The last week of Nevada’s 82nd legislative session was full of surprises. Join Marcos Lopez as he discusses:
- Which budget bills Gov. Lombardo passed and vetoed;
- What the last-minute amendments to AB400 were, and what they mean for the future of school choice in Nevada;
- Why there was a showdown over the capital improvement budget;
- Why there have been two special sessions called already; and
- What wins we saw this session.
To keep updated throughout the week on what is happening in Carson City, visit Nevada Policy’s bill tracker at nevadapolicy.org/bill-tracker.
Read the Transcript
Welcome to Under the Dome, presented by Nevada Policy. I am your host, Marcos Lopez, your Outreach and Coalitions Director. It’s approximately 2:01 PM on June 9th, 2023. So this will be likely our last Under the Dome, focusing on the regular session that came and passed this past Monday. As we look forward, we are currently in special session and we will touch briefly on that.
So sine die, as I mentioned, came and went on Monday night, and we’re already on our second special session. On today’s recap, we’ll go through a quick run through of the events since we last spoke and touch briefly on the current special session.
In our last discussion, we discussed the five major budget bills and we reviewed what was in them. On Wednesday, May 31st, we saw budget discussions come up at the 11th hour right, before a breakthrough was done on the K to 12 budget and the authorization budget for them to move forward. In conjunction the deal that was struck, we saw movement of two of the governor’s bills, AB 400, which was that education omnibus bill, and AB 330, which was the school safety bill.
It’s important to note that AB 400 was amended to have school choice provisions and the charter school provisions removed from the bill. AB 330 was attached to a competing school safety bill and saw a compromise right down the middle of where that original Democrat bill and the governor’s proposal were.
This set up the stage for Thursday on June 1st, where two more budget bills were on the governor’s desk, one being the state employee pay bill and the other being the appropriations bill, which is the bill that actually carries all the appropriations on the state budget that were made that year.
Lombardo signed the former and veto the latter. And then we saw that the appropriations bill was reintroduced almost identically, and after various votes and passages of other policy bills, it was once more brought before the governor and signed.
We will be analyzing the votes between the veto and the signing of the bill the second time to try to figure out what bills were part of the deal. We will include these findings on our biannual legislative recap and scorecard, which will be released around August of this year.
That brought us to our final showdown, which was on AB 521, the capital improvement project, which was the only bill that requires a two-thirds to pass related to the budget, mainly because there is a statewide property tax that is attached to that piece of legislation.
This is where school choice advocates such as ourselves were hoping that there might be concessions made by the Democrats for school choice measures. However, this did not materialize. It seems the Democrats were hell bent on dying on the hill that school choice would not move forward. So it’s with great sadness that we have to report that currently Nevada has lost its sole school choice program.
AB 521 would go on to trigger a special session, however, due to the Republican Senate caucus holding together against the bill, asking for funding for charter school pay raises and capital funding parody. The ensuing special session would last less than two hours the following day after sine die, when a separate bill was struck in which one of the Republicans broke ranks and voted to pass the bill onto the governor’s desk.
It begs the question, what led to this flip? It’s been largely radio silence from the caucus and other key individuals when we try to ask that question to figure out what it was.
Of course, they’re currently in a special session today. That was called the following day for the ballpark for the A’s in Las Vegas. Was that a coincidence or was it just the next item on the agenda to address? We can’t say with certainty at this moment what exactly was struck around that bill.
But since Wednesday, we have been in the special session all around the Las Vegas ballpark. While it currently does not seem that they have the enough votes to change and get this through, things change fairly quickly into legislature.
We are asking you to reach out to your legislators and reject this ballpark. We will have a measure up on our action center at Nevadapolicy.org that you can go to and reach out and urge your lawmakers to reject this stadium deal. It’s a bad deal for taxpayers and it’s a bad deal for Nevada.
Before we wrap up, I do want to note the successful wins this legislative session. Our movement has seen a greater success rate at the legislative body. While the Democrats still control both chambers, we have been seen the appropriate checks and balances from the office of the Governor, and we are sincerely grateful for that. In fact, the governor’s office is on pace to get pretty close to the former Governor Gibbon’s veto record of 48. At the time of this recording, he is somewhere in the low thirties, around 32 or 33.
Nevada Policy has been in communication with his office, and we have sent four different letters requesting various vetoes and approval signatures from the governor. We are pleased to inform you that as of today, 16 of our 18 requests have seen actions that are in line with our recommendations for the governor’s office.
We’re currently keeping an eye on another 20 bills to see what decisions are made on that. We feel very confident that the vast majority of our requests and recommendations to the governor’s office will be followed through in accordance with our recommendations. This is great news for Nevada and this is great news for Nevada Policy.
For a complete list of which bills are before the governor, which ones died on sine die, our position and the current governor’s action on our bill, you can go to Nevadapolicy.org/bill-tracker. We have everything on there about whether a bill was vetoed or signed, and what our recommendation was in the line with that.
As I wrap up, I want to thank you all for following our briefings in our live webinars. We will have at least two more of these this month. The first one will be for the conclusion of the Las Vegas A’s special session, and the second one will likely be an end of session webinar where we will continue to host key lobbyist and lawmakers to bring to you insider information of what is going on and h what happened over the session.
We are currently deciding if we want to make that end of session webinar a live event in both Southern and Northern Nevada. So please stay tuned and subscribe to our list to keep up to date with what we end up deciding on that. Thank you so much for listening, and we’ll have more information to go on how this podcast will transition moving forward for the interim. Thank you.
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Under the Dome: This Week in Carson City
An in-depth analysis of what is going on in Nevada’s government.
Produced by Nevada Policy,
featuring Nevada Policy’s Marcos Lopez.