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It's An Odd Year When Nevada's Legislature Meets

Under Nevada's Constitution, Nevada's legislature meets biennially (i.e., every other year), a schedule not to be confused with with California's legislative biennium (i.e., lasting two years).  Nev. Const. Art. 4, § 2(1).  Nevada's current legislative session began yesterday and will last adjourn sine die not later than midnight Pacific time at the end of the 120th consecutive calendar day the session.  Nev. Const. Art. 4, § 2(2). 

Lest there be any question about whether to start counting the 120 days on the first day of the session or the next day, the Constitution dictates that the 120 days is inclusive of the day on which that session commences.  Id.  That means the session will end on June 3, 2019.

Lest there be any dubiety about exactly when the session will end on June 3, the Constitution provides that the legislative session will end at "midnight Pacific time".  Id.

Lest there be any uncertainty about the meaning of "Pacific time", the Constitution specifies that “'midnight Pacific time' must be determined based on the actual measure of time that, on the final calendar day of the session, is being used and observed by the general population as the uniform time for the portion of Nevada which lies within the Pacific time zone, or any legal successor to the Pacific time zone, and which includes the seat of government of this State as designated by Section 1 of Article 15 of the Constitution.  If this language seems a far too punctilious, it is actually the product of a 2001 Nevada Supreme Court decision that upheld two bills enacted after midnight on the 120th day and before 1:00 a.m. on the 121st day.  Nevada Mining Ass’n v. Erdoes, 117 Nev. 531, 26 P.3d 753 (Nev. 2001).  The Supreme Court based its decision on the fact that the Constitution then referred to "Pacific Standard Time".  The state had switched to Pacific Daylight Time during the legislative session.  According to the Court, the bills became law because "because midnight Pacific standard time (PST) is equivalent to 1:00 a.m. Pacific daylight saving time (PDST) . . .".

Finally, the Constitution attempts to forestall any legislative ledgerdemain by enjoining that Nevada's lawmakers may not "employ any device, pretense or fiction that adjusts, evades or ignores this measure of time for the purpose of extending the duration of the session".  Nev. Const. Art. 4, § 2(4).  

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