The Nevada Legislature does not have plans to convene a special session as COVID-19 mitigation efforts continue to drastically affect the state, the leaders of the two legislative houses said in a joint statement Monday.
“In situations involving emergency preparedness, it is critical to carefully and continually evaluate all options on the table should the need arise to pursue those options,” said Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro and Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson. “At this time, we have no plans to go into a special session. We are working together closely with the governor and his team to do all we can to ensure we are meeting the needs of every Nevadan and addressing this crisis head-on.”
A special session may be convened by the governor or by a petition backed by two-thirds of legislators.
The Legislature typically meets in odd years. Several special sessions have been called in recent years to discuss pressing financial questions — most recently in 2016, when then Gov. Brian Sandoval called one to discuss potential tax increases and stadium financing.
Gov. Steve Sisolak put Nevada in a state of emergency on Thursday. Public, private and charter K-12 schools were officially closed on Sunday. The state’s first COVID-19-related death was announced Monday.
Casino closures and related layoffs and tourism dropoff are likely to cause a serious strain on the state’s budget.
According to the Guinn Center for Policy Priorities 2019-2021 budget overview, sales and gaming taxes make up nearly half of the state’s general fund budget. Payroll tax revenue from Nevada businesses, which could also take a hit in the event of mass layoffs, makes up an additional 15.2 percent.