AJR 2 has passed out of committee with no amendments and a do pass recommendation on March 2 and is headed to the Assembly floor for consideration. The bill is in its first year of a 5 year process to amend the state constitution changing the definition of marriage as outlined in Section 21 Article 1.
The Assembly Committee on Legislative Operations and Elections wasted little time in its work session March 2 to send the bill out of committee, as there was no discussion. Assemblyman James Ohrenschall (D-Clark Co.) moved that the bill be approved; seconded by Daniele Monroe-Moreno (D-Clark Co.). The vote was along party lines with 6 Democrats voting Aye and Republican committee members, Ira Hansen (R-Washoe Co (part), Nye Co. (part) Pershing, Humboldt, Lander, Mineral, Esmeralda), John Hambrick (R-Clark Co) and Richard McArthur (R-Clark Co) voting no.
Just prior to the end of the committee meeting Assemblyman James Ohrenschall asked to be added as a co-sponsor to AJR2 as it was an important issue to his constituents. Ohrenschall informed the chair that he has discussed the matter with bill sponsor Assembly Nelson Araujo and he had no objections. Chairman Olivia Diaz had no objections. Ohrenschall moved to add himself, Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno, Assemblyman Elliott Anderson and Assemblywoman Olivia Diaz to as co-sponsors, It was approved on a 6-4 vote.
When the bill is presented on the Assembly floor Assemblyman Araujo will present the bill to the members of the full Assembly. Araujo is the main sponsor of AJR2, introducing it to the public on the steps of the State Supreme Court on February 1. No date has been set for the bill’s introduction on the floor. Should AJR2 be approved by the Assembly it would be sent to the Senate, where the Senate Committee of Legislative Operations and Elections would hold a public hearing on the merits of the bill.
The state constitution can be changed through legislative action, a 5 year process. A bill has to be approved in two consecutive Legislative sessions and then a vote of the people to be final. The constitution can also be changed by initiative petition as it was in 2002, with affirmative votes in two consecutive elections. Or a Constitutional Convention can also change it.
On February 21, the committee heard public comment on AJR2 and received public comment through the state’s share opinion section of the Legislature’s website. The site received 230 comments on the bill, 187 for and 43 against. Most of the against comments dealt with it being a matter of religious freedom being taken away or in 2002 70% (was actually 67.2%) people voted on the matter and it was “changing the will of the people”. In 2002, 521,433 votes were cast while in 2016, 1,125,429, nearly double that of 14 years earlier, voted showing the growth in the Nevada electorate.
One comment against read: Please do not (pass)> “Calif is doomed since prop 8 agument (sic). Bruce Jenner Debauchery, brought Drought Flood and what is next an Earth Quake ? What state lives next door? Apocalyptic event’s are coming. And another who marked they supported the bill said: The people of Nevada have already spoken on this! A marriage should be between a man and a woman. Do not change it. Many of those in favor simply said: “Love is Love!”
The change proposed simply brings in line the Nevada Constitution with the Law of the Land following the 2014 U.S. Ninth District Court of Appeals and 2015 Supreme Court rulings enjoining the definition as is currently in the state constitution.
This story is on-going.