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

Government Affairs & Advocacy Nevada Update – March 27, 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

 


State and Local News

Quick Facts: Nevada Hospitals Seeing an Uptick in Patients

  • As of Thursday, of all the licensed hospital beds in Nevada, 67% are in use
  • 72% of Intensive Care Units (ICU) are in use, serving a mix of heart, cancer and COVID-19 cases, among other conditions
  • 51% of the state’s Airborne Infection Isolation Rooms are in use, up 10% from last week
  • 47% of all available ventilators are in use, up from 31% last week
  • The announcement of the full makeup of the Governor’s COVID-19 Response, Relief and Recovery Taskforce led by former CEO of MGM Resorts, Jim Murren, will be made on Monday, along with the groups’ mission statement
  • One of the main functions of the task force is going to be to raise money

Governor Sisolak Press Conference – Governor Steve Sisolak held a public information briefing Thursday evening with Dr. Shadaba Asad to answer questions submitted by the public regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Asad provided helpful guidance on ways to maintain social distancing, properly sanitize your hands and take additional precautionary measures. As students remain out of school, Dr. Asad advised children to continue seeing their peers in small groups while ensuring at least 6 feet of distance and not playing with community playground equipment. For adults, regular walks and exposure outside is encouraged. Dr. Asad and Governor Sisolak also put up a united front in response to questions regarding President Trump’s goal to reopen business by Easter, saying they will continue to follow the directives of health professionals and Nevada will remain on its own timeline.

Nevada Receives an “A” In Staying Home – Start-up company Unacast has begun collecting and analyzing phone GPS locations to determine whether residents are changing the behavior and staying put at home. The company is able to receive the data through games, shopping and utility apps that tens of millions of Americans have installed on their phones, information they typically obtain in order to analyze for retailers, real estate firms and marketers. Unacast assigns a letter grade to counties and states based on how much residents have changed their movement. Nevada was one of four states on the first day of released data to receive an “A,” a grade given to places that show at least a 40% decrease in the average distance traveled.

A Budget Hole Reminiscent of 2008 – During the Great Recession, Nevada suffered significantly after the burst of the housing bubble. Jobs were lost, the stock market was volatile, and stimulus measures had to be taken. Today, we are facing a similar impending scenario. With a special session potentially looming on the horizon to address the economic holes in the State General Fund, here is a look back on where the money came from during two Special Sessions in 2008:

24th Special Session – June 27, 2008

  • $4-million from the Disaster Relief Account
  • $3.5-million from the Fund for Mortgage Lending
  • $800,000 from the amount held in reserve for the Program to Issues Revenue Bonds for Industrial Development
  • $4-million from the amount held in reserve for the Central Repository for Nevada Records of Criminal History
  • $4-million from the Fund for Care of Site for Disposal Radioactive Waste
  • $3.5-million from the revolving account within the state General Fund establish by the Division of Emergency Management of the Department of Public Safety
  • $195-million to the General Fund from the Fund to Stabilize the Operation of the State Government
  • $72-million from the General Fund from the Fund to Stabilize the Operation of the State Government

Total: $268.8 million

Six months later, a second Special Session was called to help continue filling the gap:

25th Special Session – December 8, 2008

  • $1,016,355 from the Nevada Economic Development Fund
  • $2,835,000 from the Fund for the Promotion of Tourism
  • $3.5-million from Low-Income Housing
  • $250,000 from the Homeowner Disaster Relief Fund
  • $4-million from the Estate Tax Account in the Endowment Fund
  • $300,000 from the Fund for the Support Division of Museums and History
  • $5-million from the Millennium Scholarship Fund
  • $500,000 from the Emergency Assistance Subaccount within the Disaster Relief Account
  • $800,000 from the Account for Services for Persons with Impaired Speech or Hearing
  • $25-million from the Indigent Accident Account
  • Not to exceed $1-million from the Pollution Control Account
  • Not to exceed $25-million from Annual Slot Receipts
  • Not to exceed $14-million from the Account for Verification of Insurance
  • $550,000 from the Account for Education Recovery Relating to Manufactured Housing
  • $259,000 from the Recovery Fund
  • $3.5-million from the Account for Pensions for Silicosis, Diseases Related to Asbestos and Other Disabilities
  • $800,000 from the Public Utilities Commission Regulatory Fund

Total: $88,310,355 (if maximum amount of money was received)

Unfortunately, even these fund reallocations were not enough to avoid further budget cuts and tax increases in the 2009 session. So far, Governor Sisolak and legislative leadership have only said that the possibility of a special session is “on the table.”

 


Federal Government Developments

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

CARES Act – The U.S. House of Representatives today passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). The $2.2-trillion package is aimed at supporting jobless Americans, boosting businesses, and providing support for healthcare workers. The measure passed quickly by a voice vote in the House and was immediately transferred to President Trump’s desk, who signed it right away. The stimulus package is believed to be the largest in U.S. history.

All relief payments are expected to begin issuing April 6th, and will be sent electronically rather than in cash, to the extent possible. In order to receive the support, a person must make less than $75,000 as an individual or $150,000 as a couple. People who made more than $99,000 and households totaling $198,000 or more in income reported on their 2018 tax returns will not be eligible. Highlights from the legislation include:

  • $1,200 cash payments to most Americans
  • $500 cash payment to most families for each child
  • $500-billion for companies, states, local and tribal governments
  • $367-billion to help small businesses
  • $150-billion for hospitals

 


COVID-19 Numbers in Nevada

These numbers are accurate as of 4:00 p.m. Friday, March 27th.

  • There are 535 positive cases in Nevada.
    • Clark County has 443 confirmed cases. Of those, 80 are hospitalized.
    • Washoe County has 67 confirmed cases. Two (2) are hospitalized and four (4) have recovered.
    • Carson City has four (4) confirmed cases.
    • Douglas County has four (4) confirmed cases.
    • Elko County has three (3) confirmed cases.
    • Lyon County has one (1) confirmed case.
    • Nye County had one (1) confirmed case. The patient has recovered and been cleared from self-isolation by state health officials.
    • Humboldt announced today that they have one (1) confirmed case.
  • Nevada has reported ten fatalities from the coronavirus, all located in Southern Nevada.
  • Over 6,000 people have been tested.

Further statistical data can be found here: DHHS Coronavirus Statistics in Nevada


About McDonald Carano

McDonald Carano has helped to shape the Nevada business and legal landscape for 70 years. With more than 60 lawyers and government affairs professionals in our offices in Las Vegas and Reno, we are Nevada's law firm for business. We proudly represent Fortune 500 companies, financial and governmental institutions, fast-growth and mid-market companies, entrepreneurs, start-up ventures, non-profit organizations and individuals. Our attorneys deliver cross-discipline, one-stop, commercial law and government affairs counsel. Our dedication to clients, innovative thinking and practical solutions based in sound business and legal judgments are at the heart of our practice. For more information, visit mcdonaldcarano.com, call 775.788.2000 (Reno office), or 702.873.4100 (Las Vegas office) or reach us by email at info@mcdonaldcarano.com.

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