Understanding and responding to the business and legal impacts of COVID-19

Government Affairs & Advocacy Nevada Update – March 23, 2020

Our Government Affairs & Advocacy Team is dedicated to keeping you informed of pertinent information as we continue facing the novel Coronavirus. We will be providing daily updates on the matter over the course of the next few weeks.

Please continue to refer to our Firm website for resources and information:

McDonaldCarano.com/coronavirus

New State and Local Guidance

Governor Signs New Directives – Governor Steve Sisolak signed three additional Declaration of Emergency Directives between Friday and today. These directives achieved the following:

  • Expiration dates on all non-commercial and commercial driver licenses, instruction permits, identification cards or Driver Authorization Cards are extended for a period of 90 days. This applies to expiration dates that fall between March 16 and April 30 of this year;
  • County school districts, charter schools and private schools may reopen no sooner than April 16 and all state testing requirements are suspended;
  • For purposes of the Open Meeting Law, the requirement for a physical meeting location for meetings of public bodies is suspended. The public must be allowed an opportunity to participate by phone or similar means.

All of the Governor’s signed directives can be found here: Governor Sisolak Emergency Declaration Directives

COVID-19 Response, Relief and Recovery Task Force – Sunday afternoon Governor Sisolak held a press conference to announce the creation of the COVID-19 Response, Relief and Recovery (RRR) Task Force. The Task Force will be led by former CEO of MGM Jim Murren, who had announced earlier that day that he would be stepping down effective immediately. According to Governor Sisolak, “the Task Force will be charged with assessing the physical assets and human capital available in the private sector, then helping organize the deployment of those resources in support of the State of Nevada and the Nevada Health Response Center efforts.” Further details on the composition of the Task Force is expected to come in the next few days.

Governor Sisolak’s full comments on the Task Force can be found here: RRR Task Force Announcement

Distance Education Plans Approved, Clark County Struggles – Sixteen of Nevada’s seventeen school districts and all of Nevada’s charter schools have received approval for its distance education plans as of Monday morning. Clark County School District has not yet submitted a proposal for distance education or an extended school year, citing its inability to guarantee access to all students. The Clark County School Board met Monday morning to discuss its plan and ultimately the voted for Clark County Superintendent Jesus Jara to work with the Nevada Department of Education to develop a distance learning plan. The Board left the language broad in its motion, noting that the district will “provide distance education to the best of their ability.”

Clark County – The Clark County Commission called an emergency meeting Friday night in order to enable local agencies to enforce Governor Sisolak’s directive to close non-essential businesses. Violation of the order is punishable by suspension or revocation of a business license, an administrative fine of $1,000 or a criminal misdemeanor.

City of Las Vegas – After originally stating that the order was unconstitutionally vague, the City of Las Vegas will now comply with Governor Sisolak’s directive to prosecute non-essential businesses. Following the Governor’s order on Friday which left the decision to invoke penalties for non-compliance to local governments, City Attorney Jerbic stated there was nothing he believed they could enforce. After deliberation and consultation of the language of the law with Attorney General Aaron Ford, the City has agreed to prosecute violators as public nuisances.

City of Reno – Public attendance has been prohibited the regularly scheduled city council meeting on March 25. The City has provided both online and over the phone options to participate in public comment.

Three Nevada Mayors Sign Letter Requesting Financial Aid – Mayor Carolyn Goodman of Las Vegas, Mayor Debra March of Henderson and Mayor Hillary Schieve of Reno joined over 300 mayors nationwide in signing a letter requesting $250 billion in federal funds to help fight the coronavirus outbreak in local jurisdictions.

Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance – The LVGEA is partnering with the Small Business Administration (SBA) to host a disaster assistance webinar Tuesday, March 24 at 2 p.m. The webinar will address how the coronavirus is affecting small businesses and provide detail on the low-interest disaster loan program. Click here to register: LVGEA/SBA Webinar

New Essential vs. Non-Essential Clarification on Liquor Stores and Gun Sellers – The Governor’s Office issued a memorandum on Sunday clarifying that retailers that sell packaged alcoholic beverages are deemed non-essential. However, per a 2007 state law that prohibits additional restrictions as to the lawful possession, transfer, sale, carrying, storage, display or use of” firearms, ammunition or firearm components in a declared state of emergency, gun retailers have not been specifically ordered to close.

COVID-19 Relief Fund in Northern Nevada – In cooperation with Washoe County, City of Reno and City of Sparks, the Community Foundation opened a charitable relief fund to address needs arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. It will provide grants to individuals, businesses, governmental services and charitable nonprofits.

Federal Government Developments

Today marks day eight of the White House’s 15-day plan to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Congress in Standoff Over Coronavirus Stimulus Bill – Democrats stood together for the second day in a row Monday morning to block a $2-trillion coronavirus relief bill introduced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. They argue the bill disproportionately benefits corporations and lacks necessary aid to individuals, families and health care providers. Speaker Nancy Pelosi unveiled the House’s own version of an economic stimulus bill Monday afternoon, named the Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act. President Trump announced in a press briefing Monday afternoon that negotiations are moving forward, though it is unclear which stimulus package will prevail or whether it will be a hybrid of the two.

Three Members of Congress Test Positive for COVID-19 – Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) announced Sunday that he has tested positive for the coronavirus. He joins colleagues Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Florida) and Rep. Ben McAdams (D-Utah) who both announced their positive test results last week. Many members of Congress have opted to self-quarantine out of precaution, adding further roadblocks to passing critical legislation.

IRS, Treasury and Labor Implement Tax Credits for Businesses – The U.S. Treasury Department, Internal Revenue Service, and U.S. Department of Labor announced a tax credit program for small and mid-size employers designed to reimburse them for the cost of providing coronavirus-related sick leave to employees. More information is provided in the official press release: IRS News Release COVID-19

COVID-19 Numbers in Nevada

  • Positive COVID-19 cases in the state increased to 245 since Friday’s report of 154. Clark and Washoe are the only two counties to report new cases.
    • Washoe County has 25 confirmed cases and two (2) full recoveries.
    • Elko County has two (2) confirmed cases.
    • Douglas County has two (2) confirmed cases.
    • Carson City has two (2) confirmed cases.
    • Nye County has one (1) confirmed case.
    • Clark County has 151 confirmed cases.
  • The Southern Nevada Health District announced two additional COVID-19 fatalities in Clark County Monday afternoon, bringing both the countywide and statewide total to four (4).
  • Over 4,000 tests have been performed across the state.
  • Further statistical data can be found here: DHHS Coronavirus Statistics in Nevada

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