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Bills implementing $8.8 billion budget introduced as Legislature prepares to finish

Michelle Rindels
Michelle Rindels
Riley Snyder
Riley Snyder
Megan Messerly
Megan Messerly
Legislature
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Front of the Nevada Legislature building

As the 120-day legislative session draws to a close, lawmakers are close to completing one of their biggest remaining tasks — approving a two-year budget for the state.

On Thursday, four of the five bills implementing the $8.8 billion state budget were introduced and will begin making their way through the legislative process. Those bills included measures authorizing spending for all state agencies (SB553), roughly $278 million in construction and repair projects as part of the capital improvements program (AB541), a measure implementing state worker pay (AB542) and appropriations (AB543).

Money committees on Friday reviewed the K-12 budget bill (SB555).

Lawmakers are expected to introduce the remaining budget bill to fund the state’s K-12 budget account sometime on Friday. Nevada’s constitution requires that lawmakers approve funding for K-12 education before any other budget bill or appropriation.

Once drafted by legislative staff, the budget bills generally can’t be amended if legislators plan to close down the session within 120 days. Here’s a look at what the budget bills introduced so far this session include:

K-12 FUNDING (SB555)

This bill appropriates money for education, including:

  • Total public support of $10,227 per pupil in the first year and $10,319 in the second year of the biennium. That’s $878 above current levels in the first year and $970 above current levels in the second.
  • A basic support guarantee from the state of an average of $6,218 per pupil in the first year and $6,288 in the second. Clark County School District would receive $6,067 per pupil in the first year.
  • $45.5 million for school safety, including $32.7 million for social workers, $4.5 million for school police and $7.5 million for safety infrastructure for rural and charter schools
  • $140.8 million over the biennium for SB178 funding, which provides schools $1,200 a year extra for children scoring in the lowest quartile
  • $372.2 million for class size reduction over the biennium
  • $43.6 million over the biennium for Victory Schools, a program that provides extra funding for schools in the poorest ZIP codes
  • $100 million over the biennium for Zoom Schools, a program that provides extra funding for schools with a high rate of English language learners
  • $62.9 million over the biennium for Read by Grade 3

APPROPRIATIONS BILL (AB543):

This bill appropriates several billion dollars towards many projects and programs, including:

  • $77 million for the operations of the UNLV Medical School
  • $29 million for assessments and accountability within the Department of Education
  • $19.8 million for capacity building initiatives at the Nevada System of Higher Education
  • $17.4 million for the Autism Treatment and Assistance Program
  • $10 million to the Division of Forestry of State Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (through the Interim Finance Committee) for combatting fires
  • $10 million for the Silver State Opportunity Grant Program
  • $6 million for the Family Planning Account
  • $5.8 million to the Department of Corrections for housing prisoners out of state. Although Gov. Steve Sisolak has signed a bill banning private prisons, that measure won’t take effect until 2022.
  • $3.8 million for problem gambling
  • $2.5 million for the Knowledge Account and $6 million for the Workforce Innovations for a New Nevada account within the Governor’s Office of Economic Development
  • $1.6 million for the Office of Indigent Defense Services
  • $1.2 million to the Supreme Court of Nevada to fund the replacement of a web-based statewide case management system
  • $400,000 to the office of Grant Procurement Coordination and Management for a grants management system. The funds were allocated in the last two-year budget, but have been delayed amid an ongoing lawsuit.
  • $372,000 for the Office of New Americans
  • $250,000 for a school bus program funding transportation costs for public school students to attend state parks

CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS BILL (AB541):

This bill authorizes some $278 million in projects, including:

  • $76.8 million for health sciences building at the College of Southern Nevada
  • $61.9 million for education academic building at Nevada State College
  • $11.6 million for deferred maintenance projects in the Nevada System of Higher Education
  • $10 million for roofing projects statewide
  • $8.7 million for improving and expanding veterans cemeteries in Northern and Southern Nevada
  • $8.1 million for advance planning of a renovation at the Grant Sawyer state office building in Las Vegas
  • $4 million to replace locks and door controls at Ely State Prison
  • $3.5 million to complete the South Reno DMV Office
  • $1.4 million for visitor center and “comfort station” improvements at Valley of Fire State Park
  • $1.3 million for maintenance and Americans with Disabilities Act improvements at Fort Churchill State Park in Northern Nevada

AUTHORIZATION BILL (SB553):

Highlights of funding included in the bill over the next two years include:

  • $6.9 billion for Nevada’s Medicaid and Check Up programs
  • $1.1 billion for the Public Employees Benefits Program
  • $59.9 million for the Central Repository for Nevada Records of Criminal History
  • $41.6 million for the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange administration
  • $30 million for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program
  • $21.3 million for the Division of State Parks
  • $16.7 million for Southern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services
  • $16.7 million for the Autism Treatment Assistance Program
  • $10.5 million for Northern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services
  • $8.1 million for the UNLV School of Medicine
  • $4.4 million for the secretary of state’s office to implement the Help America Vote Act
  • $2 million to the Office of Historic Preservation
  • $1.7 million for the Nevada Catalyst Fund, a business development grant program

STATE WORKER PAY BILL (AB542):

The State Worker Pay Bill authorizes funds to carry out Gov. Steve Sisolak’s proposed 3 percent raise for state workers.

The bill allocates $62.9 million over the biennium in general fund dollars — $31.3 million in fiscal year 2020 and $31.6 million in fiscal year 2021 — and $13.5 million in highway fund dollars, including $6.7 million in fiscal year 2020 and $6.8 million in fiscal year 2021 — toward the cost-of-living adjustment. The raises will go into effect in July 2019.

Updated at 6:30 p.m. on May 31, 2019 to add information about K-12 budget bill.

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