27 Apr Governor Joe Lombardo Pitches Executive Power Grab to Nevada Legislature
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 26, 2023
Contact: Will Pregman, email@example.com, 702.752.0656
Governor Joe Lombardo Pitches Executive Power Grab to Nevada Legislature
CARSON CITY, NV – This afternoon and evening, Governor of Nevada, Joe Lombardo’s staff presented SB431 and AB400 to the Nevada Legislature’s Senate Government Affairs and Assembly Ways and Means Committees, respectively. Both hearings saw testimony in opposition from both community organizations and everyday Nevadans focused on each bill’s vast expansion of executive branch authority.
Despite Governor Lombardo naming his policy agenda, ‘the Nevada Way’, questions from lawmakers on the committees, and opposition testimony, highlighted that the bills are instead more accurately described as ‘Joe’s Way’, given the consistent theme of aggrandizing the power of his office and those of his direct appointees.
“SB431 and AB400 are two of the most wildly out-of-touch and inappropriate bills we’ve ever seen considered in the halls of Carson City,” said Annette Magnus, Executive Director of Battle Born Progress. “This so-called ‘Nevada Way’ has been exposed as nothing more than Governor Joe Lombardo seeking to increase power, wealth, and political patronage for himself, his allies, and his hand-picked cronies that would serve solely at his pleasure, should these bills become law. In SB431, we’re particularly disturbed by the gutting of the Interim Finance Committee’s oversight of state budget decisions and removal of caps on state salaries, which includes executive branch officials. If Governor Lombardo had his way, he could make policy for the rest of us without public or legislative branch oversight. The ‘Nevada Way’ should be about transparency, checks and balances, and accountability. Instead, SB431 gives us ‘Joe’s Way’, which is about undemocratic consolidation of power at the expense of us all.
Additionally, it wouldn’t be a legislative session without fighting back once again against the effort to defund our public schools with private school vouchers. But this time, Governor Lombardo is seeking to establish a new position in government that has broad authority to undermine public education with zero legislative or public oversight, through the Office of School Choice. Furthermore, this bill increases funding for private school vouchers both in the current budget, and over the next few bienniums. Our tax dollars should not be going to private institutions when it’s the state’s job to ensure every Nevada student receives access to a quality public education. There’s no guarantee that funding to private schools will be used to the best of its ability, and we leave behind the vast majority of Nevada students who attend public schools. If the Governor is so concerned about educator recruitment and retention, he’d be better served giving pay raises to educators and giving them the support they need, not moving money around in a way that ultimately enriches the sponsors of charter and private schools at the expense of our public schools.
We are thankful to the members of the Senate Government Affairs and Assembly Ways and Means Committees who asked tough questions about these bills. We urge them to let these two awful, ill-conceived bills die and shift their focus back to legislation that can make a real difference for working families in Nevada, such actually funding our public education, educator pay raises, curbing gun violence, lowering costs for prescription drugs, increasing health care access, and reining in the cost of rent, just to name a few.”
SB431, touted as a bill for ‘government modernization’ by the Governor, instead merely expands the power of the executive branch in a number of undemocratic ways.
Specifically, SB431 calls for the removal of salary caps for executive branch officials, limiting the authority of the Interim Finance Committee to oversee fiscal matters, and creating the ‘Nevada Way Account’ in the state budget that can accept private donor gifts of up to $100,000 and is managed solely by a committee that is chaired by the Governor himself.
Additionally, AB400 is the Governor’s omnibus education bill, which contains numerous provisions to push the privatization of public education.
This includes adding another unelected position, the Executive Director of the Office of School Choice, who specializes in pushing private school vouchers, which directly siphons taxpayer funding from educators and students in public schools. This bill also eliminates Legislative oversight on the Commission on School Funding, giving that power solely to the Governor, and gives the Governor the power to direct ‘remedial actions’ at specific schools that he deems to be failing certain metrics, such as ‘parental satisfaction’.
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