LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo made it clear on Thursday that he will not sign any budget bills until the Legislature addresses his priorities, setting up a showdown as the end of the session nears.
In a statement released just before noon, Lombardo warned lawmakers not to test him.
“As the five budget bills are being fast-tracked by legislative Democrats, I will repeat what I have previously stated. I will not sign any budget bills until my priorities are addressed. Period,” Lombardo said.
“So, before the Senate and Assembly take final action on these five bills today, tomorrow, or the next day, I suggest they reconsider their decision and delay final passage until the policy priorities that I spelled out on day one are on my desk. If they choose to test my resolve, I’ll make it easy for them. The people of Nevada hired me to protect their interests and that is what I intend to do,” he said.
A news release from the Governor’s Office spelled out the priorities:
- Fiscally responsible budget
- School safety
- School choice and accountability
- Government efficiency
- Crime reduction
After months of work and public hearings, lawmakers in the Democrat-majority Assembly and Senate introduced budget bills on Tuesday night and immediately went to work on passing them, with votes on Wednesday and continuing today. That prompted the comment from Lombardo, who has watched as the Legislature moved ahead with budget votes.
The budget bills for education (SB503), state agencies (SB504) and public employees insurance (SB501) reached the Assembly floor early Thursday afternoon, and the scenario played out just as it did in the Senate — a party-line 28-14 approval for SB503, followed by unanimous approval (42-0) for SB501 and SB504.
The $12 billion education budget passed on a party-line vote in the Senate Wednesday, and other budget bills followed suit as Republicans opposed the budgets for various reasons.
At one point, Lombardo was told Democrats would work with him if he wanted to add amendments to their school safety bill. But his bill was shelved.
“Nevada’s children, students, teachers, and education support professionals must be our top priority,” Assembly Speaker Steve Yeager (D-Las Vegas) said Thursday. “Despite Republican opposition, these historic investments are the latest example of Democratic commitment to putting Nevada’s students and children first. If the governor follows through on his threat to veto this budget, he will be rejecting the largest investment in Nevada’s students in our state’s history.”
Other budget bills were still waiting for votes. 8NewsNow.com will continue to track those votes today.
At a news conference Thursday in Carson City, union officials urged Lombardo to sign Assembly Bill 522 (AB522), the budget that funds state personnel.
“Our state employees, from our municipal workers to our public safety officers, provide vital services to residents across Nevada every day and ensure that our state remains successful,” said Nevada State AFL-CIO Executive Secretary-Treasurer Susie Martinez.
“Unfortunately, our state agencies have been forced to endure issues, including understaffing, for years without tangible solutions—until now. Assembly Bill 522 would ensure that we can staff our agencies to full capacity, pay our state employees what they deserve, and create a secure and attentive public service workforce,” Martinez said.
“Governor Lombardo has made it clear that he values the safety of our communities and of our children, and that he wants Nevada to move forward on a path of growth. We urge him to enact Assembly Bill 522 so that all Nevadans have continued access to the critical services that they need,” she said.