Nevada Government Affairs & Advocacy Nevada Update – July 6, 2020

Government Affairs Daily Update

July 6, 2020

Our Government Affairs & Advocacy Team is dedicated to keeping you informed as we continue facing the novel coronavirus. We will provide daily updates, with additional resources available on our website.

State and Local COVID-19 Developments

COVID-19 Fiscal Report – In anticipation of a special session, Governor Steve Sisolak’s administration released the “Nevada COVID-19 Fiscal Report.” The Report outlines the fiscal impacts on the state budget as a result of the COVID-19 epidemic and sets out the broad scope of a plan to address the budget shortfall.

The administration’s broad plan to address the budget shortfall is as follows:

  • $24-million reduction in one-time appropriations
  • $26-million in reversions from Interim Finance Committee contingency funds
  • $84-million in transfers from various state budget accounts to the general funds
  • $10-million in anticipated revenues from a tax amnesty program
  • $54-million in accelerated revenues from an advance payment of the net proceeds of minerals tax
  • $11-million in transfers from the Attorney General’s litigation settlement account
  • $24-million in transfers from the highway fund to the general fund
  • $549-million in agency budget reductions, including: (1) $156-million in reduced categorical funding to K-12 education including cuts to the class size reduction program, read by 3 program, New Nevada Education Plan, teacher supply reimbursement, teacher incentive programs, school safety programs, financial literacy programs, college and career readiness programs; and (2) $233-million in reductions to the Department of Health and Human Services, including reductions to various optional Medicaid services and an across the board 6% reimbursement rate reduction
  • $51-million in savings from 12 furlough days for state and higher education employees
  • $28-million in savings from a freeze on merit salary increases for state and higher education employees
  • $72-million in cuts to the capital improvement budget, including $20-million for the UNLV engineering building
  • $30-million in reimbursement from the CARES Act

Specific details on the proposed budget reductions has yet to be released. The Governor issued a statement today stating that while he is not proposing any tax increases, he will be open to considering any legislative proposals to augment revenues. The special session is expected to begin on July 8.

OSHA Continues Business Observations – The release of a report from Nevada’s Division of Industrial Relations Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Monday showed that southern Nevada businesses have a 66-percent compliance rate for the use of face coverings. Comparatively, northern Nevada businesses were 84-percent compliant. OSHA has been conducting health observation at businesses throughout the state since Governor Steve Sisolak issued the public mask mandate June 26. Of the observed establishments in southern Nevada, 80-percent of casino floors and hotel bars were compliant, pools at hotel-casinos were 40-percent compliant, and the single water park observed was completely noncompliant. If noncompliance at a business is observed during an initial observation of an establishment, the business is provided with a written notice and request for voluntary compliance, and a follow up visit by OSHA officials will be conducted. If a violation is found during the follow-up visit, a notice of citation and fine up to $134,940 may be assessed, with the maximum penalty levied against an employer who willfully violates the directive.

COVID-19 Numbers in Nevada – Nevada reported the first decrease in COVID-19 hospitalizations for the first time in two weeks over the weekend, with the number of confirmed hospitalizations dropping by 37 to a total of 543 cases. However, an additional 205 hospitalized patients are suspected of having COVID-19, which would bring the combined total amount to 748 confirmed and suspected cases. As of Monday, 99 patients are on ventilators, up from 97 Sunday. Nevada’s one-day positivity rate as of Monday is at 9.8-percent, with the seven-day average positivity rate of 14.1-percent, well above the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommendation of 5-percent. While Nevada numbers look slightly better than the previous week, officials warn that an additional surge of cases could be on the horizon following the 4th of July holiday weekend.

COVID-19 Numbers in Nevada

These numbers are accurate as of 4:00 p.m. Monday, July 6
• There are 22,909 positive cases in Nevada
• This number is up 3,176 cases from Thursday
• Nevada has reported 537 fatalities from the coronavirus
• This number is up 12 cases from Thursday
• 376,887 individuals have been tested for the virus
• This number is up 35,424 cases from Thursday
• Further statistical data can be found here: DHHS Coronavirus Statistics in Nevada

National COVID-19 Developments

California Legislator Tests Positive for COVID-19 – The California state Capitol was closed Monday after an Assemblywoman and four others working in the building tested positive to COVID-19. Staffers and legislators met late June to pass the state budget, likely when the virus was spread to the five and potentially others. In a tweet Monday, Assemblywoman Autumn Burke (D-Marina Del Rey) announced that she received her test results Saturday after being told that she had a potential “mask-to-mask” exposure to an individual with COVID-19. Since March, California’s legislature has taken unprecedented measures to reduce the spread of the virus, including halting their legislative schedule from March to early May. Anyone entering the Capitol is required to undergo health screenings and temperature checks, in-person seating for public hearings has been limited, and elevators are limited to one person per ride. In contrast, the Nevada Legislature will not allow lobbyists or members of the public to attend hearings in person during the upcoming special session. The California Capitol will be closed for one week to undergo extensive cleaning.

Legislation Proposed to Help Pork Producers – Legislation on Capitol Hill has been introduced to appropriate $5-billion to help pork producers mitigate losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Introduced by Minnesota Republican Jim Hagedorn, the “Direct Pork Assistance Package Act” gives a new meaning to “pork barrel legislation”, allocating payments to independent pig farmers who have sold into an artificially depressed market. Pork producers have been hit especially hard due to COVID-19 after the closure of restaurants, the slash in demand for finer cuts of meat, and packing plant disruptions.

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