Nevada Government Affairs & Advocacy Nevada Update – July 20, 2020
Government Affairs Daily Update
July 20, 2020
Our Government Affairs & Advocacy Team is dedicated to keeping you informed and up to date with political and COVID-19 information in Nevada.
Special Session Comes to An End
Nevada’s 31st Special Session wrapped up Sunday night, addressing the $1.2-billion shortfall in the state’s budget caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The special session was one of the longest in history, spanning 12 days. While lawmakers had to make tough decisions to ultimately cut $1.2-billion in revenue to fill the budget hole, the final piece of legislation passed late Sunday, Assembly Bill 3, identified $138.6-million in state revenue to restore or partially restore some of the proposed cuts. These include:
- $49-million to retain certain Medicaid services, including dental, hospice services, behavioral health and supporting housing services
- $514,000 for pediatric intensive care
- $7.4-million for essential inpatient and outpatient mental health services across southern Nevada
- $1.4-million for behavioral health practitioners, intensive case management, and medication clinic in northern Nevada
- $1.5-million for behavioral health practitioners and housing support programs in rural Nevada
- $1.8-million for the Teach Nevada program
- $700,000 for computer science and technology program
- $25.8-million to reduce the number of announced furlough days for state employees from 12 to six days
- $14.3-million to reinstate merit pay for state employees
- $1.4-million to avoid certain state employee layoffs
As of 4:00 p.m. on July 20, the following bills passed by the legislature have been signed or are on the Governor’s desk:
- Senate Bill 1 – Revises provisions related to capital improvement projects – Signed
- Senate Bill 2 – Temporarily authorizes certain changes to eligibility requirements for the Governor Guinn Millennium Scholarship – Signed
- Senate Bill 3 – Temporarily accelerates the collection of a portion of the tax upon the net proceeds of minerals – Delivered to the Governor, expected to be signed
- Senate Bill 4 – Temporarily revises provisions governing public borrowing – Signed
- Assembly Bill 3 – Implements the vast majority of the budget changes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic – Enrolled, expected to be signed
Governor Sisolak called off plans for an immediate second special session until Nevada’s COVID numbers improve and conditions are safer for lawmakers. A second special session is likely to occur at a later time and potential topics include:
- Implementing criminal and social justice policy reform
- Ensuring Nevadans can exercise their fundamental right to vote in a way that does not dangerously expose them to increased risk of COVID-19
- Helping stabilize Nevada businesses and establishing safety standards for the workers keeping the economy going
- Removing statutory barriers impeding the work of Nevada’s unemployment insurance program
Nevada Announces Rental Assistance Aid
Beginning Monday, Nevadans facing financial hardships due to COVID-19 can now apply for rental assistance through the state’s CARES Housing Assistance Program (CHAP), with $30-million being distributed from CARES Act funds. The goal of the program is to help Nevada renters stay in their homes even after the statewide residential eviction moratorium expires on September 1 as laid out in Governor Sisolak’s Emergency Directive 025. The funds will be awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis and will be paid directly to landlords on behalf of tenants, a process being expedited in Clark County through a portal that allows property managers to pre-register. To qualify, a tenant must:
- Rent in Nevada, have an active lease and owe back-rent
- Be able to show that financial hardship has been suffered related to COVID-19, such as the loss of a job, a reduction in work hours or a reduction in pay
- The tenant’s household must have liquid resources totaling less than $3,000, with their gross annual income below 120-percent of the area median income
- Must not be currently receiving rental assistance through a federal housing voucher
Nevada COVID-19 Numbers
Nevada’s seven-day average positivity rate hit another all-time high Monday, reaching 20.6-percent, while the daily positivity rate stood at 16-percent. The state reported 948 confirmed cases, the first-time cases have been below 1,000 since July 14. Hospitalizations in Nevada are up to 849 people, and ICU hospitalizations also increased to 304. The state reported one additional death since Sunday, bringing the total number to 650. As daily COVID-19 cases in Nevada continue to increase, tourism in the state is decreasing, with daily visitation at Clark County casinos last week estimated to be 44-percent lower than the average visitation rate in February, before the pandemic wreaked havoc on the economy. The week prior there was a 38-percent drop.
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