Of the 63 newly drawn districts, only four place incumbents against one another. Almost half of those eight incumbents, however, are either termed out or not planning on running for reelection.
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Behind the Bar
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Experts warn that district drawing is not destiny, and while Republicans will now face more of an uphill battle under the new maps, it doesn’t necessarily mean that Nevada will lose swing state status.
The final deal was sealed up in a Sunday morning meeting in the state Capitol — all four legislative leaders, budget committee chairs and top Republicans on those committees (Sen. Ben Kieckhefer and Assemblywoman Jill Tolles) met with Gov. Steve Sisolak and his staff, agreeing to the rough contours of the “deal” to pass the mining tax with enough Republican votes in tow.
The payments, according to a preliminary report produced by the state Department of Taxation, will distribute about $10 million from the state’s general fund, $7.25 million to school districts and the K-12 budget account, and about $7.31 million to local governments. Those payments also resulted in the waiver of about $4.3 million in penalties and $8.1 million in interest, for a total of about $12.46 million.
The Assembly Ways and Means Committee approved AB416 Wednesday, a bill sponsored by the Assembly Education Committee that would authorize a legislative audit to comb through a specific slice of financial records for the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) dating back to fiscal year 2019.
Going into the last week of the session, lawmakers moved to adopt an amendment authorizing county commissions to impose fees related to emission reduction — a change aimed at removing the constitutional requirement for a two-thirds vote on the bill, as it previously raised taxes and fees.
During its hearing in the Assembly Committee of Revenue on Tuesday, comments from lobbyist Mary Walker in neutral testimony, representing Carson, Douglas, Lyon and Storey counties sparked a conversation about tax revenue and future growth concerns in Storey County — the likely location of any Innovation Zone, as the concept backers Blockchains Inc. owns about 67,000 acres of land and spearheaded efforts in favor of the concept earlier this year. Blockchains did not testify in the committee hearing.
While AB213 does not include a fiscal note, bill sponsor Assemblyman Edgar Flores (D-Las Vegas) and Andrew Clinger, chief financial officer for the Nevada System of Higher Education, clarified that in order to create an alternative form and process for undocumented students to apply for the grant, the Nevada System of Higher Education will draw up to 5 percent of the Silver State Opportunity Grant program funds, which total $5 million a year allocated from the state general fund.
The bill to do that, AB482, was heard in the Assembly Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday and would require the secretary of state’s office to not renew a business licenses if they are informed by the state controller’s office that the business in question has an outstanding debt owed to a state agency that is currently in collections with the controller’s office.
Across the state, there have long been issues with the legal defense provided to indigent defendants — people with low incomes who are unable to obtain qualified, competent legal counsel on their own without substantial hardship. The state has been sued in the past over its sparse public defender system in its rural counties and has dealt with disparities in indigent defense from county to county.
Sen. Ben Kieckhefer (R-Reno) introduced an amendment to his bill, SB165, during a hearing in the Senate Finance Committee on Monday that would create an Esports Technical Advisory Committee with members appointed by the board. The previous version of the bill would have created an independent Esports commission with oversight powers within the Department of Business and Industry.
Three Assembly members — Steve Yeager (D-Las Vegas), Sandra Jauregui (D-Las Vegas) and Tom Roberts (R-Las Vegas) — met as a somewhat rare election contest committee last week to hear and recommend dismissal of an official challenge by former Assembly Republican candidate Cherlyn Arrington, who lost her bid to Democrat Elaine Marzola by nearly 1,200 votes in the 2020 election.
The original version of the bill, SB367, would have imposed the 9 percent tax on Raiders and Golden Knights home games, but failed to pass out of committee by an April legislative deadline. However, the measure was granted a late waiver to legislative rules on Tuesday and was resurrected with a new amendment from Neal.
Members of the joint legislative budget committee during separate meetings earlier this month gave initial approval to the Legislative Counsel Bureau’s base budget, which for the upcoming biennium will equal about $73.8 million and funding for 290 full-time positions.
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) at first indicated that the bill would cost the agency an estimated $22.6 million for the biennium to implement, but Harris said the agency informally, through emails, had submitted an updated fiscal note that would bring down that amount to about $7 million after the bill was amended to only include traffic stops, not all kinds of stops. All other police agencies that had submitted fiscal notes on the bill withdrew them after the amendment was adopted.
With the last-minute addition of an amendment gutting several provisions that could have affected funding to UNR’s Cooperative Extension, the Senate Finance Committee voted unanimously Tuesday to approve SB287, a measure that would formally recognize UNLV and the Desert Research Institute (DRI) as land-grant institutions alongside UNR.
While Cannizzaro’s proposal to establish a state-managed public health insurance option has garnered significant attention, a lesser-noticed portion of the bill, SB420, proposes expanding certain Medicaid services in the state, including increasing eligibility of up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level for coverage for pregnant women, adding coverage for doulas (trained professionals who often assist in childbirth) and community health workers and requiring payment parity between advanced nurse practitioners and physicians.
SB390, a bill presented by Sen. Julia Ratti (D-Sparks) and sponsored by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, would create a state fund to house proceeds from opioid settlements, such as the $45 million Nevada is set to receive from the settlement of a lawsuit against consulting firm McKinsey & Company, which provided services for opioid manufacturers.