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Nevada State Senate

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Nevada State Senate

Seal of Nevada.png
General Information
Type:   Upper house
Term limits:   3 terms (12 years)
2015 session start:   February 2, 2015
Website:   Official Senate Page
Senate President:   Mark Hutchison (R)
Majority Leader:   Michael Roberson (R)
Minority leader:   Aaron Ford (D)
Members:  21
Length of term:   4 years
Authority:   Art IV, Section 4, Nevada Constitution
Salary:   $146.29/day + per diem
Last Election:  November 4, 2014 (11 seats)
Next election:  November 8, 2016 (12 seats)
Redistricting:  Nevada legislature has control
The Nevada Senate is the upper house of the Nevada State Legislature. It consists of 21 members with each senator representing an average of 128,598 residents, as of the 2010 Census.[1] After the 2000 Census, each member represented 94,679 residents.[2]The Nevada legislature is biennial, convening only in odd-numbered years. Senators are elected for four-year terms, and are limited to serving no more than three terms.[3] The Senate meets at the State Capitol in Carson City, Nevada.

As of March 2015, Nevada is one of 23 Republican state government trifectas.

See also: Nevada State Legislature, Nevada House of Representatives, Nevada Governor


When the Nevada Constitution was adopted, its fourth article established when the Nevada State Legislature, of which the Senate is a part, was to be in session. However, Section 29 of Article 4, the section that dealt with legislative sessions, was repealed by vote of the people in the 1958 general election. The session dates for the Nevada Legislature are no longer limited by the Nevada Constitution.


See also: Dates of 2015 state legislative sessions

In 2015, the Legislature will be in session from February 2 through June 1 (Projected).

Major issues

Major issues in the 2015 legislative session include business licensing fees, construction defect reform, organized labor reform, education reform, Voter ID, legalizing recreational marijuana and economic development.[4]


See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the Legislature did not hold a regular session.


See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature was in session from February 4 through June 3.

Major issues

Major issues in the 2013 legislative session included taxes, the state's tax structure, spending, Medicare and gun control.[5][6]


See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Senate was not in regular session.


In 2011, the Senate was in session from February 7 through June 6.[7]


In 2010, the Senate was not in regular session. However, the Legislature did meet in 2010 for a special session, which lasted from February 23rd to March 1st.[8]

Role in state budget

See also: Nevada state budget and finances
Nevada on Horizontal-Policypedia logo-color.png
Check out Policypedia articles about policy in your state on:

The state operates on an biennial budget cycle that starts July 1 of each biennium. The sequence of key events in the budget process is as follows:[9][10]

  1. Budget instruction guidelines are sent to state agencies in January.
  2. Agencies submit their requests to the governor in August.
  3. Agency hearings are held in September and December.
  4. The governor submits the budget to the Nevada State Legislature in January.
  5. The legislature passes a budget in May or June. A simply majority is needed to pass a budget.

In Nevada, the governor has no veto authority over the budget.[10]

The governor is required by statute to submit a balanced budget. In turn, the legislature is constitutionally required to pass a balanced budget.[10]

Cost-benefit analyses

See also: Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative Cost-Benefit Study
Map showing results of the Pew-MacArthur cost-benefit study.

The Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative released a report in July 2013 which indicated that cost-benefit analysis in policymaking led to more effective uses of public funds. Looking at data from 2008 through 2011, the study's authors found that some states were more likely to use cost-benefit analysis while others were facing challenges and lagging behind the rest of the nation. Among the challenges states faced were a lack of time, money and technical skills needed to conduct comprehensive cost-benefit analyses. Nevada was one of 11 states that made rare use of cost-benefit analyses in policy and budget processes.[11]

Ethics and transparency

Following the Money report

See also: "Following the Money" report, 2014

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a consumer-focused nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., released its annual report on state transparency websites in April 2014. The report, entitled "Following the Money," measured how transparent and accountable state websites are with regard to state government spending.[12] According to the report, Nevada received a grade of D- and a numerical score of 52, indicating that Nevada was "lagging" in terms of transparency regarding state spending.[12]

Open States Transparency

See also: Open States' Legislative Data Report Card

The Sunlight Foundation released an "Open Legislative Data Report Card" in March 2013. Nevada was given a grade of B in the report. The report card evaluated how adequate, complete and accessible legislative data is to the general public. A total of 10 states received an A -- Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Kansas, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Washington.[13]



See also: Nevada State Senate elections, 2014

Elections for the office of Nevada State Senate took place in 2014. A primary election took place on June 10, 2014. The general election was held on November 4, 2014. The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in this election was March 14, 2014.


See also: Nevada State Senate elections, 2012

Elections for the office of Nevada State Senate were held in Nevada on November 6, 2012. A total of 12 seats were up for election.

The signature filing deadline was March 16, 2012, and the primary date was June 12, 2012.

Nevada state senators are subject to term limits and may not serve more than three four-year terms. In 2012, four state senators were termed-out.

The following table details the districts' margins of victory in the November 6 general election.


See also: Nevada State Senate elections, 2010

Nevada State Senate elections were held in 11 of Nevada's 21 senate districts on November 2, 2010. The 11 districts where electoral contests took place in 2010 are: Capital, Clark 2, Clark 5(B), Clark 7(B), Clark 8, Clark 9, Clark 10, Clark 12, Washoe 1, Washoe 2 and Washoe 4.

The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in these elections was March 12, 2010, and the primary Election Day was June 8, 2010.

In 2010, the candidates for state senate raised a total of $4,320,019 in campaign contributions. The top 10 donors were:[14]


See also: Nevada State Senate elections, 2008

Elections for the office of Nevada State Senate consisted of a primary election on August 12, 2008, and a general election on November 4, 2008.

During the 2008 election, the total of contributions to Senate candidates was $4,764,881. The top 10 contributors were:[15]


See also: Nevada State Senate elections, 2006

Elections for the office of Nevada State Senate consisted of a primary election on August 15, 2006, and a general election on November 7, 2006.

During the 2006 election, the total of contributions to Senate candidates was $4,860,473. The top 10 contributors were:[16]


See also: Nevada State Senate elections, 2004

Elections for the office of Nevada State Senate consisted of a primary election on September 7, 2004, and a general election on November 2, 2004.

During the 2004 election, the total of contributions to Senate candidates was $4,652,079. The top 10 contributors were:[17]


See also: Nevada State Senate elections, 2002

Elections for the office of Nevada State Senate consisted of a primary election on September 3, 2002, and a general election on November 5, 2002.

During the 2002 election, the total of contributions to Senate candidates was $2,878,156. The top 10 contributors were:[18]


See also: Nevada State Senate elections, 2000

Elections for the office of Nevada State Senate consisted of a primary election on September 5, 2000, and a general election on November 7, 2000.

During the 2000 election, the total of contributions to Senate candidates was $2,623,356. The top 10 contributors were:[19]


To be eligible to serve in the Nevada State Senate, a candidate must be:[20]

  • A U.S. citizen at the time of filing
  • 21 years old at the filing deadline time
  • A one-year resident of Nevada preceding the election
  • A resident for 30 days of the senate district from which elected at the filing deadline time
  • A qualified election. A qualified voter is someone who is:
* A U.S. citizen
* A resident of Nevada for at least 6 months prior to the next election, and 30 days in the district or county
* At least 18 years old by the next election


See also: How vacancies are filled in state legislatures
How Vacancies are filled in State Legislatures
NevadaMassachusettsColoradoNew MexicoWyomingArizonaMontanaCaliforniaOregonWashingtonIdahoTexasOklahomaKansasNebraskaSouth DakotaNorth DakotaMinnesotaIowaMissouriArkansasLouisianaMississippiAlabamaGeorgiaFloridaSouth CarolinaIllinoisWisconsinTennesseeNorth CarolinaIndianaOhioKentuckyPennsylvaniaNew JerseyNew YorkVermontVermontNew HampshireMaineWest VirginiaVirginiaMarylandMarylandConnecticutConnecticutDelawareDelawareRhode IslandRhode IslandMassachusettsNew HampshireMichiganMichiganAlaskaVacancy fulfillment map.png

If there is a vacancy in the senate, then the Board of County Commissioners in the county representing the seat must decide on a replacement. The Board of County Commissioners must select a person from the same political party that last held the seat. No replacement is named if the vacancy happens before the next legislative session and a election for county officers is scheduled.[21]

Term limits

See also: State legislatures with term limits

The Nevada legislature is one of 15 state legislatures with term limits. Voters enacted the Nevada Term Limits Act in 1996. That initiative said that Nevada senators are subject to term limits of no more than three four-year terms, or a total of twelve years.[3]

The first year that the term limits enacted in 1996 impacted the ability of incumbents to run for office is in 2010.


See also: Redistricting in Nevada

The Legislature handles the redistricting process through a Legislative Operations and Elections Committee in each chamber. The Governor wields veto power, and the Legislature cannot overturn.

2010 census

Nevada received its local Census data on February 24, 2011. At a 35.1 percent rate of growth, Nevada was the fastest growing state in the Union from 2000 to 2010. The five most populous cities showed tremendous growth: Las Vegas grew by 22.0 percent, Henderson grew by 47.0 percent, Reno grew by 24.8 percent, North Las Vegas grew by 87.9 percent, and Sparks grew by 36.1 percent.[22]

Democrats controlled the Legislature, while the Governor at the time, Brian Sandoval, was a Republican. Hispanics and (to a lesser extent) Asians emerged as possible communities of interest that would merit their own districts. The Legislature failed to finish new maps, and a court-appointed panel of three 'special masters' took over. New maps were finalized on December 8, 2011, and no challenges were made.[23]



See also: Comparison of state legislative salaries

As of 2013, members of the legislature are paid $146.29/day for a maximum of 60 days. Legislators inside the 50-mile Capitol area receive the federal rate for per diem while those outside the area receive the HUD single-room rate for each month of session for housing.[24]

The Nevada Constitution specifies that the 63 members of the state Legislature are to be paid for the first 60 days of each regular session, held every other year in odd-numbered years. The pay for the 21 Senators and 42 members of the Assembly is tied to pay increases provided to state employees.

When sworn in

See also: When state legislators assume office after a general election

Nevada legislators assume office the day after the election.

Partisan composition

See also: Partisan composition of state senates
Party As of March 2015
     Democratic Party 10
     Republican Party 11
Total 21

The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Nevada State Senate from 1992-2013.
Partisan composition of the Nevada State Senate.PNG


The Lieutenant Governor serves as the President of the Senate but only votes in the case of a tie. If the Lieutenant Governor is not present, the President Pro Tempore presides and has the power to make commission and committee appointments. The President Pro Tempore is elected to the position by the majority party. The other partisan Senate leadership positions, such as the Majority and Minority leaders, are elected by their respective party caucuses to head their parties in the chamber.[25][26]

Current leadership

Current Leadership, Nevada State Senate
Office Representative Party
President of the Senate Mark Hutchison Ends.png Republican
State Senate President Pro Tempore Joseph Hardy Ends.png Republican
State Senate Majority Leader Michael Roberson Ends.png Republican
State Senate Assistant Majority Leader Ben Kieckhefer Ends.png Republican
State Senate Co-Majority Whip James Settelmeyer Ends.png Republican
State Senate Co-Majority Whip Scott Hammond Ends.png Republican
State Senate Minority Leader Aaron Ford Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Assistant Minority Leader Debbie Smith Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Co-Minority Whip Ruben Kihuen Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Co-Minority Whip Kelvin Atkinson Electiondot.png Democratic

Current members

Current members, Nevada State Senate
District Senator Party Assumed office
1 Patricia Spearman Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
2 Moises Denis Electiondot.png Democratic 2011
3 Richard "Tick" Segerblom Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
4 Kelvin Atkinson Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
5 Joyce Woodhouse Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
6 Mark Lipparelli Ends.png Republican 2015
7 David Parks Electiondot.png Democratic 2009
8 Patricia Farley Ends.png Republican 2015
9 Becky Harris Ends.png Republican 2015
10 Ruben Kihuen Electiondot.png Democratic 2011
11 Aaron Ford Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
12 Joseph Hardy Ends.png Republican 2011
13 Debbie Smith Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
14 Don Gustavson Ends.png Republican 2013
15 Greg Brower Ends.png Republican 2011
16 Ben Kieckhefer Ends.png Republican 2011
17 James Settelmeyer Ends.png Republican 2011
18 Scott Hammond Ends.png Republican 2013
19 Pete Goicoechea Ends.png Republican 2013
20 Michael Roberson Ends.png Republican 2011
21 Mark Manendo Electiondot.png Democratic 2011

Senate Standing Committees

The Nevada State Senate has 10 standing committees:


Partisan balance 1992-2013

Who Runs the States Project
See also: Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States and Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States, Nevada
Partisan breakdown of the Nevada legislature from 1992-2013

From 1992-2013, the Democratic Party was the majority in the Nevada State Senate for the last six years while the Republicans were the majority for the first 16 years.

Across the country, there were 541 Democratic and 517 Republican state senates from 1992 to 2013.

Over the course of the 22-year study, state governments became increasingly more partisan. At the outset of the study period (1992), 18 of the 49 states with partisan legislatures had single-party trifectas and 31 states had divided governments. In 2013, only 13 states had divided governments, while single-party trifectas held sway in 36 states, the most in the 22 years studied.

The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Office of the Governor of Nevada, the Nevada State Senate and the Nevada House of Representatives from 1992-2013. Partisan composition of Nevada state government(1992-2013).PNG

SQLI and partisanship

The chart below depicts the partisanship of the Nevada state government and the state's SQLI ranking for the years studied. For the SQLI, the states were ranked from 1-50, with 1 being the best and 50 the worst. During the study, Nevada had one Democratic trifecta during 1992. The state's SQLI rankings were high for the majority of the study, finishing in the top-10 from 1996-1997 and from 2005-2006. However, Nevada's SQLI ranking declined from then on, finishing 46th in 2012. Both its highest and lowest rankings occurred when the government was divided between Democratic and Republican control.

Chart displaying the partisanship of the Nevada government from 1992-2013 and the State Quality of Life Index (SQLI).

See also

External links


  1., "Population Distribution and Change: 2000 to 2010," accessed May 15, 2014
  2., "Census 2000 PHC-T-2. Ranking Tables for States: 1990 and 2000," accessed May 15, 2014
  3. 3.0 3.1, "State Legislative Term Limits," accessed December 17, 2013
  4. Las Vegas Review Journal, "Five (other) big issues for the 2015 Nevada Legislature," accessed February 2, 2015
  5. The Republic, "Nevada Legislature convenes Monday; taxes, guns, Medicaid will be big issues facing lawmakers," February 2, 2013(Dead Link)
  6., "Nev. Legislature convenes Monday with uncertainty," February 2, 2013
  7. National Conference of State Legislatures, "2011 Legislative Sessions Calendar," accessed June 6, 2014(Archived)
  8. National Conference of State Legislatures, "2010 Legislative Sessions Calendar," accessed August 4, 2014(Archived)
  9. National Conference of State Legislatures, "State Experiences with Annual and Biennial Budgeting," updated April 2011
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 National Association of State Budget Officers, "Budget Processes in the States, Summer 2008," accessed February 21, 2014
  11. Pew Charitable Trusts, "States’ Use of Cost-Benefit Analysis," July 29, 2013
  12. 12.0 12.1 U.S. Public Interest Research Group, "Following the Money 2014 Report," accessed April 15, 2014
  13. Sunlight Foundation, "Ten Principles for Opening Up Government Information," accessed June 16, 2013
  14. Follow the Money, "Nevada Senate 2010 Campaign Contributions," accessed December 17, 2013
  15. Follow the Money, "Nevada 2008 Candidates," accessed August 23, 2013
  16. Follow the Money, "Nevada 2006 Candidates," accessed August 23, 2013
  17. Follow the Money, "Nevada 2004 Candidates," accessed August 23, 2013
  18. Follow the Money, "Nevada 2002 Candidates," accessed August 23, 2013
  19. Follow the Money, "Nevada 2000 Candidates," accessed August 23, 2013
  20. Nevada Secretary of State, "2009-2010 Election Information Guide," accessed December 17, 2013
  21. Nevada Legislature, "Constitution of Nevada," accessed December 17, 2013*(Referenced Section, Article IV, Section XII)
  22. U.S. Census Bureau, "U.S. Census Bureau Delivers Nevada's 2010 Census Population Totals, Including First Look at Race and Hispanic Origin Data for Legislative Redistricting," accessed August 4, 2014
  23. Nevada Legislature, "2011 Reapportionment and Redistricting Home," accessed August 20, 2012
  24., "2012 State Legislator Compensation and Per Diem Table," accessed March 18, 2013
  25. Nevada Legislature, "Legislative Officers: Nevada Senate," accessed August 4, 2014
  26. Nevada Legislature, "NV Senate Leadership of the 77th (2013) Session," accessed August 4, 2014