Gov. Sisolak: No immediate second special session planned for the Nevada Legislature

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Minority Leader James Settelmeyer speaks during the special session in Carson City, Nev., Monday, July 13, 2020. (Trevor Bexon/The Nevada Independent via AP, Pool)

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak announced Sunday that he will not ask state lawmakers to immediately begin a second special session.

For 12 days now, Nevada Democrats and Republicans have been tackling the historic $1.2 billion budget shortfall caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

While Gov. Sisolak planned to call an immediate subsequent special session following the first, he noted in a statement Sunday that he will only do so when he believes Nevada’s legislature is ready “to conduct a thorough, organized and efficient second special session.”

He says Nevada is in “a dangerous situation” and other “extraordinary policy issues” shouldn’t wait to be discussed at the scheduled 2021 legislative session.

The critical policy issues the governor plans to include in the second special session are criminal and social justice policy reform, as well as protections for Nevadans, businesses, workers and the unemployed as they battle COVID-19.

Gov. Sisolak released the following statement regarding his decision about the second special session:

I convened the Legislature for the current special session, which is now on it’s 12th day, to take the necessary legislative actions to address state government’s top priority – the historic $1.2 billion budget shortfall caused by the COVID-19 global pandemic. However, my Administration’s other top priorities still remain as critical as ever, including our need to manage the public health crisis and protect the health and safety of Nevadans.  

Since the start of this budget special session, we have also been working to manage our increases in cases and hospitalizations as they hit record numbers. While it was my previous intention to call an immediate subsequent special session to discuss extraordinary policy issues that I believe cannot and should not wait until the regularly scheduled 2021 legislative session, I have serious reservations about having our lawmakers convene again for a similar – or longer – period of time in the midst of this spike in our State.  

To be clear: our State is in a dangerous situation, and it is necessary for my administration to dedicate all of our time and energy toward mitigating the spread and addressing the increases we are currently facing. 

My goal is still to issue a proclamation for a second special session, but I will only do so when I am confident the Legislature, in coordination with my office, has fully reviewed all policy items and is ready to conduct a thorough, organized and efficient second special session. This is the responsible decision to make in order to protect the time needed to address the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

Critical policy issues I am planning to include for the second special session: 

1. Addressing criminal and social justice policy reform 

2. Working to ensure Nevadans, businesses, workers and the unemployed have the support and protections they need as they battle COVID-19, including the following: 

Ensuring Nevadans can exercise their fundamental right to vote in a way that does not dangerously expose them to increased risk of COVID-19 infection 

Helping stabilize Nevada businesses so they don’t suffer continued economic hits and establishing safety standards for the workers who are keeping our economy going 

Removing statutory barriers impeding the work of Nevada’s unemployment insurance program”  

Governor Steve Sisolak

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