Sisolak: Special legislative session to address Nevada’s budget delayed to July |

Sisolak: Special legislative session to address Nevada’s budget delayed to July

Geoff Dornan

CARSON CITY, Nev. — Gov. Steve Sisolak says that, at the request of Nevada’s legislative leadership, the special legislative session needed to fix the state budget will not be held until early July.

According to media reports, the legislature’s leading Democrats said the Legislative Counsel Bureau needed more time to develop safety protocols in line with Phase 2 that allow lobbyists and other members of the public to still participate while preventing the spread of COVID-19.

“While the governor expressed concern over moving the date into the next fiscal year, he understands the important need of ensuring the safety of members and staff during a special session in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to ensuring the public has a safe way to participate in the process,” his office said in a statement Monday afternoon.

Just a week ago, Sisolak was saying he expected to call lawmakers together before the end of June.

On Monday, he said the delay will give more time to evaluate the most up-to-date revenue projections in hopes of mitigating the most severe reductions in the fiscal 2021 budget proposal sent to the Legislative Counsel Bureau earlier this month.

The new date will be selected in coordination with legislative leadership.

“I don’t think everyone fully comprehends the real world consequences of this,” said Sen. Ben Kieckhefer, R-Reno.

For example, Kieckhefer said the Clark and Washoe county school districts will likely have to push back the start of the school year because they may not know what their budgets will be until mid-July; school is supposed to start Aug. 10.

Kieckhefer said even though everyone knew a special session would be needed to fix the 2021 budget in mid-March, the public still doesn’t know exactly what will be cut and how much.

“The public has a right to know this information as well, but pushing it out is a benefit,” he said.

The shortfall caused by the economic shutdown ordered to slow the spread of the virus is costing Nevada more than $800 million in the fiscal year that ends June 30 and is expected to cut projected revenues by more than $1 billion in the coming fiscal year.