After the “red wave” of voters swept across the nation’s midterm elections in 2014, Nevada Republicans held a bicameral majority in the 78th (2015) Legislative Session. The subsequent 2016 presidential election tipped the balance of power as Nevada Democrats took back the majority in both houses for the 79th (2017) Legislative Session. The Senate went from an 11-10 Republican advantage to an 11-9-1 advantage for Democrats, and the Assembly flipped from a 25-17 Republican advantage to a 27-15 Democrat advantage. The issues that had previously dominated the 2015 Session, such as tort reform, collective bargaining overhauls, and funding for Education Savings Accounts (ESAs), seemed dead-on-arrival ahead of the 2017 Session. However, with Republican Governor Brian Sandoval at the helm for his last term, Nevada was poised to see the 2017 Session result in a stalemate, with neither extensive Democratic reforms nor significant Democratic rollbacks to the hard-won legislative gains by Republicans back in 2015.
Leonardo R. Benavides is a law student at the William S. Boyd School of Law. He was a legislative extern during the 79th Legislative Session under the tutelage of Jon Sasser and Bailey Bortolin. He advocated on behalf of Legal Aid of Southern Nevada, Washoe Legal Services, Volunteer Attorneys for Rural Nevadans, and the Southern Nevada Senior Law Program. Leonardo focused on consumer rights and children’s issues during his time in Carson City.
Leonardo Benavides, 2017 Legislative Recap: Important Bills from Nevada's 79th Legislative Session, 2 Nev. L.J. Forum 39 (2018).