Vote Nevada Supporters,
The next legislative deadline is the second house committee passage on Friday, May 19th. Bills that are not exempt and do not pass affirmatively out of committee in the second house are dead. All bills must then be passed on the floor of the second house by May 26th to stay alive. The last day of the regular session is June 5th. (I feel like I should say, “May the odds be ever in your favor.” )
According to the Nevada Constitution, the legislature must approve education funding first, before any other budgets. This was added to our constitution to ensure education funding couldn’t be held hostage in partisan battles over other issues. (See: Nevada Constitution Article 11, Sec. 6)
Currently, education funding has not been approved due to one main issue. The Governor is providing $2.3 billion for public education, but he is also proposing greatly expanding the Opportunity Scholarships program, which allows businesses to offset their state tax obligation by contributing funds to a scholarship account. The scholarships are then made available for students who wish to attend a private school, but who cannot afford the tuition. The Democrats disagree with funding Opportunity Scholarships by diverting tax revenue away from the general fund.
You can read about the Opportunity Scholarship program here: https://doe.nv.gov/Private_Schools/Nevada_Choice_Scholarship_Program/
And here: https://www.leg.state.nv.us/Division/Research/Documents/RTTL_NAC388D.070_2021.pdf
And here: https://thenevadaindependent.com/article/democrats-press-governors-office-on-bill-to-expand-school-choice-hold-back-students
Both sides have equal power to block the other side from achieving their priorities, so, we will need to find some middle ground to ensure our children benefit from this cycle’s large general fund surplus.
Both sides are considering their “base” as they navigate possible negotiations, but it is useful to note that all Nevadans are represented in our legislative processes not just the “base” on either side. So, over the next week or so, as our elected leaders meet to address the state’s education needs in meaningful ways, let’s do our part to focus on finding a middle ground.
And a gentle reminder: Name-calling and personal attacks fall under the ad hominem fallacy. Addressing the merits of the argument, not the character of the arguer is the civic engagement standard.
We still haven’t seen a bill that proposes public funding for the A’s baseball stadium, but we do know that the team owners have switched their focus to the Tropicana Hotel site. Under this proposal, the hotel will be replaced.
Related, last Thursday, Senator Roberta Lange introduced Senate Bill 496, which proposes providing $190 million per year in tax credits for twenty years if Sony Pictures Entertainment moves some production work to Nevada. You can read more about this story here: https://thenevadaindependent.com/article/proposed-massive-expansion-of-film-tax-credits-aims-to-attract-industry-to-vegas
On the Vote Nevada priority legislative front, Assembly Bill 37, which creates the behavioral health workforce center in the Nevada System of Higher Education, is technically scheduled for Tuesday, May 16th, in Assembly Ways and Means at 6 pm. Our main advocate is Dr. Sara Hunt, and she is hearing that the bill may be moved to Thursday instead; so, as soon as we see or hear confirmation on the hearing’s day and time, I will send out an email alert.
Here are updates on other events happening this week:
Tomorrow, May 15th, at 1:30 pm, the Carson City Democratic Men’s Luncheon speaker is Christina Lopez. Christina is filling in for former Lt. Governor Kate Marshall and will be speaking about Assembly Bill 250, which caps the price of critically needed prescription drugs at Medicare levels. If you would like to attend via Zoom at 1:30 pm, please email Rich Dunn at richdunn as one word and then @aol.com
The Board of Regents governs the Nevada System of Higher Education statewide, so, anything that happens at any higher education institution must align with NSHE Code and policies. As workforce development programs run through higher education, once the Governor signs this legislative session’s workforce bills, the Regents will assume responsibility for their implementation.
While we are waiting for those bills to be signed into law, if you are interested in watching and/or participating in the Regents’ meetings, here are the web pages you’ll need to use. You can watch a live stream of Regents meetings from the main page on the day of the meeting.
Here is the NSHE main page: https://nshe.nevada.edu/
And here is the Upcoming Meetings page: https://nshe.nevada.edu/regents/upcoming-meetings/
Of particular interest, this week is the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access Committee meeting on Wednesday, May 17th, at 1 pm. The Committee Chair is Regent Laura Perkins. This committee is where we would start to ensure Nevada’s higher education policies and Code align with our newly passed state Equal Rights Amendment.
If you would like to provide public comments either through a written statement or by testifying in person, information on how to do both is on each meeting’s agenda on the Upcoming Meetings page.
On Saturday, May 20th, from 10:30 to 11:30 am, at the Arts Café, 719 N. Nellis Blvd, Vote Nevada is hosting a neighborhood chat session with eastside residents. We are going to chat about specific Eastside issues we can address through civic engagement.
Such as, the Eastside is now a heat island because we removed too many trees through the xeriscaping program. What is being done and what can we do to address this issue? The eastside also lacks sufficient civic spaces to host community meetings, yet, we have a mothballed K-Mart store slowly becoming an eyesore at Bonanza and Nellis. Is this a solution? And how will we gather community feedback when companies try to build warehouses on Lamb and Nellis Blvds.? We need a plan for that.
The Summer of Civics meetings and initiatives are already taking shape. We will start on June 10th by reviewing this legislative session’s outcomes to see what passed, what died, and what failed to receive a hearing. Bills that passed will need implementation, bills that died may need fixes applied to ensure they pass in 2025, and we need to discuss whether a partisan process that blocks bills from even one committee hearing really reflects the principles of representative government.
If you would like to join us for this discussion on June 10, 2023, via Zoom, from 9 to 10:30 am, please RSVP here: https://vote-nevada.news/Legislative-Roundup-2023
The big Summer of Civics initiative this year will focus on sports equity, specifically pay equity and media support. As we know, the Las Vegas Aces WNBA Team is the reigning world champions and the UNLV Lady Rebels won back-to-back Mountain West Championships, but did you also know that the Pyramid Lake Girls Basketball team finished 7-0 in the Western League 1-A? And UNR Track and Field’s team member Emily Costello won a gold medal in the 200-meter dash, smashing the old record by 6 seconds.
Anyone who is interested in this effort can help research the issues of pay equity and media coverage, map out a social media plan to raise awareness of these issues, and then engage in civic processes that address these issues.
The WNBA All Stars Game will be in Vegas on July 15th, so, that week we will have a perfect window of opportunity to get our message out. I will send out information on how to join this working group as soon as the Spring semester wraps up this week. We will do most of our work virtually, so, everyone can join.
Lastly, and related to this, I will be in Reno on May 30th and Carson City on May 31st and would love to chat with my Northern neighbors about your civics/community improvement ideas we can tackle this summer.
If you’d like to stop by on May 30th in Reno, I will be at Craft Wine & Beer, 22 Martin St, Reno, NV 89509, from 6 to 7 pm. And on May 31st, I will be at Old World Coffee Lab, 301 N. Curry Street, Carson City, 89703, from 3 to 4 pm.
For either event, RSVP by texting 702-803-1569.
Thanks, as always, for being Nevadans with me,
Vote Nevada: Solving Problems with Civics
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