AP Photo/Cathleen Allison
Published Monday, June 13, 2011 | 4:31 p.m.
Updated Monday, June 13, 2011 | 7:28 p.m.
About 50 bills passed by the Nevada Legislature in the final minutes of the session have taken an overnight trip to Hawaii, to be signed by the Assembly speaker before they’re sent to the governor for review. Speaker John Oceguera left Carson City before signing hard copies of the legislation, passed just before the 2011 session ended at 1 a.m. June 7.
The bills were shipped Monday and are expected back in state capital today, or Thursday at the latest, according to Lorne Malkiewich, director of the Legislative Counsel Bureau. It’s the first time in memory that legislation has been shipped in order to be signed, he said.
In the digital age, hard copies of bills still must be walked from committee chairs to the Senate and Assembly floors and then on to the governor.
“We know it’s not the most efficient way, but it is the way to ensure you get the correct version of a bill transmitted to the governor,” Malkiewich said, adding that Gov. Brian Sandoval’s staff has been provided with a list of the in-transit bills so they can begin making decisions on the legislation.
He did not know the shipping cost for the bills.
After the Legislature adjourns, the governor has 10 days, not counting Sundays, to sign or veto bills. While the Nevada Constitution is unclear on when that clock starts, Sandoval’s office believes it has until midnight Friday to sign the bills, according to senior adviser Dale Erquiaga.
Oceguera, a Las Vegas Democrat, served his first and only term as speaker of the Assembly because of term limits.
In an email, he noted that the bills would have had to have been overnighted regardless. “I signed everything that was ready before I left” Carson City, he wrote.
He is considered a possible candidate for Congress.
This is not the first time that concerns of signatures have come up in connection with legislation. President Barack Obama recently extended the Patriot Act by “autopen” while he was overseas.
Former Gov. Jim Gibbons’ whereabouts were sometimes unknown to his staff. During the 2009 session his autopen was referred to as “the busiest employee in the state” by former officials.