(Sean Whaley/Nevada News Bureau) – Gov. Jim Gibbons is rejecting the suggestion made by a lawmaker that his administration delayed action on regulations needed to ensure the continuation of unemployment benefits for out-of-work Nevadans beginning Jan. 1.
In an “op/ed” article sent to Nevada news media outlets, Gibbons said the law was followed and key dates were met by the Employment Security Division in preparing the regulations that set the unemployment insurance rates for businesses for the coming year.
The agency sought pre-approval of the regulations from the Legislative Commission’s Subcommittee to Review Regulations on Nov. 24. The panel rejected the request, however, telling the agency to craft emergency regulations instead.
Members of the panel were concerned that approving the regulations before a public hearing scheduled for this Monday would preclude public comment.
Gibbons said the committee members were told by employment security officials that two public hearings had already been held on the regulations.
The legislative committee rejected two other sets of regulations at the meeting, citing the same concerns about circumventing the public hearing process. Emergency regulations will now be required for these as well.
“The public paid the committee to meet in November 2009 and do nothing,” Gibbons said. “Due to the committee’s irresponsible action, the cost to the public of enacting these three regulations will be significantly higher because agency staff will have to go through two rule-making processes to get the same end result. Taxpayers will also pay the committee members for yet another meeting to do what they should have done last week.”
The assertion by Assemblyman Marcus Conklin, D-Las Vegas, the chairman of the panel, that the agency had a year to draft the regulations is not correct, Gibbons said.
The process could not begin until after Sept. 30 by state law, and the process began on the fourth business day after that date, he said.
The request to pre-approve the regulations was made because the legislative panel had no further scheduled meetings after the upcoming Monday hearing date and the end of the year, Gibbons said.
“These dates and procedures clearly show that Assemblyman Conklin’s explanation for the Legislature’s lack of action is inaccurate at best,” Gibbons said.