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Nevada Government Affairs & Advocacy Nevada Update – July 15, 2020

Government Affairs Daily Update

July 15, 2020

Our Government Affairs & Advocacy Team is dedicated to keeping you informed throughout the 31st special session of the Nevada Legislature.

Special Session Day 8

Status of Legislation (As of 4:45 p.m. July 15)

Passed:

SB 1– Senate Bill 1 cancelled various capital improvement projects. A list of projects being cut can be found here. Status: Passed unanimously in both the Senate and Assembly.
• SB 2– Senate Bill 2 authorizes the Nevada Board of Regents to temporarily change eligibility requirements for the Millennium Scholarship. Status: Passed unanimously in both the Senate and Assembly.
• SB 4– This bill would allow the state to take out a temporary line of credit. Status: Passed unanimously in both the Senate and Assembly.
• 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 unanimously in the Assembly and passed 20-1 in the Senate. Senator Ira Hansen (R) voted No.

In-progress:

• AB 1– This bill provides for certain changes in state worker contracts, requiring one-a-month furloughs and putting a freeze on merit-based pay increases. Status: Heard in the Assembly and awaiting a vote.
• AB 2– This would allow unused dollars from individual schools to be redistributed to the Clark County School District. AB 2 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: Heard in the Assembly and awaiting a vote.
• SB 3– This 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 and awaiting a vote.

Assembly Hears Budget Cut Bill – The Assembly Committee of the Whole held a bill hearing on Assembly Bill 3 Wednesday afternoon, which delineates all the proposed budget cuts throughout state departments and agencies for Fiscal Year 2021. Prior to the hearing, Clark County submitted a fiscal note on the bill, saying the “funding is simply not available” in the county’s budget to absorb the recommended $3.5-million reduction in child welfare services to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Another notable cut to DHHS’s budget is a flat 6-percent reduction in Medicaid reimbursement rates. The cut to Medicaid, as well as cuts to K-12 education, are among the most contentious of the cuts being proposed. Substantial written testimony was submitted by state department employees prior to the hearing, namely from the Department of Taxation, which is subject to 23 layoffs according to the proposed budget cuts. As expected, there was no public comment in support of the bill and opposition testimony was inundated with state employees, education advocates and concerned community members. A vote on the bill is expected later tonight or tomorrow before moving to the Senate.

The ten largest cuts to state agency budgets are:

  1. Department of Education: $162.9-million (10.5-percent)
  2. Department of Health and Human Services – Health Care Financing and Policy (Medicaid): $140.4-million (14.9-percent)
  3. Nevada System of Higher Education: $109.6-million (15.8-percent)
  4. Department of Health and Human Services – Aging and Disabilities Services: $30.2-million (14.9-percent)
  5. Department of Health and Human Services – Public and Behavioral Health: $16.9-million (10.8-percent)
  6. Department of Health and Human Services – Welfare and Supportive Services: $15.7-million (16.7-percent)
  7. Department of Public Safety: $12.6-million (17.5-percent)
  8. Department of Health and Human Services – Child and Family Services: $9.4-million (6.6-percent)
  9. Department of Taxation: $4.2-million (10.9-percent)
  10. Department of Conservation and Natural Resources: $3.9-million (9.6-percent)

A full list of all proposed budget cuts can be found here: Budget Cuts by Department

COVID-19 Status Report

Nevada Unemployment Improves Since May – A new report from the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR) shows unemployment in the state down over 10-percent since hitting an all-time high of 28.2-percent in April and 25.3-percent in May. The job growth is attributed to the reopening of more businesses. Initial claims for standard unemployment dropped by 26,610 claims in June, approximately one-third of May’s initial claims. The state brought back nearly 73,000 jobs in the hospitality sector as casinos began to reopen last month and reported nearly 99,000 new jobs total. Nevada’s job growth between May and July was 8.6-percent, more than double the national average of 3.6-percent. The growth is largely a reflection of Nevada’s tourism-centered economy.

Walmart Mandates Face Coverings – Walmart will begin requiring customers to wear face coverings in all U.S. stores beginning next week, becoming the largest retailer to implement such a policy. To help with enforcement, Walmart will be stationing “health ambassadors” near the entrance of each store to remind shoppers of the requirement. These ambassadors will receive special training and will be equipped with complimentary face coverings for customers without one. Walmart has nearly 5,000 stores in the U.S., 65-percent of which are located in areas where there is already a state-imposed mandate on face coverings.

Numbers in Nevada – Daily positivity rate in Nevada for Tuesday was up to 21.20-percent, bringing the cumulative test positivity rate up to 8.39-percent. Hospitalization trends are also going up with 1,051 confirmed/suspected COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state. This is the highest hospitalization number seen in the state since the coronavirus outbreak began in March.

  • New Cases: 849
  • Current Hospitalizations: 1,051
  • Total Recoveries: 18,910
  • Total Tests Performed: 457,522

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