Sisolak says special session to fix Nevada budget will be in July
Gov. Steve Sisolak says that, at the request of legislative leadership, the special legislative session needed to fix the state budget will not be held until early July.
“While the governor expressed concern over moving the date into the next fiscal year, he understands the important need of ensuring the safety of members and staff during a special session in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to ensuring the public has a safe way to participate in the process,” his office said in a statement.
In a letter to Sisolak, Democratic leadership in the Senate and Assembly said they need more time for legislative staff to develop proper safety protocols before a special session can be safely held.
They also pointed out that, “It is critical that the public have the opportunity to participate in the legislative process.”
Just a week ago, Sisolak was saying he expected to call lawmakers together before the end of June.
But Monday, he said the delay will give more time to evaluate the most up-to-date revenue projections in hopes of mitigating the most severe reductions in the fiscal 2021 budget proposal sent to the Legislative Counsel Bureau earlier this month.
The new date will be selected in coordination with legislative leadership.
“I don’t think everyone fully comprehends the real world consequences of this,” said Sen. Ben Kieckhefer, R-Reno.
He said Clark and Washoe school districts will likely have to push back the start of the school year because they may not know what their budgets will be until mid-July and school is supposed to start Aug. 10.
He said even though everyone knew a special session would be needed to fix the 2021 budget in mid-March, the public still doesn’t know exactly what will be cut and how much.
“The public has a right to know this information as well but pushing it out is a benefit,” he said.
The shortfall caused by the economic shutdown ordered to slow the spread of the virus is costing Nevada more than $800 million in the fiscal year that ends June 30 and is expected to cut projected revenues by more than $1 billion in the coming fiscal year.