06 Jun Battle Born Progress Reacts to 82nd Legislative Session
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 6, 2023
Contact: Amber Falgout, afalgout@battlebornprogress, 775.657.0433
Battle Born Progress Reacts to 82nd Legislative Session
Obstruction from Republicans and Governor Lombardo Hurt Nevada
CARSON CITY, NV – The Nevada Legislature adjourned the 2023 Legislative Session at midnight on June 5, 2023. In the final minutes of the session, we saw obstruction from Minority Leader Heidi Gansert fueled by partisan politics. Republicans have played politics with our state budget and they have failed their constituents. Vouchers and charter schools are not sufficient reasons to hold up bills like AB521. Gansert called this “pork” on the floor, yet every part of AB521 is a needed investment in our state.
AB521 was part of a package of budget bills making historic investments in Nevada. AB521 would have provided an estimated $120.8 million in veterans homes and memorial improvements, $11.7 million for public safety improvements, and $60.3 million for healthcare and child welfare — among other improvements.
While we saw several incredible bills passed this session, we also saw harmful policies and tax breaks for wealthy corporations introduced — and, thankfully, not make it over the finish line thanks to the fierce advocacy of everyday Nevadans. This includes Senate Bill 509, which was introduced just a week ago and heard on Memorial Day. This bill would have allocated $380 million in public funding for Oakland A’s financing of a new stadium in Las Vegas, NV. Additionally, we saw the introduction of SB496, which outlines significant film tax credits to be used as an enticement to bring film and television to the Silver State. While neither of these bills progressed or were passed, we will continue to monitor any further developments on the irresponsible allotment of our taxpayer dollars.
As we approached the final days of this whirlwind session, Governor Lombardo signed three budget bills after threatening to veto them if his priorities were not included. Thanks to strong leadership with Senate Majority Leader Cannizzaro and Speaker Yeager, SB503, the K-12 education budget was passed and signed by the Governor on May 31st. Additionally, the Governor signed AB522, state worker pay, and SB504 an appropriations bill.
In a partisan and childish move by Governor Lombardo, he refused to sign the Appropriations Act, AB520, which allocated funding for highway patrol, Medicaid, the Victims of Crime Program, and other essential services Nevadans rely on. This move shows his dedication to partisan politics and his ignorance of the legislative process. The budget process takes compromise. Legislative leadership worked with Governor Lombardo’s Office on the budget bills for months. Despite their hard work, the Governor obstructed the budget process by refusing to sign AB520. This harms our state and Nevada families, who depend on services and programs allocated in each of the budget bills. However, the Governor signed SB511 which included the exact same language when it was again sent to his desk.
To date, Governor Lombardo has vetoed over 30 bills. This includes AB250, which he vetoed on the final day of session. AB250 sought to address the high cost of prescription medications. This measure prohibits a person or entity that purchases or seeks reimbursement for a drug that is subject to a maximum fair price from paying/seeking more than the maximum. As we know, Nevadans are struggling with the high cost of groceries, rent, gas, and prescription drugs. AB250 sought to address this but Governor Lombardo decided to veto this measure in yet another example of his refusal to address pocketbook issues that are severely impacting Nevada households.
Annette Magnus, Executive Director of Battle Born Progress, said:
“In many ways, this legislative session was a mixed bag for our issues. I’m so proud of the work our organization could accomplish this session through direct lobbying, tracking over 500 bills, coaching advocates and volunteers with personal stories to testify, hosting a weekly live stream on various legislative issues and bills, advocacy both inside and outside the building, coordinating press conferences, interviews, and op-eds featuring community leaders, crafting messaging and digital content for our network, using our expertise to train partner organizations on the process, and using our knowledge and relationships within the building to be a resource and an asset to our fellow progressive partners. Through our hard work, we saw a number of bills passed and signed. However, we have also seen critical pieces of legislation passed and vetoed. This disturbing trend has continued in the days leading up to Sine Die and we hope that the Governor does not continue vetoing bills that will improve the lives of everyday Nevadans. We saw ridiculous tactics used by Minority Leader Heidi Gansert tonight as she called a critical budget bill, AB521, ‘pork’ and criticized it for not adequately funding charter schools. We have news for her, vouchers and charter schools are not worth holding up funding for veteran’s homes, public safety and more.”
“We are thankful for the leadership of both Assembly Speaker Steve Yeager and Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro, who moved forward important legislation to address postpartum care, abortion, gun safety, voting rights, climate change solutions, prescription drug costs, wildlife corridors, and more. Many of these bills required tough fights. Some required long hours of negotiation between lawmakers and stakeholders that we participated in and facilitated with our partners.”
“On our core issue of gun violence prevention, we once again cherish the leadership of Assembly Floor Majority Leader Sandra Jauregui for carrying two bills aimed at addressing gun violence, AB354, and AB355. AB354 sought to protect Nevadans by cracking down on dangerous ghost gun loopholes and protect our election workers and Nevadans’ right to vote by prohibiting guns in polling places. AB355 sought to make Nevadans safer by prohibiting anyone under 21 years old from owning an assault weapon with exceptions for members of the armed forces and law enforcement. Both measures sought to increase public safety. We are grateful to the Assemblywoman for her leadership and dedication to addressing gun violence. We also worked with Senator Dallas Harris on SB171 which sought to prohibit anyone convicted of a hate crime from owning, purchasing, or possessing a firearm for 10 years. It horrified us to see Governor Lombardo veto AB354, AB355, and SB171 on May 17th, 2023. This move shows the unwillingness of Governor Lombardo to address public safety in a real and meaningful way. We look to Assemblywoman Jauregui and Senator Dallas Harris to continue leading the charge to end gun violence and improve public safety. We also want to thank our partners, Giffords, Brady, and Everytown for their support of our gun safety bills. These bills were a group effort and we cannot thank our partners and elected leaders enough.”
“With the help of the Let Nevadans Vote Coalition, we saw several election bills passed this legislative session. Recently, Governor Lombardo signed SB406, which aims to prevent intimidation and harassment at polling locations. We are thankful the Governor signed this important piece of legislation. We assisted the coalition in drafting talking points, covering hearings, and sending press materials throughout the session. This is all a part of our dedicated work to improving elections in Nevada. Also a part of that work is AB286, which allows eligible voters who are detained in jail, awaiting trial, and yet to be convicted, the opportunity to exercise their constitutional right to vote. This measure makes it clear that the people who have been accused but not convicted of a crime are able to exercise their constitutional right to cast their ballot. We look to Governor Lombardo to sign this measure swiftly to ensure all eligible voters are able to cast their ballot.”
“We commend Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro for sponsoring SB131, a measure protecting out-of-state abortion seekers in Nevada and those providing reproductive care, regardless of other state policies that restrict abortion access. Last year, after Roe v. Wade was overturned by the Supreme Court, and many other states began restricting or outlawing abortion, Governor Steve Sisolak issued an executive order to protect providers and out-of-state patients visiting Nevada to obtain an abortion. With SB131, this executive order is codified, which means an incoming administration can not change it. We applaud Governor Lombardo for signing SB131 into law.”
“Concerning our work to protect our public lands and natural habitats, one of our key legislative priorities, AB112, focused on wildlife corridors to create safe migratory areas and protect wildlife. A majority of Nevadans are in favor of protecting wildlife in our state and this bill provides the resources to ensure secure migratory areas for Nevada’s many native species. We took an active role in assisting our partners to develop talking points, place op-eds, and recruit support for this measure. Wildlife corridors, also known as ecological connectivity corridors, are essential pathways that allow animals to move freely between habitats, ensuring their survival and genetic diversity. By facilitating unimpeded movement, these corridors establish vital links between ecosystems, helping to maintain healthy populations and enabling natural processes such as migration, foraging, and breeding. Furthermore, they enhance the resilience of ecosystems in the face of climate change and other environmental pressures. We are honored to help lead this effort with our partners at Nevada Conservation League. AB112 passed unanimously in the Nevada Senate on June 3rd. We are hopeful Governor Lombardo will sign this measure quickly.”
“We were happy to see SB419, the Hope Act, pass both houses of the Legislature at the eleventh hour, on the last day of the Legislature with bipartisan support. SB419 expands healthcare coverage for Nevadans despite their immigration status. Increased access to insurance, will lower the likelihood that individuals in our state go without vital health care services. This is a great step forward and we encourage Governor Lombardo to sign this bill.”
“While we saw a number of legislative victories this session, including our successful campaign to thwart SB509, which would have allocated $380 million in public funding for the Oakland A’s new stadium in Las Vegas. As we did in 2016, we vehemently opposed SB509 because we believe public funding should not finance projects for wealthy corporations. Simply put public funding should support public programs and services. It is disgusting that we continue letting private corporations socialize their costs and privatize their profits. Nevadans deserve far better and we are excited that SB509 did not make it out of the regular 82nd Nevada Legislative Session. Our work to stop this measure included advertisements, recruitment of opposition testimony, and research on the outcomes of publicly funded stadiums. In addition to the stadium scam, we saw SB496 introduced and heard, which substantially increases film tax credits in an effort to bring the film industry to Nevada. Let’s make one thing clear, we fully support diversifying our economy. We also support our union partners who will benefit from a diverse economy that provides opportunities for them to make a living in Nevada. We cannot support public financing for every industry or billionaire that wants to relocate to Nevada. We must do better. It is unacceptable to continue giving away public dollars in the name of economic growth. Companies should come to Nevada because we have affordable housing, affordable childcare options, and access to supportive and inclusive K-12 education. Instead, we consistently rely on giving tax breaks to wealthy individuals and corporations. This is a shameful tradition that must stop.”
“We look to Governor Lombardo in the coming days to sign critical pieces of legislation instead of continuing his veto rampage. The Governor is approaching a record for most vetoes in a single legislative session, that record is currently held by former Governor Jim Gibbons. From AB298 which sought to protect seniors from high rent increases to SB239, a bill to legalize medical aid in dying, the Governor has refused to listen to the will of the people. Legislative leaders have consistently worked with his staff to come to various compromises yet he refuses to sign pieces of legislation that Nevadans desperately need. Lombardo’s vetoes AB11 which sought to prohibit a hospital or psychiatric hospital from employing a full-time physician for the purpose of practicing medicine, formalizing the already common practice of hiring physicians as contractors, SB404 which sought to move up the date to allow counting early voting results, allowing election officials to begin counting ballots on the first day of early voting, rather than Election Day, and AB250 which sought to address the high cost of prescription drugs by addressing the maximum fair price and prohibiting people from paying over that price. This would have allowed us to curb the cost of prescription medication but Governor Lombardo chose to ignore the need of Nevadans. Each of Governor Lombardo’s vetoes demonstrate his refusal to do what is right for our state.”
“Due to the obstruction of Governor Lombardo and his party, we will now head into a special session to address the state budget. This maneuver is underhanded and shows that he has zero experience with the legislative process. The Governor and his party should be ashamed of themselves for playing politics with the lives of Nevadans.”
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, including a weekly hour-long livestream program, 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: Let Nevadans Vote, the Nevada Immigrant Coalition, and the Nevada Housing Justice Alliance, The Nevada Criminal Justice Coalition, the Nevada Conservation Network, and the LGBTQ+ Equality Coalition.
Battle Born Progress Priority* Bills:
- AB71 Requires the Division of Environmental Protection of the State Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to conduct an interim study concerning environmental justice.
- AB112 Establishes provisions relating to wildlife crossings.
- AB125 Revises provisions relating to public safety.
- AB131 Revises provisions governing urban and community forestry.
- AB140 Makes Juneteenth Day a legal holiday in this State.
- AB172 Revises provisions governing collective bargaining for certain public employees.
- AB189 Revises provisions governing construction start times in certain counties and cities.
- AB213 Revises provisions governing residential zoning.
- AB242 Revises provisions relating to elections.
- AB250 Establishes provisions governing prescription drugs.
- AB286 Makes various changes relating to elections.
- AB293 Revises provisions governing Medicaid.
- AB319 Makes an appropriation to the Department of Education for universal free breakfast and lunch for Nevada pupils.
- AB336 Revises provisions governing driver authorization cards.
- AB354 Revises provisions relating to firearms.
- AB355 Revises provisions relating to firearms.
- AJR10* Proposes to amend the Ordinance of the Nevada Constitution and the Nevada Constitution to remove language authorizing the use of slavery and involuntary servitude as a criminal punishment.
- SB131 Revises provisions relating to reproductive health care.
- SB153 Makes various changes relating to corrections.
- SB155 Revises provisions relating to crimes.
- SB163 Requires certain health insurance to cover treatment of certain conditions relating to gender dysphoria and gender incongruence.
- SB171 Revises provisions governing firearms.
- SB232 Requires the State Plan for Medicaid to include coverage for postpartum care services.
- SB474 Makes an appropriation to the Outdoor Education and Recreation Grant Program Account.
*These are our highest priority bills. We monitored over 500 bills and testified on many of them.
SPOKESPEOPLE ARE AVAILABLE FOR COMMENT IN ENGLISH AND SPANISH
About Battle Born Progress: Battle Born Progress, through strategic communication efforts, empowers, engages and mobilizes Nevada voters to build a state where everyone has a fair opportunity to succeed. We support, engage, and mobilize the progressive community through bold leadership, strategic communications, accountability, and education. We are on the cutting edge of new media and are the go-to source for progressive issues and advocacy for traditional media. Learn more at https://battlebornprogress.org/.