04 Jun 80th Legislative Session delivers progressive victories for Nevada
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 4, 2019
Contact: Will Pregman, firstname.lastname@example.org, 702.752.0656
CARSON CITY, NV – The Nevada State Legislature adjourned Monday night, concluding it’s historic 80th Session. For the first time in two decades, the business of the state was stewarded by a Democratic Governor, and Nevada became the first state in the nation to have a female-majority state legislature.
The Legislature passed several key pieces of legislation that progressive activists have been organizing around for years. However, the results of the Session also uncovered a few policy areas in which more work needs to be done to ensure we continue to make progress in Nevada. We are encouraged by the progress that was made and look forward to continuing our work over the next two years with our elected officials.
Executive Director of Battle Born Progress, Annette Magnus, issued the following statement:
“We saw a number of incredible pieces of legislation pass through the Legislature this session. In 120 days, the Legislature passed background checks on all gun sales, prioritized public education, passed good clean energy and conservation policy, ensured better access and security for our electoral process, made progress on economic justice, and once and for all, took positive steps to begin to reform our criminal justice system, made healthcare and prescription drugs more affordable, just to name a few. This is a very impressive list of accomplishments.
Governor Steve Sisolak delivered on his promises and we commend his leadership this session to help move Nevada forward.
We are also thankful for the leadership of Speaker of the Assembly Jason Frierson and Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro for making great progress on these issues. In particular, we are impressed with their handling of education funding this session, putting forward a very ambitious budget proposal which permanently extends the modified business tax as a revenue source. By contrast, their Republican colleagues refused to come to the table to support eliminating the sunset on a tax many of them have supported in the past, and instead opted to vote against funding public schools, school safety, and educator salaries. Choosing between funding education and giving a tax cut to corporations should not have been difficult. And yet, the Republican leadership in both Houses could not bring themselves to make the right choice.
While we celebrate the many victories we achieved this session, it’s important to recognize where some of our expectations fell short of being met. First and foremost, the Legislature backed away from repealing state preemption for gun laws that would have empowered County Commissions to enact life-saving, common sense policy in the aftermath of the October 1st mass shooting. This will be a priority that we plan to pursue the next session.
Similarly, while we are appreciative of the first steps to expand solar access this session, the Legislature missed an opportunity to give low-income Nevadans a pathway to true, community-led energy development in the form of community solar. This program passed the Legislature in 2017 but was vetoed by the previous Governor. We will continue our work on this issue until we have a real community solar program in Nevada.
Additionally, the Governor’s veto of legislation to sign Nevada onto the National Popular Vote interstate compact was disappointing, as the bill would have been a step toward ensuring that a person’s vote for President would matter regardless of geography or party affiliation.
Finally, when it comes to funding our public schools, the Legislature regrettably left out educators and community stakeholders in crafting a new education funding formula and continued to fund Opportunity Scholarship vouchers. The result, even after an amendment, was a formula that included no new funding, an overall decrease in funding to rural schools, and less support for Zoom and Victory schools. We will continue to call for a more equitable funding formula and a complete end to the Opportunity Scholarship program.
Overall, we are pleased with the progress we have been able to make this session and we will work to advance our core issues as an organization in the interim so that we can continue to move our agenda forward in future sessions.”
ABOUT Battle Born Progress’ legislative work: Throughout the Session, Battle Born Progress employed a communications strategy encompassing lobbying, grassroots action, coordinating traditional and social media coverage, and activating our 20,000+ subscriber network in support, or opposition, to legislation. Acting as the primary liaison between legislative leadership and allied organizations, we led partner groups in messaging, strategy, and accountability, and assisted partners with additional communications or lobbying support. Battle Born Progress also worked in coalition with the following groups on many of our legislative priorities: Nevada Conservation Network, Let Nevadans Vote, Renew NV, and Time to Care NV.
Legislative accomplishments included:
- (SB143) Enacted universal background checks on firearm purchases.
- (AB456) Raised the minimum wage to $12 per hour over the next 5 years, giving approximately 300,000 Nevadans a raise.
- (AJR10) Resolution to create a ballot question increasing the minimum wage to $12 per hour and removing the two-tiered system in which employees with health benefits may be paid less than the minimum wage.
- (SB312) Mandates earned paid time off for workers. (Time to Care NV priority)
- (SB358) Creates a 50% renewable portfolio standard by 2030. (Renew NV and Nevada Conservation Network priority)
- (SB504) Appropriates funding for education and outreach for the 2020 Census. (Let Nevadans Vote priority)
- (AJR6) Resolution to oppose the inclusion of a mandatory citizenship question on the 2020 Census. (Let Nevadans Vote priority)
- (AB450) Counts incarcerated felons at their last known address for the purpose of redistricting. (Let Nevadans Vote priority)
- (AB431) Restored rights to 77,000 formerly incarcerated felons and allows automatic restoration of voting rights upon completion of a felon’s sentence. (Let Nevadans Vote priority)
- (AB345) Makes Nevada’s election system more modern, secure and accessible with the adoption of a same-day voter registration system, in addition to many other electoral best practices. (Let Nevadans Vote priority)
- (AB50) Transitions municipal elections to even-numbered years. (Let Nevadans Vote priority)
- (SB450) Reforms the recall election petition gathering process to ensure harsher regulations on penalties for fraudulent signatures. (Let Nevadans Vote priority)
- (AB84) Reauthorizes conservation bonds for maintenance and preservation of trails, waterways, and historic monuments. (Nevada Conservation Network priority)
- (AB486) Establishes the Office of Outdoor Recreation. (Nevada Conservation Network priority)
- (SB135) Allows state workers to collectively bargain over wages and working conditions. (AFSCME and labor allies’ priority)
- (SB179) Decriminalizes abortion in Nevada. (NARAL Pro-Choice America and allies’ priority)
- (AB458) Eliminates the annual tax credit increase funding the Opportunity Scholarship program.
- (SB551) Makes permanent the modified business tax in order to create a sustainable revenue stream for public education, adding millions of dollars to school safety, on top of funds allocated to the Distributed Savings Account (DSA), setting aside $72 million for educator pay raises all over the state, and removing the Education Savings Account vouchers (ESA) from the Nevada Revised Statutes .
- (AB236) Enacts various sentencing reforms aimed at reducing recidivism and prison overcrowding. (PLAN and ACLU priority)
- (AB170) Codifies protections for preexisting conditions consistent with those in the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
- (SCR10) Commissions an interim study on the feasibility of a public healthcare insurance plan.
Areas of concern referenced in this statement include:
- (AB291) The language we helped craft to repeal state preemption of firearm laws was removed from the final version of the bill.
- (AB186) In spite of a robust digital and communications campaign we ran in support of the National Popular Vote interstate compact, this bill was vetoed by the Governor
- (AB465) While crafted messaging in support, the bill to expand solar access did not go far enough to create a real community solar program.
- (SB543) The proposed education funding formula lacked a new source of funding, decreased funds for rural schools, and reduced support for Zoom and Victory schools.
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