Lawmakers Approve Most of Sandoval's Requests - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Lawmakers Approve Most of Sandoval's Requests

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Governor Brian Sandoval laid out his budget proposal during his final State of the State Address, in January.  Six months later, almost all of those requests have the legislature's approval, and his signature on them.  The theme of his January speech was workforce development, focusing on training Nevadans for tech jobs at places like Tesla, Apple and possibly Google.

"That's why that was a priority for me, to make sure that we have the certifications and the curriculums at our community colleges and our universities, so that Nevadans get all those jobs," Sandoval said.

An additional $115 million is going into higher education, focusing on enhancing career and technical programs, community colleges, and universities.  $50 million will be used for new student enrollment at the University of Nevada and UNLV.  High school students across Nevada will have more opportunities for dual enrollment, taking college courses that also count as high school credit.  The state also invests in equipment, used by by tech companies, to train workers.

"There's just a lot of great opportunity and it was important for me that every Nevadan have an opportunity to participate in this new Nevada economy," Sandoval said.

The capital projects budget includes a new DMV and veterans home in northern Nevada, as well as a medical school at UNLV and a new engineering building at UNR.

"There's a very high demand for engineers," Sandoval said. "So this college will be able to produce those engineers that we're going to need."

The state is funding more money to invest in broadband, particularly in rural communities, and for the first time in Nevada's history, there will be a Cyber Defense Division.  $3.5 million will be used to help detect, prevent and respond to a cyber attack.

"We read about it, every day, where there's a been a breach, and now with the type of technology society that we have, we have to make sure that we have every defense and every protection that we can get," Sandoval said.

The governor says the rooftop solar industry is getting a new start, after lawmakers approved a return of net metering.  Solar customers will receive a credit of 75-95 percent for excess energy that goes back into the grid.  Customers will also get incentives for energy storage.

"We are already, per capita, number one in the country with regard to solar installation, and fourth in the country overall, but it really puts us ahead," Sandoval said.

Last week, Sandoval put his signature on a bill that could reform juvenile justice, and on another that makes it harder to get prescription opioids.

"It'll ensure that there isn't over-prescription of those drugs," Sandoval said. "There's going to be more education for the treatment providers."

State employees will get a raise and $20 million will go into the Millennium Scholarship fund.

Nevada also added two new state parks, including three historic ranch properties along the East Walker River, opening up 12,000 acres and 28 miles of the Walker River to the public.  Approximately $20 million will be used to upgrade existing state parks with new camping, fishing, cabin rentals and WiFi access.

For the first time in nearly a decade, money will go into the Rainy Day Fund.  $63 million of the $193 million comes from a 10 percent excise tax on the sales of marijuana.

The governor did not get everything he asked for, including $60 million for Education Savings Accounts.  The legislature did not fund the program, but instead added $20 million for the Opportunity Scholarship Program, which expands school choice in Nevada.

The fourth and final legislative session of the governor's term is over, and he says Nevada has come a long way in the 6-plus years since he took office.

"We were in the worst situation that we had ever been, economically, in the history of our state," Sandoval said. "Now, we're in a position to lead in the United States."

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