Nevada Government Affairs & Advocacy Nevada Update – July 27, 2020

Government Affairs Daily Update

July 27, 2020

Our Government Affairs & Advocacy Team is dedicated to keeping you informed and up to date with political and COVID-19 information in Nevada.

State and Local News

Monday Governor Press Conference – Governor Steve Sisolak held a press conference Monday to give an update on Nevada’s COVID-19 response, announcing that three of seven counties can reopen bars and liquor establishments at 50-percent capacity, effective immediately. Addressing the public for the first time in two weeks, Governor Sisolak announced that Humboldt, Lander and Lyon counties can reopen, while Clark, Washoe, Elko and Nye counties must stay within the same measures for at least another week. The additional closures put in place earlier this month were in counties deemed to be at risk for elevated transmission, closing bars, pubs, taverns, distilleries, breweries, and wineries that do not serve food.

Governor Sisolak teased a new long-term plan that will be introduced next Monday to include a mitigation strategy for further businesses reopenings. The new components will include:

  1. Updated Criteria: Working with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to develop more in-depth, data driven criteria to better identify the presence and spread of COVID-19
  2. Predictability: Create a long-term system of mitigation levels to allow businesses and residents ample notice on what direction their county will be heading based on health criteria
  3. Enforcement: Ensuring businesses and communities enforce mitigation efforts to help reduce the spread of COVID-19
  4. Targeting: Pin-pointing mitigation efforts, including within municipalities and zip codes

Governor Sisolak additionally announced the formation of a new advisory group, led by Caleb Cage, Nevada’s COVID-19 Response Director, to work with public health officials, government agencies and municipalities, law enforcement and health care representatives to review weekly COVID-19 progress, enhanced enforcement strategies for businesses, and target areas to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. An additional directive will be announced before July 31 which will extend all current directives in place.

Finally, Governor Sisolak announced his intention to call lawmakers back to Carson City for another legislative special session, anticipated to gavel in Thursday. The Governor eluded to specific topics that may be on the agenda, including eviction moratoriums and in-person election voting. An agenda, however, has not been finalized.

Money Still Available for Rental Assistance – After announcing the allocation of federal CARES Act dollars for a rental assistance program in Nevada, only 3,085 applications from around the state were submitted in the first week, with significant funds still available. In March at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Sisolak implemented an eviction moratorium, with landlords unable to resume evictions on tenants for nonpayment until September 1. As effects of the pandemic continue, officials fear that mass evictions will ensue when the moratorium is lifted, clogging the courts. The funds through the CARES Act total $30-million with $5-million allocated to Reno/Sparks/Washoe County, $5-million to rural communities, and $20-million to Clark County. Clark County put in an additional $30-million to the program. Those who apply can receive payments for up to three months of overdue rent, with the money sent directly to landlords. Of the $30-million state portion, the program has enough to assist in nearly 15,000 months of rental payments.

Nevada Bar Exam Postponed – The Nevada bar exam has been postponed from Tuesday of this week until August 11 due to a glitch in the testing software. The two-day exam will be conducted remotely after the Supreme Court ordered in May for changes to be made due to COVID-19, including the elimination of 200 multiple choice questions and for the exam to be taken open book. The systematic glitch also affected Indiana, who was also scheduled to hold its bar exam Tuesday, and raises questions about remote administration. Nearly half of U.S. states will be offering the exam remotely this year, including some of the largest hotspots in the country, such as California, Texas, Florida and New York.

Republicans Propose New Unemployment Amount – Republicans and the White House are seeking to slash the weekly unemployment benefit by two-thirds as part of their newly proposed $1-trillion economic recovery package being rolled out this week, lowering the individual payments from $600 to $200. The plan also allows for another round of $1,200 direct payments to qualifying Americans, while shifting to a new system for calculated benefits that would cap payments at about 70-percent of a worker’s prior income, amounting on average to $200 per week. The current $600 weekly federal unemployment payments are scheduled to expire Friday, a deadline that Democrats on the Hill believe should be extended thorough the end of the year.

Nevada Travelers to Quarantine in Some States – With the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in Nevada, the state joins a growing traveler quarantine list dominated with other hotspot jurisdictions, such as Florida, Texas and New York. As of Monday, Nevadans traveling outside the state will be required to participate in a 14-day quarantine in eight states and the District of Columbia. If travelers do not abide by a state’s rules, a citation, monetary fine, or even imprisonment may incur. The following states in which Nevada travelers must self-quarantine for 14-days upon entering include: Connecticut, Illinois, Kentucky, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and the District of Columbia.

COVID-19 Numbers in Nevada –

Nevada reported an additional 997 COVID-19 cases Monday, bringing the total for the state to 43,831. Additionally, the statewide death toll rose to 739, up 17 over the weekend. The state’s infection or positivity rate, which is considered the best indicator of the trend in the outbreak versus new cases or deaths, continues to climb, reaching 9.88-percent Monday. The rate has been steadily increasing for 18 straight days and was last at its lowest point on June 17 at 5.20-percent.

Last week, Nevada reported 76 COVID-19 related fatalities, the highest since early April when 68 deaths were recorded. Forecasters predict the number of deaths over the next four weeks will exceed those recorded the previous four weeks, with the states of the greatest likelihood to be Nevada, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Utah. Forecasts also predict that deaths in Nevada will increase to between 800 and 1,300 by August 15.

Numbers –
New Cases: 997
Total Cases: 43,831
Current Hospitalizations: 1,112
Total Fatalities: 739

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