CARSON CITY, Nev. (KLAS) — Nevada Republicans said they planned to clarify the governor’s emergency powers and make some disaster-related decisions require legislative input.
Several Republican legislators told 8 News Now the move was not in response to Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak’s COVID-19 orders, but rather to bring another branch of government into the decision-making process. Governors across all states have issued orders related to curbing the spread of the pandemic, which is within their state constitutional rights.
The coronavirus pandemic’s devastating effects on the Nevada economy continue to drive much of the agenda for state lawmakers.
Following White House and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, Sisolak closed must of Nevada’s casino economy in March. Nearly a year later, strict restrictions remain in place to curb the virus’ spread.
“It is an awful lot of power in one branch of government, and there needs to be some kind of checks and balances,” Republican Assem. Tom Roberts, of Clark County, said. “It’s not a dig on this governor or any other. It could be another party that could be in the governor’s mansion, but I believe it involves all branches of our government to be involved.”
Newly-elected Republican Assem. Annie Black said the governor’s restrictions go too far. She said she hoped the Assembly, and then the Senate, could find a bipartisan solution to lifting restrictions.
Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro, a Democrat, praised Sisolak for his leadership, adding the Legislature is only in session for four months every two years.
“I think the tough part, frankly, is that the Legislature is only here 120 days every other year,” she said. “And so of course, we work with the governor, of course we’re making sure we’re part of those conversations. I commend him for being in a really impossible situation.”
Democrats control both the Senate and Assembly. For Republican-led measures to pass, party leaders must find Democrats to vote with them or meet in the middle.
More than 4,200 Nevadans have died from COVID-19 since March.