Lawmakers react to Governor Sisolak's State of the State

Published: Jan. 16, 2019 at 11:38 PM PST
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"Let me make something perfectly clear: Not one ounce of nuclear waste will ever reach Yucca Mountain while I'm Governor. Not on my watch," declared Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak during his


Nevada's new governor was deliberate through much of his speech, and he received a warm reception.

He began by talking about Nevada residents, who despite our state's economic growth and prosperity, seem to be falling behind.

“It is important to Governor Sisolak to make sure that all Nevadans are feeling like they are recovering from the recession, and that there are different pockets throughout the state where people are doing better. But, it really is our obligation to make sure everyone comes along and every family is feeling that,” said Democratic Assembly Majority Leader Teresa Benitez-Thompson.

The speech continued with controversial proposals, such as collective bargaining for state workers and changing state law back to requiring paying prevailing wage in school construction and other government building projects.

”I have a fundamental problem with increasing costs of government intentionally. So those are areas where we will seriously disagree over issues like prevailing wages over construction contracts for schools, increasing the costs of school construction and collective bargaining for state employees. It will take a lot of control out of the legislatures' hands when dealing with the budget,” said Republican Senator Ben Kieckhefer.

The governor covered a lot of territory-- from state economics to health care to education to voting.

He's calling for increased early voting time periods, same-day voter registration, and working with Nevada's Secretary of State for automatic voter registration at state DMVs.

During his campaign, Sisolak said he was determined to make a voter initiative requiring background checks on all gun sales a reality. He called for lawmakers to send him a bill, and he would sign it. This could end up being one of the more contentious proposals lawmakers may face soon after they begin their 2019 Session.

“Doing a background check on every gun sale. That would mean if I sell my wife a gun, I would have to do a background check on her. And that is just not tenable. We will have to see what he means by background checks on every gun sale,” said Senator Kieckhefer.

“I imagine we will pack the building with interested people who want to talk about that. The hearings will be very hardy. So I believe that will take up some time. But it is important to have that conversation, and it is important to have it sooner rather than later,” said Benitez-Thompson.

Past State of the State Addresses have been far more conservative in their approach to spending. Governor Sisiolak says for the next 2 years, he’ll be able to place $45,000,000 in the state’s rainy day fund. Lawmakers on both sides agree that’s a good move, as it’s not a matter of if, but when our economy takes a downturn.