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

Nevada Government Affairs & Advocacy Nevada Update – July 14, 2020

Government Affairs Daily Update

Special Session Day 7

Status of Legislation (As of 5:30 p.m. July 14) –

  • AB 1 – This bill provides for certain changes in state worker contracts, requiring one-day-a-month furloughs and putting a freeze on merit-based pay increases.   Status: Heard and awaiting a vote on the Assembly Floor.
  • AB 2 – AB 2 would allow unused dollars from individual schools to be redistributed to the Clark County School District. This bill has been the source of friction between the Legislature, the Clark County School District and the Governor.   Status: On hold on the chief clerk’s desk in the Assembly and not expected to move.
  • AB 3 – The bill provides a look at the state’s proposed department budget cuts for Fiscal Year 2021.   Status: Awaiting a hearing in the Assembly.
  • SB 1 – Senate Bill 1 cancels various capital improvement projects.  Status: Passed unanimously in both the Senate and Assembly.
  • SB 2 – Senate Bill 2 authorizes the Board of Regents to change eligibility requirements for the Millennium Scholarship.   Status: Passed unanimously in both the Senate and Assembly.
  • SB 3 – The legislation would mandate advanced payment of net proceeds on mineral taxes, reallocate future funds from the highway fund to the general fund, and implement a tax amnesty program.   Status: Heard in the Senate but not yet voted on.
  • SB 4 – This bill would allow the state to take out a temporary line of credit.   Status: Heard in the Senate but not yet voted on.
  • AJR 1 – The Assembly introduced Assembly Joint Resolution 1 on the floor Tuesday, which urges the President and Congress of the United States to provide flexible funding for state, local and tribal governments to account for anticipated public budget shortfalls as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.   Status: Passed the Assembly unanimously.

IFC Approves Federal CARES Act Dollars – The Interim Finance Committee (IFC) met for several hours Tuesday morning, which is why lawmakers did not begin their legislative proceedings until 2:30 p.m. The committee met to approve additional relief to state departments through federal CARES Act dollars. Among those departments set to receive federal funding is the Department of Business and Industry, Department of Education and Department of Health and Human Services:

Business and Industry: The committee unanimously approved a $50-million program for rental assistance that would provide direct payments to landlords of qualifying renters. $30-million of the program is reserved for residential tenants while the remaining $20-million is reserved for commercial tenants. While the funds will initially flow to the Department of Business and Industry, it will be pushed out to local housing authorities to distribute. These authorities will retain a 10-percent administrative fee from the program and are already working to prequalify renters.

Health and Human Services: Within the dollars allocated to the Department of Health and Human Services is over $800,000 in funding for meal assistance for children who couldn’t receive free and reduced lunch as a result of school closures. The program, named the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (Pandemic EBT), will allow the 302,000 Nevada students who qualify for free and reduced lunch to use government benefits to purchase food items at certain grocery stores.

Education: Over $3.3-million in CARES Act dollars for the Department of Education will help fund three emergency contracts to develop capacity and supportive resources for Nevada’s school districts and charter schools to aid in distance learning initiatives.

Las Vegas Bars File Lawsuit Against Sisolak’s Closure Order – Several bars in Las Vegas filed a lawsuit against the state Tuesday, challenging Governor Sisolak’s latest Directive to close bars and bar areas in restaurants in seven counties across the state, including Clark County. The Directive, which went into effect last Friday, July 10 at 11:59 p.m., ordered all food and beverage establishments in counties deemed to be high-risk to return to Phase 1 requirements. Additionally, restaurants are encouraged to implement outdoor dining and cannot serve parties of more than 6 people. The lawsuit seeks relief to reverse the Directive, noting bars and food establishments reportedly have one of the highest rates of mask-wearing enforcement among those industries reviewed by OSHA. The lawsuit claims there is no evidence that rising cases of COVID-19 can be singularly attributed to Nevada’s food and beverage industry. Governor Sisolak said his decision was based on advice from both the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Health and Human Services.

Governor and State Superintendent Call-Out CCSD Boss – Governor Steve Sisolak and Nevada State Superintendent Jhone Ebert issued a joint statement Tuesday regarding Assembly Bill 2 (“AB 2”), stating the request for the bill originated from Clark County School District Superintendent Jesus Jara, highlighting Jara’s purported “dishonesty” and lack of leadership during the bill hearing. The bill, which would allow unused funds from individual schools to be redirected to cover CCSD’s budget deficit, was heard Saturday and received substantial criticism from both lawmakers and community members during public comment. During the hearing Jara stated the request for the bill originated from the Department of Education, rather than the school district. Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson disagreed, noting it was, in fact, the school district that requested the legislation before asking that it be withdrawn two hours before the start of the special session. The Governor and Superintendent Ebert’s comments called out Jara’s lack of accountability in the midst of a controversial special session where cuts to K-12 funding are center-stage, stating Clark County students, staff and families deserve better. AB 2 was placed on the chief clerk’s desk in the Assembly on Monday, a likely indicator that the legislation will not move forward.

 

COVID-19 Status Report

Coronavirus Cases and Hospitalizations Trend Up – Nevada saw an increase in both daily positivity rate and hospitalizations for COVID-19 overnight. The state’s daily positivity rate is 16.10-percent, bringing the state’s cumulative test positivity rate up to 8.24-percent. Hospitalizations increased by 30, bringing the total to 983 confirmed and suspected COVID-19 cases. Tuesday also saw the biggest single-day increase in cases overall with 1,021 new cases in Clark County alone, setting a new record for the county.

Numbers

There 29,620 positive cases in Nevada

  • This number is up 1,044 from Monday.

Nevada has reported 612 fatalities from the coronavirus.

  • This number is up 16 from Monday.

There have been 18,910 recoveries in Nevada.

  • This number has not gone up since Monday.

452,381 tests for COVID-19 have been performed.


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