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Governor says special session will focus on possible Raiders move

Oakland Raiders logo: MGN Online
Oakland Raiders logo: MGN Online(KALB)
Published: Sep. 21, 2016 at 5:47 PM PDT
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Nevada lawmakers meeting for a special session next week won't try to fix education funding problems after all.

Gov. Brian Sandoval said Thursday that legislators will focus solely on a proposed hotel tax increase to fund an NFL stadium, a convention center expansion and more police officers in the Las Vegas area.

That's a change from Wednesday, when he said they'd also consider adjusting the hotel tax to temporarily cover a projected shortfall in public education funding.

Sandoval already said lawmakers won't be trying to fix constitutional flaws with the voucher-style Education Savings Account program, which would allow parents to use public education dollars for private school tuition.

The special session begins Monday, but it's unclear how long it will last.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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October 6, 2016, statement from Governor Sandoval:

“After consulting with legislative leadership I have decided that any potential budget challenges for the next biennium will be addressed during the next regular session. The special session agenda will be focused on the recommendations of the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee.”

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ORIGINAL RELEASE:

Governor Brian Sandoval has announced he will call the Legislature into Special Session beginning Monday, October 10, 2016 at 8AM. The proclamation detailing the agenda will be released October 9. The governor issued the following statement:

“My staff and I have had extensive discussions with legislative leadership and it’s time for the full body to begin its deliberations on the recommendations of the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee. Now is the time to capitalize on the opportunity before us to invest in Nevada’s most foundational industry, tourism, by providing for the infrastructure and public safety needs of the 21st century. As I have said before, we can and must usher in a new era for tourism in the Las Vegas market, while keeping our citizens and visitors safe, and ensuring our position as the global leader in entertainment and hospitality.

“In addition, the occasion of a special session offers an opportunity to come together as leaders and ensure stable funding for public education in the next biennium. The State’s fiscal staff is reviewing the budget requests submitted by executive branch departments, agencies and higher education. When the first draft is released next week there will be a shortfall based on current projections. Nevada is once again one of the fastest growing states in the nation and the demands of growth include more children in our schools and additional pressure on state services. This is not a new reality and we’ve previously experienced this during the budget building process. I’ve begun discussing this with legislative leadership and I am confident that we will come together to find bipartisan solutions. Because I am calling the legislature into a Special Session, I also see an opportunity to get ahead of our budget challenges. I will add language to the call of the session to ensure education funding is stable for the upcoming biennium and will recommend a minor adjustment to the lodging tax for a temporary solution supporting education. Additional changes to the lodging tax is not a normal course of action, however the Special Session presents a unique opportunity to protect Nevada education while we invest in tourism infrastructure. I am also asking that the legislature make an allocation adjustment to the governmental services tax.

“Passage of Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) set a national precedent for school choice and symbolized a significant step toward education equality for every student. I recognize the magnitude of this sweeping policy measure and consider it a major component of the reform package ushered in during the last legislative session. Protecting this program is a top priority for me. There is simply not enough time to add it to next week’s Special Session with full confidence that a rushed outcome will pass constitutional muster. I am therefore launching a new working group, spearheaded by ESA author and champion Senator Scott Hammond, and asking this group to produce a solution that will fix the problem and allow the thousands of waiting Nevada families to take control of their child’s education as soon as possible. Further, I have made the commitment that funding for this project will be included in my final budget recommendations for the upcoming biennium.”

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ORIGINAL STORY: Governor Brian Sandoval has released the following statement regarding recommendations made by the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee.

“In July 2015, I convened the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee in order to address the challenges unique to Clark County’s tourism industry and provide recommendations on maintaining our rightful position as the top entertainment, convention, and tourism destination in the world. For more than a year, the committee has conducted 16 public meetings to examine ideas and proposals. Last week, I received the Committee’s recommendations, all related to the infrastructure and related public safety needs of Las Vegas.

“After receiving the recommendations on Friday, I have thoroughly reviewed the committee’s documents and I am comfortable with the recommendations related to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority expansion, additional support for law enforcement, and the development of a county-owned stadium that could host a National Football League franchise and be the home of University of Nevada, Las Vegas football. I am convinced that, given the circumstances and timing with regard to public safety, the Convention Center, and the NFL, there is an opportunity to significantly improve the tourism infrastructure of Southern Nevada – already the best the in the world.

“Based on the current environment, I believe a special session of the Legislature is warranted and should be called as soon as can be practicably accomplished. The appointments to fill legislative vacancies by the Washoe and Clark County Commissions will not occur until the last week of September and first week of October, respectively. I feel strongly that any newly appointed or current legislators should be given enough time to review the recommendations and conduct their own due diligence and to allow for ample time to prepare for a special session of the Nevada Legislature. That is why it is my intention to begin a special session no earlier than Friday, October 7 and no later than Thursday, October 13, pending conversations with legislative leadership. The formal proclamation detailing the agenda will not be made until a later date.

“I have twice called special sessions to diversify Nevada’s economy and create new jobs in emerging industries. Just as I have met with the top leaders prior to those announcements, this week I met with the owner of the Raiders, Mark Davis. He was committed and resolute in the team’s interest in relocating to our state. I have also spoken with Clark County Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Sheriff Joe Lombardo, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority President and CEO Rossi Ralenkotter, and gaming and labor leaders.

“We have before us the opportunity to invest in Nevada’s most foundational industry, tourism, by providing for the infrastructure and public safety needs of the 21st century. We can and must usher in a new era for tourism in the Las Vegas market, while keeping our citizens and visitors safe, and ensuring our position as the global leader in entertainment and hospitality.”

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