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Nevada Lawmakers Cancel 300 Percent Pension Grab

November 22, 1989

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) _ Nevada legislators voted unanimously to erase a 300 percent pension increase they gave themselves last June and hope voter outrage that forced the repeal will fade by the 1990 elections.

Gov. Bob Miller signed the pension repeal bill two hours after getting it from lawmakers who met Tuesday in a two-hour special session that set a record for its brevity. Assembly Democrats asked the governor to convene the session.

″It’s over,″ Miller said. ″The action is in the best interests of the taxpayers of the state because the possibility of future payments at that inflated 300 percent level no longer exists.″

The Democratic governor said he wasn’t trying to salvage any political careers in the Legislature by calling the session to repeal the increase that he had vetoed earlier in the year. Legislators overrode the veto the same day.

Miller said his concern was the potential expense of ″millions over the years″ unless the benefits were reduced.

Under the increase, pensions for the part-time lawmakers rose from $25 a month per year of service to $100 a month per year of service.

Representatives of the citizens lobbying group Common Cause led the fight against the increase, circulating a petition to put the issue on the 1990 ballot.

″I’m really feeling good today,″ Common Cause spokeswoman Leola Armstrong said as the increase was canceled.

Despite the repeal, legislative leaders conceded voter outrage that led to the session may come back to haunt them next year.

Democratic Assembly Speaker Joe Dini said the pension increase will remain ″a campaign issue that hurts everybody who voted for it.″

Dini said the low pay for part-time lawmakers still should be raised. The legislators draw about $12,000 in pay and various expense money for about six months of work every other year.