Nevada Government Affairs & Advocacy Nevada Update – July 13, 2020
Government Affairs Daily Update
Special Session Day 6
Status of Legislation –
- AB2– The Assembly convened Monday morning to move Assembly Bill 2 (AB2) to the clerk’s desk, indicating the bill may not move forward. AB2, which would allow unused funds from individual schools to be redistributed to the Clark County School District, did not receive much support from legislators during its hearing on Saturday and received substantial opposition in public comment from parents, teachers and community members.
- SB1– This bill, which provides substantial budget cuts to capital improvement and public works projects, was voted out of the Senate Committee of the Whole Monday afternoon after its initial hearing on July 9. A look at which projects are being cut can be found in the committee exhibit here. It was approved by unanimous votes in committee and on the Senate Floor. The bill is expected to have a first reading in the Assembly and be heard sometime this week.
- SB2– SB2, which would provide the Nevada Board of Regents the authority to make adjustments in the requirements for the Millennium Scholarship, was also voted out of the Senate Committee of the Whole Monday afternoon. The bill was heard in the Senate on July 10. An amended version of the bill makes adjustments to the length of time in which the provisions may apply following a declared state of emergency in the state. It was amended and approved by unanimous votes in committee and on the Senate Floor. The bill is expected to have a first reading in the Assembly and be heard sometime this week.
Both the Senate and Assembly will reconvene Tuesday, July 14.
Legislators Continue Work Virtually – Thirteen lawmakers – twelve Assembly members and one Senator – participated virtually on Monday after an individual in the legislative building tested positive for COVID-19 last week. Remote participation was authorized by the legislature in the rules for this special session in the event legislators were exposed or high-risk individuals opted to participate virtually in precaution. The positive case prompted delays in both houses on Friday, however neither house met on Sunday.
Protect Nevada Jobs Campaign – The Vegas Chamber, Nevada Resort Association, Retail Association of Nevada and others launched the #ProtectNVJobs campaign over the weekend, pushing lawmakers to take up legislation that would take action to protect employers from liability lawsuits. The campaign aims to build a coalition of Nevada businesses that hope to reopen safely and in compliance with CDC and state regulations, without fear of liability lawsuits from employees or customers. The issue of employer liability is one that would likely be taken up during a second special session dedicated to tackling policy issues, however there is no confirmation on when that might be. In order for there to be an additional special session, either Governor Sisolak must issue a proclamation or the Legislature can vote to call one with a supermajority. There is no requirement for any amount of notice to be given before calling a special session. Employer liability is just one issue that may be taken up in addition to social justice and police reform.
COVID-19 Status Report
Nevada Hospitalizations Hit Record High – Nevada set a new record for COVID-19 hospitalizations over the weekend as the number of both confirmed and suspected cases reached 953. The numbers are the highest seen since April 8, when hospitalizations reached a peak of 711. In just a week, hospitalizations have increased by 104. The number of Intensive Care Unit (ICU) patients also reached some the highest numbers seen so far during the pandemic, with 250 patients in ICUs and 107 on ventilators. Nevada is reporting 832 new COVID-19 cases as of Monday. In total, 28,515 cases have been confirmed with 593 deaths.
DETR Employee Tests Positive – An employee with the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR) who had been working in the Las Vegas unemployment insurance call center has tested positive for COVID-19, prompting the agency to close the facility for deep cleaning. The employee is self-quarantining, while additional staff have been notified through contact tracing efforts. With the southern Nevada office location closed, all claims will be routed to call center staff in the Carson City office, adding more of a burden to the already overwhelmed system. Nevada continues to lead the nation in unemployment claims with the highest rate, as DETR announced last week that the state is at 20.9-percent unemployment rate. The closure of the Las Vegas center will not impact those applying for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), as those callers are taken care of by a different call center.
California Issues Order for Closures –Governor Gavin Newsom ordered the closure of certain indoor businesses and services for the second time during the COVID-19 pandemic on Monday afternoon after cases in the state continue to rise. The order applies to more than 30 counties which make up approximately 80-percent of the state’s population. All bars, gyms, places of worship, malls, personal care services, barbershops, salons and non-critical offices fall under the new order, while restaurants, wineries, tasting rooms, family entertainment centers, zoos, museums, and card rooms must suspend all indoor activities. Governor Newsome said in a press conference Monday, “we’re moving back into a modification mode of our original stay-at-home order. This continues to be deadly disease.” The announcement came just hours after the state’s two largest school districts in Los Angeles and San Diego announced they will not reopen for in-person instruction when the 2020-2021 school year begins in August. California has reported more than 320,000 COVID-19 cases and more than 7,000 deaths since March, when the state became the first to impose a mandatory stay-at-home order to slow the spread of the virus. Cases in California began rising in early June and have increased by 48-percent in the past two weeks.
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