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Nevada Government Affairs & Advocacy Nevada Update – July 19, 2020

Government Affairs Daily Update

July 19, 2020

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

Special Session Day 11

Status of Legislation (As of 5:00 p.m. July 19) –

Passed:
• SB 1– Senate Bill 1 cancelled various capital improvement projects. A list of projects being cut can be found here. Status: Passed the Senate and Assembly unanimously.
• SB 2– Senate Bill 2 authorizes the Nevada Board of Regents to temporarily change eligibility requirements for the Millennium Scholarship. Status: Passed the Senate and Assembly unanimously.
• 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: Passed 19-2 in the Senate and 32-10 in the Assembly.
• SB 4– Senate Bill 4 authorizes the State Board of Finance to take out a temporary line of credit. Status: Passed the Senate and Assembly unanimously.
• 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 unanimously in the Assembly and 20-1 in the Senate.
Failed:
• AB 4– The bill reduced the allowable deductions to the the mining tax. The bill required a supermajority vote in each house because it raised state revenues. Status: Passed the Assembly on a 29-13 party-line vote and failed in the Senate on a 13-8 party-line vote, one vote shy of two-thirds.

In-progress:
• AB 1– This bill provides for certain changes in state worker contracts, requiring one-per-month furloughs and putting a freeze on merit-based pay increases. Status: Heard and awaiting a vote on the Assembly Floor.
• 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: Passed 36-6 in the Assembly. Heard and awaiting a vote in the Senate.

Sisolak Statement on Second Special Session – Governor Sisolak issued a statement Sunday afternoon that provided clarity on the possibility of a second special session to address policy issues, noting that it will not be immediately following the end of this special session. He cited the state’s upward trend in positive COVID-19 cases as the primary reason for delaying a second special session, saying the state is in a dangerous situation. Governor Sisolak said he still intends to call a second special session not only once it’s safe to do so, but also once the Legislature has had a chance to thoroughly review potential policy items and approach the second session organized and efficiently. Several issues were identified by Governor Sisolak as potential topics to be taken up, including social justice reform, voter protections amid the pandemic, and protective policies for businesses, workers and unemployed Nevadans.

Amendment to Assembly Budget Bill – After passing an omnibus budget bill on a 29-13 party-line vote Saturday night, Assembly Democratic leadership rescinded the vote and added an amendment Sunday morning that dedicated federal dollars toward education, persuading several Republican lawmakers to vote in favor of the bill the second time around. Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson said Friday the vote on Assembly Bill 3 (AB 3) was rescinded to discuss the allocation of unused federal CARES Act dollars toward schools after Assembly Bill 4, which would have generated funding for education, fell one vote short of the necessary two-thirds in the Senate. The amendment to AB 3 provides $50-million to assist children disproportionately affected by the pandemic and allows individual schools to apply for block grants through the Department of Education. The amended legislation swayed seven Republican lawmakers and the bill passed in the Assembly a second time on a 36-6 vote. Governor Sisolak issued a statement in support of the amendment that awards money to education, thanking the legislature for finding efficient use for CARES Act dollars. tThe bill was immediately transmitted to the Senate to be heard today.

Bill to Tax Net Proceeds of Minerals Fails Again – The Senate moved to rescind the vote on Assembly Bill 4 Saturday night and introduced an amendment that would have diverted funds to education in hopes to win over Republican lawmakers who voted against the measure. Republican Senator Keith Pickard was reported to have struck a deal with Senate Democrats Saturday morning, but backed out claiming the money being directed to education was insufficient. The revival of the bill, as well as GOP senator’s indecision, garnered spirited remarks from both Democrat and Republican colleagues on the Senate Floor. Pickard addressed his vote flip on the floor, saying he wrongfully committed to the bill and made a mistake. The amended version of the bill, which also would have changed the 60-percent deduction cap on net proceeds of mineral taxes to only apply to mines with $10-million or more in gross proceeds, failed for a second time on a 13-8 party-line vote that fell one short of the two-thirds necessary to raise revenue.

Democratic Leadership Holds Press Conference – Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro and Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson held a joint press conference Sunday afternoon to address Democratic leadership’s plan to close out the special session. Cannizzaro noted the upcoming hearing for Assembly Bill 3 in the Senate and said she hopes her Republican colleagues will vote yes on the measure. The bill, however, does not require a two-thirds approval and can pass without a single Republican vote. In addition to the $50-million allotted to education in AB 3, Frierson and Cannizzaro are hopeful the state will receive additional federal funding for education as current CARES Act dollars in the state are being split among other state programs such as rental assistance. Neither lawmaker divulged information regarding potential topics to be taken up in the second special session.

COVID-19 Status Report

Nevada COVID-19 Numbers – Nevada’s cumulative positivity rate is trending upward again on Sunday, hitting a high of 9.24-percent after a week of daily positivity rates in the 20-percent range. Hospitalizations in the state had a slight uptick overnight and currently sit at 1,045 confirmed and suspected COVID-19 patients.

  • Daily New Cases: 1,174
  • Total Cases: 35,767
  • Current Hospitalizations: 1,045 (+39 from Saturday)
  • Total Recoveries: 23,510 (+0 from Saturday)
  • Total Fatalities: 647 (+0 from Saturday)

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