Connecting The Dots: Lobbyists Line Up Clients As 2017 Session Tees Off
Nevada lawmakers come and go, but one thing remains the same year after year in Carson City — the hordes of mostly well-dressed, well-spoken lobbyists who do their best to influence legislative outcomes.
So far, more than 350 lobbyists have officially registered to lobby the 79th session of the Nevada Legislature, and many more are likely to show up in the following weeks and months ahead.
Lobbyists play an outsize role in the lawmaking process, amplified by Nevada’s part-time Legislature and the effect of term limits, which means there’s a cadre of fresh faces each legislative session.
But there are no term limits for lobbyists, which means powerful groups and law firms like McDonald Carano Wilson, The Ferraro Group and Fennemore Craig are able to leverage long-standing relations and institutional knowledge to wield considerable influence for their many clients.
The Nevada Independent tracked and listed major lobbyist groups and who they’re representing this legislative cycle, as well as former lawmakers-turned-lobbyists and any others that caught our eye. Because lobbyists are still registering and the online database is still being added to, there are some notable firms missing from our analysis —Griffin Rowe LLP, R&R Partners and Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie to name a few — but listed below are some of the state’s biggest lobbying forces and the various interests they represent.
And, for more perspective, take a look at the below chart to see the connections between lobbyists, their clients and the lawmakers lobbyists donated to ahead of the 2016 election.
MAJOR LOBBYING FIRMS:
McDonald Carano Wilson: A law firm with offices in Las Vegas and Reno, McDonald Carano Wilson also has a government affairs division that will be representing more than two dozen clients this session, including the Oakland Raiders. Their lobbyists include Christiana Cabrera, Susan Fisher, Gov. Jim Gibbons’ former chief of staff Joshua Hicks, Kathleen Conaboy, Tyson Falk, Gov. Brian Sandoval’s former general counsel and policy director Lucas Foletta and Lauren Brooks.
- Aetna, a health insurance provider
- American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, a national cancer advocacy organization
- Beacon Trust, an investment management, planning and trust services firm
- Bennett Medical Services, a home medical equipment company providing services in Nevada and three other Western states
- Connected Nation, a technology organization that offers broadband planning services, from broadband mapping to public policy language
- Consumer Data Industry Association, an international trade organization with more than 120 corporate members focusing on the responsible use of consumer data
- Green Tech Action Fund, a nonpartisan not-for-profit grant making organization that promotes new markets for clean energy technology
- Infinite Campus, a student information system provider utilized by the Nevada Department of Education
- KTI, Inc., a Wyoming-based company that runs Public Safety Online, a web-based application that transmits video from camera systems directly to police, fire and other emergency responders or dispatch centers
- Nevada Homebuilders Association, representing residential construction industry interests across the state
- Nevada Mineral Exploration Coalition, a coalition of the exploration, research and development segments of the mining industry
- Nevada Museum of Art, an art museum in Reno
- Nevada Orthopaedic Society, an association of orthopaedic practitioners in Nevada
- Nevada Rural Housing Authority, a quasi-governmental unit not subject to the state’s budgetary process that promotes, provides and finances affordable housing opportunities for rural Nevadans
- Nevada State Apartment Association, a nonprofit organization that advocates for the multi-housing industry in Nevada.
- Nevada State Board of Professional Engineers & Land Surveyors, the state board that reviews and approves applications for licensing professional engineers and land surveyors.
- Nevada State Board of Osteopathic Medicine, a statewide association of doctors of osteopathic medicine
- Oakland Raiders, the NFL team whose owner Mark Davis wants to build a $1.9 billion stadium in Las Vegas and relocate the team there
- Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority, the owner and operator of the Reno-Tahoe International and Reno-Stead airports.
- Secundo Vita, a development company behind a 17-acre project in downtown Reno
- Southern Nevada Home Builders Association, a trade organization representing more than 500 members working in various aspects of the homebuilding industry.
- Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, a nonprofit that promotes greater energy efficiency in Nevada and five other Western states.
- SunStreet, a solar and home automation technology company; Jeremy Susac, the company’s vice president of government affairs, chairs the Nevada Governor’s Technical Advisory Committee for Distributed Generation and Storage and the Nevada Solar Energy Industry Association
- Teachers of Tomorrow, a teacher certification program that was approved in November as an alternative route to teaching licensure in Nevada.
- Willing Bequest, an online service that provides legal forms and legal information
- YMCA of Southern Nevada, a local branch of the national community organization
by Megan Messerly and Riley Snyder
About McDonald Carano
In 2024, McDonald Carano celebrates 75 years of serving Nevada’s legal, business, government, and civic communities. More than 60 lawyers and government relations professionals serve state, national, and international clients from our offices in Reno, Las Vegas, and Carson City. McDonald Carano provides legal services and government affairs and advocacy counsel to startups, corporations, trade associations, nonprofits, public entities, high-net-worth individuals, investors, and public-private partnerships throughout Nevada. We are proud to be your Nevada law firm since 1949.
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