Nevada Assembly Republicans held a press conference Thursday in Carson City to discuss their priorities for the current legislative session.(Photo: Geoff Dornan/Nevada Appeal)
Assembly Republicans on Thursday laid out their legislative priorities for the 2021 session, including restricting the governor’s emergency powers and reopening schools.
Assemblyman Andy Matthews, R-Las Vegas, said a top priority is, “reigning in the executive branch of our government.”
He said Gov. Steve Sisolak’s “Draconian restrictions” have done serious damage to Nevada’s economy.
Existing laws give practically unlimited emergency powers to the governor and Sisolak used those laws in March to effectively close the state’s businesses for more than two months until beginning a slow reopening.
He also promised the GOP would bring pro-business legislation that will “lead Nevada’s comeback.”
Assembly Minority Leader Robin Titus, R-Wellington, called for getting businesses back fully open as soon as possible and opening Nevada’s schools.
She said when everything is added up, Nevada has received $18 billion in federal stimulus grants including large amounts to the unemployment insurance system to help laid off workers pay their bills during the pandemic.
Titus said they also need to make sure taxpayer money is being used responsibly.
“We must be open to all options and pass a balanced budget with or without added revenues,” she said. “We do not have a budget problem. We have a government problem.”
Alexis Hansen, R-Sparks said more than 300,000 K-12 students in Clark County haven’t seen the inside of a classroom for 11 months. She said mental health problems and a rising suicide rate are the result. Clark remains the only school district closed to all in-person classes and Hansen said that has to change.
She pointed out that Washoe and the rural school districts have been open using various hybrid models.
She also called for liability protection for school districts to ensure tax dollars stay in the schools and not end up in the pockets of lawyers.
Heidi Kasama of Las Vegas said now is the time to focus on diversifying Nevada’s economy. But she issued a caution saying the state must not ”overpopulate our state beyond its capacity.”
The press conference was held on the front steps of the Legislature building because, according to Titus, leadership rejected their request to use room 3100 down the hall from the minority’s office complex.
Finally Matthews called for a rollback of the election reforms approved during last summer’s special session saying unlimited mail-in ballots are an open door to election fraud and so is “ballot harvesting” — the practice of allowing some one to bring in many people’s ballots to the election centers.