Entrance to the State Legislature of Nevada in Carson City
Effectively declaring a state of emergency, the Legislature on Thursday passed the bill appropriating $50 million to restart the grants program for small businesses.
The program was originally created in October with $50 million in CARES Act money. But there was such a huge demand for the grants in October that the program had to be shut down in just 48 hours.
AB106 was passed unanimously by both the Senate and Assembly and forwarded to Gov. Steve Sisolak’s desk. He planned to sign it Friday.
This bill dedicates another $50 million from the CARES Act to small business grants.
It was declared an emergency, according to Senate Finance Chairman Chris Brooks, D-Las Vegas, so that, “we could get this out immediately so small businesses can get their money.”
He said the main reason those funds have been sitting there since October is the conflicting and constantly changing rules from the Trump administration on how and what they could be used for. He said the state wasn’t able to finally determine how the money could be used until the end of December.
Senate Minority Leader James Settelmeyer said its important to “finally get these funds out.”
Sen. Ira Hansen, R-Sparks, said unfortunately, the money will come too late for many small businesses because of those delays he said having to sit on the money for several months “is a little bit of an embarrassment.”
“So many of those who applied are no longer in business because of the governor’s shutdown.”
Hansen urged fellow members of the Legislature to enact laws restraining the governor’s authority to unilaterally shut down the state using emergency powers and lay out a process where the legislative branch has a say in that process if it goes past a month or so.
Hansen has a bill draft that would do just that in this session.
Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro said the $50 million in AB106 will be able to provide grants to more than 9,000 small Nevada businesses.