Governor Sandoval Outlines Legislative Accomplishments
Just a few days after the close of the 2017 legislative session, Governor Brian Sandoval outlined some accomplishments from the session, highlighting goals he outlined in his State of the State address that were met. F
Just a few days after the close of the 2017 legislative session, Governor Brian Sandoval outlined some accomplishments from the session, highlighting goals he outlined in his State of the State address that were met.
From the Office of Governor Sandoval:
Rainy Day Fund – I am pleased to report that the budget passed by the Legislature will return approximately $193 million to the Rainy Day Fund or what I like to call, the Nevada family savings account. This is the first time since 2008 that the State has not looked to drain those funds in order to achieve a balanced budget.
State Employees – My budget recognized the enormous contributions of our State employees and their dedicated work during a difficult economic period. I was excited to announce a 4 percent cost of living adjustment and increased funding for health benefits. Following the economic forum, which indicated the State would have more financial resources than we originally estimated, I have decided I will support a 6 percent COLA increase for all State employees.
Dual Enrollment – The passage of Senate Bill 19 marks a major step forward for students in Nevada who want to pursue dual enrollment programs. While many of these programs have been available to some, they were not yet accessible to all, due to financial barriers or other factors. SB19 and my entire workforce agenda removes those barriers so that every student, in every classroom, has every opportunity to succeed.
Millennium Scholarship – I have always been committed to ensuring the Governor Guinn Millennium Scholarship remains available in order to keep Nevada students in Nevada and make college more affordable for our children. The Legislature responded to my commitment and honored my investment of $20 million to this legacy program.
Higher Education – I proposed more than $115 million in new investments for higher education and was pleased to see the Legislature share my vision of investing in future generations. Together, we approved millions of dollars to enhance career and technical education programs at our community colleges, new funding for capacity building at the seven NSHE institutions and more than $50 million for new student enrollment at UNR and UNLV.
UNLV Medical School – My budget included $53 million to sustain the mission of the UNLV School of Medicine which brings the State’s total investment to $80 million in four years. Also, I requested an additional $25 million to ensure this institution will have the ability to begin construction on a first-class facility to meet the demands of the student body. Because of the state investment, UNLV Medical School was immediately able to leverage an anonymous contribution of $25 million in private funds.
UNR Engineering Building – I requested more than $40 million to finance the new UNR Engineering Building which will allow Northern Nevada to continue developing the best and brightest in engineering sciences. I was proud that the Nevada Legislature came to consensus on this important project. Additionally, the state invested $1.75 million to begin planning a new state-of-the-art UNLV Engineering building.
OWINN – A critical component to my workforce development plan was the permanent funding of the Office of Workforce Innovation. This initiative overhauled the state’s apprenticeship program in order to align its efforts with economic development efforts and funded the NPWR longitudinal data system which will help track our efforts. This Office will help meet or exceed the goal that 50 percent of Nevadans between the ages of 25 and 34 will have earned some form of post-secondary degree or credential by 2025.
Weighted Student Formula – In 2015, my administration introduced the weighted student funding formula. My budget committed $107 million to begin investing in this model and working with the Legislature we did move this student-first formula forward in a meaningful way.
Broadband – The Nevada Connect Kids Initiative secured $2 million in matching funds to meet the State’s investment in broadband, particularly in rural areas because access to information should not be based on where you live in our expansive state.
Opportunity Scholarships – As a result of negotiations, the Legislature increased Nevada’s signature Opportunity Scholarship Program by $20 million. These efforts yielded bipartisan support for true school choice in Nevada.
Cyber Defense – The State established the first Cyber Defense Center that will help detect, prevent, and respond to cyber-attacks. This $3.5 million endeavor will help Nevada remain vigilant and stay ahead of those who seek to steal our information and endanger our resources.
Juvenile Justice – Under the leadership of the First Lady, I introduced the Juvenile Justice System Reform Act which included $1.5 million to implement a statewide risk assessment program. This program will streamline and standardize criteria to match youth with the most effective services.
Northern Nevada Veterans Home – Approved this legislative session was the remaining $43 million needed to build and open a veteran’s home in Northern Nevada. Our aging veterans cannot and should not have to wait any longer for this critical resource and I was proud to make it a top priority.
Gold Star Families – For those families whose loved ones laid down their lives in service to our country, we passed legislation which permanently removes the out-of-state tuition fees Gold Star students were required to pay to attend a Nevada university or college.
Military Foreclosure Protection – For the service men and women who answered the call to serve, I passed legislation that provides foreclosure protection while they are deployed and for a time upon their return.
Stewart Indian School – Nevada secured $4.5 million to restore two buildings on the historic Stewart Indian School campus and an additional $1.2 million to begin restoration of the “old gym.” For the sake of our tribes and the history of the American West, it is critical that we preserve this landmark as a reminder of a different era.
Controlled Substance Abuse Prevention Act – I was proud to continue to champion legislation, based on input from more than 500 stakeholders, to help rid the state of the scourge of opioid abuse. This measure will provide more training, reporting, and heightened protocols for medical professionals.
Meals on Wheels – At the request of our non-profit partners I was proud to fund and fulfill the request of $1.5 million in direct Meals on Wheels allocations. Following additional money allocated as a result of the economic forum the Legislature was able to increase these funds to more than $3 million, providing more services to more seniors in need.
Recreational Marijuana – I have always been committed to ensuring Nevada’s market for legal marijuana is restricted, responsible and respected. My excise tax will help strike a balance between incentivizing a black market and an unrestricted market locally. Although I called for the money to go directly to education, the 10 percent retail tax, projected at $63 million, will stabilize the Rainy Day Fund.
Explore Your Nevada Initiative – For the first time in years, Nevada added two state parks to its impressive lineup. The Silver State took ownership of and will make public for the first time in more than a century, three historic ranch properties along the East Walker River. We unlocked an unprecedented 12,000 acres of ranchland and made accessible 28 miles of the Walker River. Additionally, we infused approximately $20 million to upgrade our existing state parks with new camping, fishing, cabin rentals, and wife access. We also funded the creation of the new Tule Springs State Park in Southern Nevada to preserve Nevada’s unique prehistoric habitat.
Lake Tahoe – I was pleased that the Legislature approved my budget that funds the fight against aquatic invasive species and threats of wildfire at Lake Tahoe.
Nevada Institute on Teaching and Educator Preparation – In partnership with Teach for America – Las Vegas Valley, we were able to secure $5 million in private funds to match $1 million in state dollars to launch this initiative. The Institute will recruit the most promising future educators from across the nation and provide thorough and rigorous preparation to develop top educators who are prepared to meet the challenges of our evolving system of education.
Washoe County School District – In response to the Washoe County School District’s announcement of a shortfall for this upcoming school year, I called on the Legislature to provide bridge-funding to avoid cuts that would affect children and teachers in the upcoming school year.