Nevada State Governors Executive Orders

Governors as well as presidents can issue executive orders which are official directives mandating certain governmental actions.  Executive orders are written documents filed with the secretary of state and have the force of law; however, their scope is limited to the following policy areas:

1.  To reorganize or control bureaucracy
2.  To call out the National Guard to respond to emergencies or crises
3.  To set up commissions to study particular issues or policy problems
4.  To respond to federal rules, regulations, or initiatives.

The powers of governors to make executive orders varies according to whether they are authorized by statute, constitution, or tradition; by the areas of policy in which a governor is authorized to make such orders; and whether those orders can be reviewed by the Legislature or subject to any other restrictions. (State and Local Politics:  Institutions and Reform, Chapter 8 “Governors,” p. 264)

Executive orders as a governor’s privilege are not specifically defined in Nevada Statutes except as related to the National Crime Prevention and Privacy Compact, NRS 179A.800:

As used in this Compact, the following definitions apply:

(10) “Executive order” means an order of the President of the United States or the chief executive officer of a state that has the force of law and that is promulgated in accordance with applicable law.     [Added to NRS by 1999, 771)

There are several Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) sections that specify an order be given without defining the term “executive order.”

Nevada governors have generally issued orders consistent with the four policy areas listed above and which were not in conflict with the rights and powers of the Legislature to make laws.  Examples of orders issued by Governor Jim Gibbons include yearly orders to the Adjutant General authorizing the latter to call out the Nevada National Guard to fight forest and range fires; establishing the SAGE Commission and the Working Group to Study and Make Recommendations Concerning the Issue of Methamphetamine Use in Nevada; and establishing the Nevada Climate Change Advisory Committee.

Executive orders are required to be filed with the Nevada Secretary of State; the filed copy is considered the original.  In addition, governors since the time of Governor Russell have retained a copy with their gubernatorial records.  Most Nevada governors issued few executive orders during their terms of office.  Governor Jim Gibbons issued a total of 64 executive orders during his four years in office, ranging from a low of twelve in 2010 to a high of 23 in 2008.  They are arranged chronologically by date of issue.