Nevada State Legislature
The Nevada State Legislature is the state legislature of Nevada. The Legislature is a bicameral body, consisting of the lower house] Nevada Assembly, with 42 members, and the upper house Nevada Senate, with 21 members.
The Legislature meets at the Nevada State Capitol in Carson City.
Legislature defined by law
The Nevada Constitution sets the maximum size of the Legislature at 75 members, and provides that the Senate may not be less than one-third nor more than one-half the size of the Assembly. As of 2007, the number of members for both houses is 63, twelve members below the maximum size as stated in the state constitution.
The Nevada Senate is the upper house of the Nevada Legislature. The Senate consists of 21 members from 19 districts, two of which are multimember. Each senator represented approximately 94,700 people as of the 2000 census, although 2006 Census Bureau estimates suggest an average population of 118,800 per senator. Senators serve four-year terms. Term limits, limiting senators to three 4-year terms (12 years), will take effect in 2010. Seven senators will be termed out in 2010 and six in 2012.
Like other upper houses of state and territorial legislatures and the federal U.S. Senate, the Senate can confirm or reject gubernatorial appointments to the state cabinet, commissions and boards.
Leadership of the Senate
The President of the Senate is the body's highest officer, although they only vote in the case of a tie. The Lieutenant Governor of Nevada serves as Senate President. In their absence, 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.
The Nevada Assembly is the lower house of the Nevada Legislature. As in neighboring California, the lower house of the legislature is referred to as an "Assembly" rather than the more common "House of Representatives." The body consists of 42 members, elected to two-year terms from single-member districts. Each Assembly district contained approximately 47,400 people as of the 2000 census, although 2006 Census Bureau estimates suggest an average population of 59,400 per district. Term limits, limiting assemblymembers to six 2-year terms (12 years), will take effect in 2010. Twelve members of the Assembly will be termed out in 2010.
The Assembly, like the Senate, is composed of citizen legislators, receiving a relatively small per diem fee for the first 60 days of a given session. This tends to self-selection, with legislative service difficult for those without flexible jobs and/or large outside incomes, such as doctors and lawyers. The Assembly, again like the Senate, meets however long is necessary for the completion of all its business, up to a maximum of 120 days, beginning the first Monday in February of every odd-numbered year. While this is designed to limit the amount of time a legislator is away from their first job, in recent years 120 days has not been enough to complete legislative business, and after the last four regular sessions, special sessions have been called to finish up legislative business.
Leadership of the Assembly
The Speaker of the Assembly presides over the Assembly in the chief leadership position, controlling the flow of legislation and committee assignments. The Speaker is elected by the majority party caucus, followed by confirmation of the full Assembly on passage of a floor vote. Other Assembly leaders, such as the majority and minority leaders, are elected by their respective party caucuses according to each party's strength in the chamber.