The Legislative Interim Finance Committee on Thursday approved a $30 million grant program to help child care providers.
Grants will be awarded to providers to expand their capacity to take care of children. The money will pay for immediate upgrades and expansions to take care of more families.
Officials have been saying throughout the pandemic that too many child care providers have shut down or reduced capacity, creating a severe shortage that has forced parents to stay home rather than return to work as the economy began to reopen.
“As a new mother, I understand the burden that comes with finding safe, reliable and affordable child care,” said Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro, a member of IFC.
She said the grants will not only allow facilities in Nevada to expand operations but help reduce costs for working families.
Gov. Steve Sisolak has committed to provide a total of $160 million to expand child care in the state.
The money is all coming from the American Rescue Plan Act approved by the federal government.
Other grants approved Thursday include $41,600 to the Carson Valley Community Food Closet to address food insecurity in Douglas County and $42,400 to the White Pine Ministerial Association to support its food bank.
The Fallon Youth Club will get $$106,386 to buy two vans to transport young people to its educational programs.
Fiscal staff advised members of the committee chaired by Sen. Chris Brooks, D-Las Vegas, that the state still has $1.2 billion in federal pandemic funds that have not yet been obligated.
Members also approved $399,083 for the controller’s office to hire three people and a contractor to enable them to catch up with the federal accounting and reporting requirements that come with all of that federal money.
The Department of Motor Vehicles told lawmakers that, while a substantial amount of the Technology Fee refunds have gone out to Nevada businesses, just 1 percent of the money owed to individual vehicle owners has been claimed.
Checks have been mailed to some 61,000 businesses that have gotten back $1.4 million of the estimated $2.2 million they are owed.
But private vehicle owners have only claimed a bit more than $30,000 of the $3.8 million they are owed.
The technology fee of $1 per vehicle registration was created to support the computer system replacement at DMV. But it was to sunset more than two years ago.
Democrats in the Senate voted to extend the fee to help balance the budget. But they were one vote short of the two-thirds majority needed to do so.
Republicans took them to court and won an order saying the extension vote was unconstitutional and an order to return the money to all who paid it.
DMV officials told lawmakers if a substantial amount of that money goes unclaimed by the end of next fiscal year, it will be put into the Highway Fund.