Lawmakers who served in the military on Friday called on Nevada state Republican lawmakers to change their votes and support the bill that would fund construction of a Northern Nevada Veterans Home.
The $33.1 million to build the home in Sparks was contained in Senate Bill 546, the Capital Improvement Projects budget for the coming biennium. That bill died on the Senate floor Thursday evening after Republicans all voted no as part of their protest against Democrats’ refusal to fund Educational Savings Accounts. They’ve vowed to oppose the entire budget.
While Democrats are able to pass the other four budget bills on a majority vote, the CIP bill requires support from two thirds of lawmakers. The Senate vote, at 12-9, fell two votes short.
“We are here today because essential funding for veterans is being held up for partisan gains,” said Sen. David Parks, D-Las Vegas, who served in the Air Force.
He said veterans’ groups have been working more than 15 years to get funding for a Northern Nevada veterans home. The southern home in Boulder City, he said, is at capacity.
Assemblyman Elliott Anderson, D-Las Vegas, a Marine Corps veterans, said Nevada is home to 100,000 veterans who are age 65 or older and there’s an unmet need for as many as 650 beds for them. He said delaying state support for the project could jeopardize its priority on the Veterans Administration list of projects so it’s critical to pass the legislation supporting the home.
“Veterans have put everything before themselves in defending this country,” Anderson said.
He said those veterans deserve the same priority for their needs from Nevada lawmakers.
Sen. Pat Spearman, D-North Las Vegas, also a veteran, described the northern home as a necessity.