

This might explain why there seems to be a different clock operating here - a "brief recess" can last an hour or longer, a 9 a.m. meeting can convene at 3 p.m.

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  1. When I was growing up in Washington state, the Legislature met for 90 days every other year. As the clock neared midnioght on the 90th day, they would simply pull the plug on the official clock in each chamber and continue on until they decided that they were done, then plug it back in and adjourn "sine die" (neveer to return.) But they always did - two years later.

  2. I say we should take ti down to about 10 days. The first 110 days was a waste of time. They have realy only been doing their jobs the last 10 days. Until then they were just trying to rally votes for next yr.

  3. The term is "Daylight Saving Time" and I find it pretty disappointing that the author of this piece stuck the incorrect extra 's' on the end of Saving not once, but twice, and that there is apparently no one at the Sun who could have corrected it before publication. Can David McGraths Schwartz get a proofreader over here?

    Yes, I did that on purpose.