State senator tells housing lobbyists to protect what they have when Nevada Legislature opens |

State senator tells housing lobbyists to protect what they have when Nevada Legislature opens

State Sen. Julia Ratti, D-Sparks.

Nevada Sen. Julia Ratti, D-Sparks, told housing lobbyists to focus on maintaining the status quo during the upcoming legislative session.

“I have no idea what’s going to happen in the next legislative session and I don’t want to pretend I do,” Ratti told Nevada Housing Coalition members Thursday. “But there’s no question the number one focus will be the budget and how we address budget shortfalls. A good chunk of what we’ll be talking about is money. If I were an advocate, I’d be thinking about protecting what we have and not making leaps forward.”

Ratti said the Economic Forum, an independent panel that forecasts general fund revenue, is expected to deliver estimates in December, and early signs are the outlook is not as dire as originally expected.

“Everybody anticipates there will be a gap, but (revenues) are coming in better than they thought they would during the special session,” Ratti said. “So nobody has any sense how big that gap will be.”

Ratti also thinks the legislature will hear fewer bills than usual. She said with an ongoing rise in COVID-19 cases statewide, there is a good possibility the legislative session will be held virtually, which lawmakers learned in the special session attracts more public input.

Normally, the legislature puts forward about 1,200 bills, holds hearings on about 900, and passes 600, Ratti said.

“It makes our government far more accessible, but, logistically, can we process 900 bills if more people have their say?” said Ratti. “I’m going in thinking we have to hear fewer bills.”

The 81st session of the Nevada Legislature is scheduled to begin Feb. 1.

The Nevada Housing Coalition, which advocates for affordable housing, held the 2020 Nevada Housing Summit this week followed by its annual membership meeting Thursday.