Monday, April 13, 2015

Nevada Senate Committee Again Tweaks February Presidential Primary Bill

On Friday, April 10, the Nevada state Senate Committee on Legislative Operations and Elections rescinded its earlier recommendation to the chamber to pass SB 421. Instead, the committee made a technical correction -- changing the date of the proposed primary from the third Tuesday to the last Tuesday in February -- and sent it back out with a "do pass" recommendation.

There are a few reminders about the dynamics around this bill that should be mentioned. First, the bill's sponsor, Senator James Settlemeyer (R-17th, Minden), sits on the committee and helped usher it through despite testimony from the Nevada Republican Party in opposition to the measure. What Settlemeyer may be able to overcome in committee is different than the obstacles he and his bill may face on the floor of the Senate. Secondly, this bill differs meaningfully from the version now active in the Assembly. While the Assembly bill creates a separate presidential primary it makes participation by the state parties optional. If the parties opt in, then a primary date in February is agreed upon and a primary election is conducted. However, if the parties opt instead to select delegates and express presidential preference through a caucuses/convention system, then there is no primary election. The Senate bill makes the primary a requirement, or at least attempts to add some legal muscle to the primary mode of delegate selection in the Silver state.

The Assembly bill is, perhaps, more forward looking: attempting to add the option for the future. The Senate bill, on the other hand, is intended, according to the sponsor, affect the 2016 process in Nevada.

The Assembly version seems the more feasible of the two. That is particularly true since both state parties have already expressed their intention to hold caucuses in 2016.

Are you following FHQ on TwitterGoogle+ and Facebook? Click on the links to join in.

No comments: