Government of Nevada
The government of Nevada comprises three branches of government: the executive branch consisting of the Governor of Nevada and their cabinet along with the other elected constitutional officers; the legislative branch consisting of the Nevada Legislature which includes the Assembly and the Senate; and the judicial branch consisting of the Supreme Court of Nevada and lower courts.
Major state agencies and elected offices include:
- Nevada Attorney General and the Department of Justice
- Nevada State Treasurer
- Nevada Secretary of State
- Nevada Gaming Control Board
- Consumer Health Assistance
- Nevada State Controller
- Nevada Department of Cultural Affairs
- Nevada Commission on Economic Development
- Department of Employment, Training & Rehabilitation
- Department of Health and Human Services
- Division of Minerals, Commission on Mineral Resources
- Department of Personnel
- Advisory Council for Prosecuting Attorneys
- Public Employees Benefit Program
- Public Employees Retirement System
- Public Utilities Commission
- Department of Taxation
- Commission on Tourism
- Universities and Community Colleges of Nevada
- Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education
The Nevada Legislature is a bicameral body divided into an Assembly and Senate. Members of the Assembly serve for 2 years, and members of the Senate serve for 4 years. Both houses of the Nevada Legislature will be impacted by term limits starting in 2010, as Senators and Assemblymen/women will be limited to a maximum of 12 years service in each house (by appointment or election which is a lifetime limit)—a provision of the constitution which was recently upheld by the Supreme Court of Nevada in a unanimous decision. Each session of the Legislature meets for a constitutionally mandated 120 days in every odd-numbered year, or longer if the Governor calls a special session.
Currently, the Assembly is controlled by the Democratic Party (28 to 14 majority) and the Senate is also controlled by the Democratic Party (12 to 9 majority).
The Supreme Court of Nevada is the state supreme court. Original jurisdiction is divided between the District Courts (with general jurisdiction), and Justice Courts and Municipal Courts (both of limited jurisdiction).
Incorporated towns in Nevada, known as cities, are given the authority to legislate anything not prohibited by law. A recent movement has begun to permit home rule in incorporated Nevada cities to give them more flexibility and fewer restrictions from the Legislature.
Unincorporated towns are settlements eminently governed by the county in which they are located, but who, by local referendum or by the act of the county commission, can form limited local governments in the form of a Town Advisory Board (TAB)/ Citizens Advisory Council (CAC), or a Town Board.
Town Advisory Boards and Citizens Advisory Councils are formed purely by act of the county commission. Consisting of three to five members, these elected boards form a purely advisory role, and in no way diminish the responsibilities of the county commission that creates them. Members of advisory councils and boards are elected to two-year terms, and serve without compensation. The councils and boards, themselves, are provided no revenue, and oversee no budget.
Town Boards are limited local governments created by either the local county commission, or by referendum. The board consists of five members elected to four-year terms. Half the board is required to be up for election in each election. The board elects from within its ranks a town chairperson and town clerk. While more powerful than Town Advisory Boards and Citizens Advisory Councils, they also serve a largely advisory role, with their funding provided by their local county commission. The local county commission has the power to put before residents of the town a vote on whether to keep or dissolve a town board at any general election. Town boards have the ability to appoint a town manager if they choose to do so.