Gov. Joe Lombardo’s office is looking to allocate $25 million to fund a program requiring state government agencies develop “language access plans” that explain state services and functions to non-English speakers.
Advocates are concerned that the impending loss of some rental assistance programs will contribute to an eviction crisis, as rising rents outpace the growth of wages in the state, and because the state has tens of thousands fewer affordable housing units than it needs.
For the first time in over four years, Nevada’s state government will be helmed by competing partisan arms: Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo to the right, Democratic majorities in the Legislature to the left.
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.