It’s the fourth day of the 2017 Legislative Session. The third day was relatively calm, but Day 4 won’t be. Here’s what to watch for.
1. Education Savings Accounts. Nevada’s awesome ESA program, which I would use for my child, has its first hearing tomorrow in Senate Finance. Finance is reviewing the Treasurer’s budget, which includes the $60 million Governor Brian Sandoval wants to partially fund ESAs. Expect a lot of posturing from Democrats seeking to kill a program that would increase student achievement while also increasing per-pupil funding.
2. More options for students. Senate Education is hearing two bills that create additional options for students. SB19 would require school districts and charter schools to partner with a higher education institution to create dual credit programs. Dual credit programs are a good idea, but SB19 could be an onerous mandate for some charter schools or smaller school districts. SB66 would allow high school students to earn more than one credit towards graduation for completing an internship. The credits would only count toward elective requirements.
3. PERS presents. The Public Employees’ Retirement System of Nevada, which has an unfunded liability of around $40 billion, presents in Assembly Government Affairs. Lawmakers should ask if PERS is considering lowering its assumed rate of return. A decrease of 1 percent, which would bring Nevada in line with CalPERS and is still very optimistic, would blow a hole in the budget lawmakers consider in 2019. It would also strain the budgets of local governments. It’d be better to try and prepare for that scenario this session than to wait until 2019.