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Special legislative session opens

The 31st special session of the Nevada Legislature was called into session on Wednesday morning.

The Legislative Building was closed to the public due to the coronavirus outbreak that prompted Gov. Steve Sisolak to call the session.

The session may be viewed at http://www.leg.state.nv.us

The Legislature is being called into session to address a $1.2 billion hole blown in the budget by the coronavirus outbreak.

Nevada relies on tourism for a significant portion of its budget. According to the governor’s office, visitor volume was off 97.3 percent in April.

One in four Nevada workers have been displaced during the outbreak, pushing the unemployment rate to 30.1 percent, levels the state hasn’t seen since the Great Depression.

The state plans to cut $549 million, which will include cuts to the largest portions of the budget including K-12 education and health and human services.

The governor isn’t suggesting any reduction to the per pupil funding for schools, but does plan to cut $70 million for the new Nevada education funding plan.

Health and Human Services will account for $233 million in cuts under the proposal, including sweeping accounts across the agency into the budget.

Cuts will include furloughs and holding vacant 700 state positions.

No tax hikes to cover revenue increases are included in the governor’s budget, because they would take considerable time to set up and implement, and would take more time to make a difference.

If the Legislature can get a two-thirds vote to increase taxes, the governor said he’d be willing to consider it.