Special session: Faraday could make Tesla-like economic splash
The latest on the Nevada Legislature’s special session to review incentives for electric carmaker Faraday Future :
Water rights have emerged as the biggest potential hang-up in a deal to bring electric carmaker Faraday Future to Nevada.
Some lawmakers have raised concerns over a section of a bill that would speed up the process of allocating water rights when a major economic development project is on the line.
Republican Assemblyman Jim Wheeler says the language gives the state water engineer too much power, and says it isn’t appropriate to make a potentially far-reaching change to water law during a brief special session.
Water rights are a touchy and complicated subject in the driest state in the nation.
Lawmakers and other interested groups are working behind the scenes to hammer out disagreements on the bill.
The state’s top economic development officer says bringing Faraday Future to Nevada could have a ripple effect similar to the one Tesla has created in the Reno area.
Steve Hill of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development says Tesla’s massive battery factory has “lifted the market in northern Nevada,” raised property values and will raise average wages.
Hill also says more opportunities will come to Nevada as it gains a reputation as a global center of advanced transportation.
The electric carmaker’s plan to put a $1 billion plant in North Las Vegas was announced about a year after lawmakers approved incentives for fellow electric carmaker Tesla.
Hyperloop Technologies also recently announced plans to test its super-fast tube-based transportation system on a track at North Las Vegas’ Apex Industrial Park.
A bill to revamp Nevada’s workforce development programs will require companies using state job training funds to have a state-approved “diversity action plan.”
Democrats are applauding the provision, which they say will help level the playing field for minority communities, veterans and people with disabilities. Those groups have higher unemployment rates than the general Nevada population, which has a jobless rate of 6.5 percent.
Senate Democratic leader Aaron Ford says the substance of the plans can differ, but might include targeted commercials or setting up a recruiting office in West Las Vegas, which has a sizeable African-American population.
Faraday Future is hoping to build its $1 billion manufacturing plant in ethnically diverse North Las Vegas. Twenty percent of city residents are black and 39 percent are Hispanic.
State officials say Nevada is falling short in getting residents ready for skilled jobs like ones at automaker Faraday Future, so they’re proposing a new workforce development program.
Assembly members are considering a bill to create the Workforce Innovations for a New Nevada (WINN) program and apply $2.5 million to the account with transfers from Nevada’s general fund and Office of Science, Innovation and Technology.
Dale Erquiaga of Gov. Brian Sandoval’s office says state officials would meet with major new businesses moving to Nevada and work with them to develop a customized training program. The WINN account would provide start-up money so colleges or other agencies can develop the training.
The programs are modeled after initiatives in Georgia and Louisiana, but Erquiaga says he wants Nevada’s to be even better.
Lawmakers are kicking off the second day of a special session aimed at reviewing an incentive package for carmaker Faraday Future.
But not all the seats will be full on Thursday.
Republican Assemblyman Stephen Silberkraus was taken to the hospital for a few hours overnight with complications linked to kidney stones. He was discharged Thursday morning, but it wasn’t clear if or when he’d be returning to the Assembly chambers.
Fellow Republican Assemblyman David Gardner says he’s texting Silberkraus to keep him up on legislative developments.
There’s also a vacant seat after Democratic Assemblywoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick resigned and became a Clark County commissioner earlier this fall. Democratic leader Irene Bustamante Adams says there’s no indication she’ll be replaced for the special session.