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Re-introducing the Sisolak Promise Tracker

Riley Snyder
Riley Snyder
State Government
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Few governors in Nevada history have likely experienced greater whiplash between legislative sessions than Gov. Steve Sisolak has experienced over the last three years.

In January 2019, buoyed by low unemployment and widespread Democratic gains in the 2018 midterms, Sisolak laid out a slew of long-held Democratic wish-list items in his State of the State address, including a minimum wage hike, a higher Renewable Portfolio Standard, state worker collective bargaining and raises for state employees and teachers.

Fast-forward two years, and the state is in a much different position. Unemployment skyrocketed amid the initial COVID-19 economic shutdown, and the state’s economy has remained sluggish amid the continuing effects of the pandemic. That perilous economic position was reflected in Sisolak’s State of the State speech and legislative agenda, with items largely focusing on the state’s economic recovery.

But as we did in 2019, The Nevada Independent will continue to track promises made by Sisolak through our updated Sisolak Promise Tracker, a feature we first unveiled before the 2019 Legislature and have since updated to reflect developments over the past two years.

So what’s new? We’ve added 12 new promises made by Sisolak in his 2021 State of the State speech, from rearranging community college governance to the development of “Innovation Zones.” We’ve also added some new functionalities, including the ability to filter promises by their status.

We’ve also updated and will continue to update the status of more than 30 promises or statements made by Sisolak on the campaign trail in 2017 and 2018. Though time has passed since those promises were initially made, keeping tabs on what Sisolak said on the campaign trail and what he actually delivered while in office will be a helpful resource for voters, especially as the governor heads into his 2022 re-election campaign.

Below, we’ve listed all the new promises we’ll be keeping track of during the 2021 Legislature, as well as a brief status note as to how they currently stand. All new promises have an “in progress” rating, as budget proposals still have to be approved by the state Legislature and policy proposals have not yet been introduced.

You can go directly to the updated Sisolak Promise Tracker page by clicking here.

If you have questions, see something that doesn’t look right or want to know more about why a promise is rated a certain way, feel free to reach out by emailing [email protected] or dropping a message on our contact page.

Small business assistance

Promise: Adding “$50 million in my budget” for an expansion of the small business assistance program

Status: The governor’s proposed budget includes a $50 million “one-shot” appropriation for funds providing “targeted assistance for eligible businesses, nonprofits and other entities impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Small Business Advocacy Center

Promise: Create a Small Business Advocacy Center to “be a one-stop location to help small businesses take advantage of the resources that exist and help them cut through the red tape.”

Status: Funding for a new Small Business Advocacy Center isn’t included in the governor’s proposed budget for the 2021-23 budget cycle. A bill creating such an agency has not been introduced in the 2021 Legislature.

New Clean Energy Investments

Promise: To “pass a bold energy bill establishing our commitment to increased transmission, storage, and distribution of all forms of clean energy.”

Status: No bill related to those topics has been introduced in the 2021 Legislature.

Innovation Zones

Promise: To create “Innovation Zones” that attract “new companies creating groundbreaking technologies,” with no “tax abatements or public financing.”

Status: No bill related to that topic has yet been introduced in the 2021 Legislature.

Nevada Job Force

Promise: Create a job training entity called the Nevada Job Force, which will involve some of “Nevada’s leading companies to fund, design, and implement training programs to prepare and qualify employees for these new jobs.”

Status: No bill creating the Nevada Job Force has yet been introduced in the 2021 Legislature.

Community colleges reshuffle

Promise: Transition the state’s community colleges to a “new independent authority that will focus on making Nevadans job ready.”

Status: No bill transitioning the state’s community colleges to a new independent authority has yet been introduced in the 2021 Legislature.

Remote Work Center

Promise: Establish a “new Remote Work Resource Center to connect Nevada workers with job opportunities across the globe.”

Status: Funding for a new Remote Work Resource Center isn’t included in the governor’s proposed budget for the 2021-23 budget cycle. No bill creating such an agency has yet been introduced in the 2021 Legislature.

Fund the State Infrastructure Bank

Promise: Add $75 million in the budget to fund the established but never-funded State Infrastructure Bank, so the state can “leverage outside capital to fund important infrastructure projects like rural broadband, renewable energy, and road improvements.”

Status: Sisolak’s proposed 2021-23 budget includes $75 million for the State Infrastructure Bank in the Capital Improvement Project budget account, which is typically used for building, repairs or maintenance of state-owned property.

DETR and unemployment

Promise: Will recommend to the Legislature to “modernize” computer infrastructure and “utilize private sector expertise to help Nevadans in need.”

Status: The Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation plans to modernize the state’s unemployment insurance program and shift to a new cloud-based system over the next two to three years, with an estimated cost of between $33 to $47 million, funded by penalties and interest accrued and collected by the department.

Increase share of federal grants

Promise: Increase the state’s share of federal grants by $100 million over the next two years, and by $500 million annually by 2026.

Status: Sisolak’s proposed 2021-23 budget doesn’t call for any substantial changes to the Office of Grant Procurement budget. It allocates about $550,000 each fiscal year for the office and its five staff. Democratic Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno is planning to introduce a bill that would create a new "Nevada Governor’s Office of Federal Resources" dedicated to increasing the state's share of federal grants.

Restore cuts to Medicaid budget

Promise: Restore the 6 percent cuts to Medicaid rates and reduced Neonatal Intensive Care Unit hospital service rates to “support Nevada families and providers.”

Status: Sisolak’s proposed budget restores the cuts to Medicaid and NV Check Up providers, as well as restoring the rate increase for Neonatal Intensive Care Units. 

Return students to in-person learning

Promise: “I will do whatever it takes to get our students back in the classroom.”

Status: As of January 2021, all school districts in the state save for the Clark County School District are offering some form of in-person instruction. Clark County School District plans to bring back small groups of students in late February or early March, but a timeline for any large move back to in-person instruction has not been established.

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