Nevada Government Affairs & Advocacy Nevada Update – July 10, 2020

Government Affairs Daily Update

Directive Issued to Close Bars in Certain Counties – The directive ordering food and beverage establishments to operate under Phase 1 restrictions in certain counties was issued Friday afternoon after Governor Sisolak announced the new policy in a press conference Thursday night. This directive requires bars to close and food establishments to block off designated bar areas. It additionally limits restaurants to serving parties of no more than 6 people and strongly encourages outdoor dining. The provisions apply to all bars and food establishments regardless of whether or not they are in a restricted or nonrestricted gaming establishment. In nonrestricted gaming establishments, employees can make drinks behind the bar top and cocktail servers can collect and distribute to patrons seated at tables, machines etc. The Governor’s Office, in coordination with the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, released the list of counties that will be currently subject to the directive as well as the criteria by which counties are measured. The state evaluates each county on a basis of three criteria: average number of tests per day, case rate and test positivity rate. Counties that meet two or more of the criteria measures are deemed to be an ‘elevated disease transmission risk area’ and are subject to the provisions of the directive. The seven counties that currently qualify are Clark, Washoe, Elko, Humboldt, Lander, Lyon and Nye.

Individual in Legislative Building Tests Positive for COVID-19 – An individual who has been in the legislative building during the ongoing special session tested positive for COVID-19 Friday afternoon. The identity of the individual has not been released. LCB Director Brenda Erdoes sent an email to legislators and staff advising those who are uncomfortable to begin participating remotely. The Department of Health and Human Services will be conducting contact tracing to mitigate potential spread. The news of the positive case caused significant delays in the Assembly. There is no word on whether this will further delay the special session.

Budget Bill Language – Language for Assembly Bill 3 was uploaded Friday morning after the bill was introduced on the Assembly floor Thursday afternoon. The legislation outlines where all of the state’s budget cuts in the General Fund will be. The bill is representative of the legislature’s primary task during the special session – to address and fill the budget shortfall for Fiscal Year 2021. The full text of the legislation can be found here: Assembly Bill 3

Hearing on Senate Bill 2 – The Senate held a hearing on Senate Bill 2 Friday morning, which would allow the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) Board of Regents to change eligibility requirements for the Millennium Scholarship for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. The scholarship program was created by former Nevada Governor Kenny Guinn and provides Nevada students merit-based scholarships for those going to school in-state. The authorization for the Board of Regents to make changes would allow adjustments to be made for the approximate 2,200 students who lost scholarship eligibility during the Spring 2020 semester in part due to circumstances brought on by distance learning. There was no action taken on the bill as there will likely be an amendment to sunset it. The full text of the bill can be found here: Senate Bill 2

Hearing on Senate Bill 4 – The Senate held a hearing on Senate Bill 4 Friday afternoon, which was presented by Nevada Treasurer Zach Conine. The bill makes several changes relating to the financial administration of the state, authorizing the State Board of Finance to issue interim debentures and revising provisions governing interest rates for certain state securities. No action was taken on the bill. The full text of the bill can be found here: Senate Bill 4

CCSD Board of Trustees Approves Reopening Plan – The Clark County School Board of Trustees unanimously approved the school district’s proposed reopening plans Thursday night after over five hours of discussion between trustees and school district representatives. The proposal was first presented to the Board of Trustees in late June. As required by the Department of Education, the proposal offers a plan for distance learning, in-person learning and a hybrid model of the two as the state remains undecided on students returning to classrooms in the fall. The district plans to pivot between the three approaches based on the status of COVID-19 in the state. The hybrid approach, which has students in school two days a week at distance learning the other three days, garnered criticism from both trustees and community members for the logistical challenges it presents to parents and teachers. Despite continued concern from certain trustees, action was taken on the proposal so the Department of Education has time for review and approval before the school year begins. It was approved with the caveat that allows the board to make tweaks after it’s given the green light by the state department. The document detailing the school district’s plans can be found here: Clark County School District Reopening Plans

State Unemployment Numbers – The state Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR) released updated unemployment numbers Friday morning, revealing there were more than 35,000 additional Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claims filed this week. The total initial PUA claims filed now sits at 307,749, however only 105,207 claimants have been paid thus far. DETR cites several claimants as being ineligible or having invalid paperwork as the reason for the delay in payments. In addition to PUA claims, there have been 540,834 standard unemployment claims filed in the state since the beginning of March.

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