Legislators Prepare for Special Session
State lawmakers are getting as much work done as possible, before a special session begins. That is where they will decide whether or not to approve a deal with Tesla, to build their gigafactory, in Nevada.
Tuesday, September 9th 2014, 4:50 pm PDT by
Tuesday, September 9th 2014, 5:03 pm PDT
Governor Brian Sandoval is expected to officially call for a special session, tonight, to finalize the deal that will bring Tesla's gigafactory to Nevada. The session will likely start at noon, Wednesday. Lawmakers will be deciding whether to give final approval to the Tesla deal.
Construction continues on the 10 million square-foot battery factory, but the state legislature has a big job of their own. Some of them are already in Carson City, eager to look at the bill.
"Our job is to review them, once they become available," Senator Ben Kieckhefer, (R) Reno said. "I think that's why we're camping out here, today, is just to make sure that as soon as they're available, we can start doing that job."
Many have already started researching articles and past statutes, as well as breaking down the tax element of the bill.
"There's a lot of homework going on, a lot of discussion," Assemblyman Pat Hickey, (R) Reno said. "We're going to have briefings tonight. I suspect we'll be up late tonight and up early, tomorrow morning."
Some want to make sure local companies and employees are hired to build the factory. Tesla says 6,500 people will work at the gigafactory. So, population growth is another concern. Especially, when it comes to providing enough classrooms for schools.
"We only have this one opportunity to get it right," Debbie Smith, (D) Reno said. "We've seen circumstances in the past where we probably didn't get all the questions answered and we had to try to fix it later, and I don't think we want to do that."
The US Bank building, in downtown Reno, has a 48-foot banner on display, welcoming Tesla as a new neighbor. Lawmakers say public feedback has been positive. They say if the bill passes, it could also have an impact on future businesses coming to Nevada.
"When you have Elon Musk standing on the steps of the State Capitol, encouraging businesses to look at Nevada as a place to locate, that's good for everyone," Kieckhefer said.
The first day of the special session will cost $60,000. Each additional day will cost $25,000. That does not include overtime and printing costs.
"We don't want to be there for a very long time because we are cognizant of this being taxpayer dollars that fuel the session," Smith said. "But on the other hand, I think the taxpayers are going to want us to do a good job."
There's no timeline for how long the special session might take but lawmakers we talked to are hopeful that they can have a vote, Wednesday, before midnight.
Written by Paul Nelson