Last-minute negotiations led to the Assembly reconvening Thursday night. After about an hour of discussions, they decided to adjourn for the night and reconvene at 9am on Friday.  

The bill will have at least one Amendment attached, which means the bill will have to return to the Senate, if it passes. 


The Assembly has adjourned without a decision on the Stadium Bill. Assembly members say they will amend the bill and possibly vote tomorrow



A bill clearing the way for a sales increase to fund more than 300 police hires has passed its first key vote in the Nevada Assembly. The bill is in connection with the proposed NFL stadium in Las Vegas. 

Lawmakers voted 35-7 on Thursday to approve Assembly Bill 1, with Democrats and Republicans among the opponents. The bill headed to the Senate where on Thursday it passed unanimously.

Governor Brian Sandoval has issued the following statement after final passage of Assembly Bill 1. 

“During the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee meetings, the issue of public safety was brought to the forefront due to the significant population increase across southern Nevada. Protecting Nevadans and the millions of visitors who travel here annually has always been a top priority for me. I would like to thank the members of the legislature for responding to the urgency of this request in order to provide the resources for our law enforcement officials to continue to keep our communities safe. Their approval of Assembly Bill 1 is another step toward an enhanced level of vigilance so that we are able to take every measure possible to prepare for the new threat levels in today’s society.”

The measure authorizes the Clark County Commission to raise sales tax in the county by 0.1 percentage point.
    
The $39 million that the tax hike is expected to raise each year would go southern Nevada police forces based on permanent and visitor populations.
    
Opponents said they feared the sales tax is creeping up and burdening the poor, or raised concerns that the money was too targeted to patrol officers and not highway patrol or back-office police employees.

The $39 million that's expected to raise each year would go to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and other municipalities based on their permanent population and the visitor count in the Las Vegas Strip area.
    
Authorities say they have a lower ratio of officers to residents than they'd like because of population growth and the economic downturn.
    
The bill needs a simple majority vote to pass.

The Assembly also needs a bill raising nearly $1.2 billion to fund the NFL stadium and convention center.
    
The Senate already voted 16-5 in favor of supporting the projects, while the Assembly hasn't taken any votes.
    
It's not clear when lawmakers will finish, although special sessions typically last several days.

On Wednesday, we reported that the Nevada Senate had passed a bill that would allow an increase in the Clark County hotel room tax to fund an NFL stadium. The Southern Nevada Tourism Improvements Act calls for $750 million of the $1.9 billion stadium to be paid with public funding.  The room tax would increase by 0.88% in the resort corridor and 0.5% for the rest of the stadium district. Senate Bill 1 also calls for $1.4 billion in renovations and a 1.4 million square-foot expansion to the Las Vegas Convention Center, which would also increase the hotel room tax by 0.5%.  Las Vegas has the 14th highest room tax in the country at 12%.  The new plan would bump the rate up to nearly 13.4%. That moves Las Vegas' rate up to 10th place, slightly higher than New Orleans and Miami.  

"We need to have the self-confidence, I believe, to invest in Nevada if we want to begin to lead the way," Sen. Becky Harris, R-District 9 said.

The tax rate hike does not affect any of the other 16 counties, but northern Nevada could see an increase of tax revenue if projections are accurate.  Las Vegas has about 42 million visitors each year, so most of the tax would by paid by tourists.

"I think we need our citizens to understand that not one average Nevada citizen is going to be paying this tourism tax unless they do staycations often, or are staying in the strip in these hotels," Sen. Kelvin Atkinson, D-District 4 said.

Projections show the stadium and convention center improvements would combine to generate about $85 million per year. The state general fund would receive about $27.1 million, while local governments would get about $57.1 million. About one-third of the total money will go towards education.  While northern Nevadans will not see much of an impact, if the Assembly passes the bill, northern lawmakers took the duty seriously. Sen. James Settelmeyer says it is important to listen to his colleagues who are affected the most.

"If it's about agriculture, mining, and things of that nature, I would hope you would listen to us," Settelmeyer, R-District 17 said. "In the same respect, this is truly a southern issue and the vast majority of southerners are saying vote for this. So, I stand with the southerners."

Out of 21 senators, five voted against the bill.  Senators Don Gustavson and Pete Goicoechea were the two Republicans opposed to it, while Senators Ruben Kihuen, Julia Ratti and Tick Segerblom were the three democrats that voted against it. 

Segerblom and Kihuen are both from Clark County.

"I stand in opposition of nearly one billion-dollar handout to a multi-billionaire," Kihuen, D-District 10 said. "That sets a bad precedent."

Kihuen says another recession could cripple the hospitality industry, which would mean fewer room tax dollars to pay for the stadium.

Others say they are optimistic that the pros outweigh the cons. The stadium would be publicly owned and a stadium authority would oversee its operations. Estimates show the two projects would combine to generate $1.43 billion in economic impact, each year, with an increase of more than one million visitors. Many members of the senate say a big part of their vote was based on the employment figures, which show the stadium and convention center projects would create about 14,000 permanent jobs with an average annual wage of about $39,000, mostly in the hospitality industry. About 25,000 construction jobs are also expected to be created.

"I couldn't leave this chamber and look a laborer in the eye and say 'I had a chance to give you a job and I voted no,'" Sen. Aaron Ford, D-District 11 said.

(The Associated Press also contributed to this report.)