Government Affairs Report – July 2017

Little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here
Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun, and I say
It’s alright
– The Beatles

Although moving through the halls of government and influencing policy is where we find occupational satisfaction, there is nothing quite like closing up shop in Carson City after four months and coming home to the dry heat of another Las Vegas summer. So while you try to get “Here Comes the Sun” (Kerrie deserves quite a bit of thanks for prohibiting Jon from using “Hammer Time” in reference to the Speaker’s gavel on sine die) out of your head, it is our hope this missive found you enjoying the summer and your favorite beverage poolside, beneath an umbrella, this 4th of July weekend.

By any measure, the 2017 Nevada Legislative Session was a success for NAIOP. NAIOP began the Session monitoring more than sixty pieces of legislation, and while bills were added or fell out as circumstances dictated, NAIOP remained in a constant position of influence on all legislation which affected its members. Further, NAIOP’s position was greatly enhanced through coalitions it built with Nevada business and industry stakeholders during the Session. Collaborative efforts within these business and industry coalitions were extremely effective in shaping policy in both the Senate and Assembly, and also earned a sympathetic ear with Governor Sandoval. While the impact of “strength in numbers” is obvious when it comes to articulating a cohesive position and whipping votes, that the coalitions have continued to meet following sine die, and will continue to collaborate throughout the interim on both state and local issues, is quite simply invaluable. In summary, NAIOP walked in to Carson City on February 6 monitoring legislation and “playing defense”; it walked out on June 6 poised to advance its own legislation in 2019. The momentum NAIOP has created for itself in just four months is very exciting, and a direct result of an active and involved GA Committee. Well done, all!

The impact NAIOP made was pervasive, and in multiple legislative policy arenas, including tax, real estate, and wages, among others.

Tax
Reform of Nevada’s real property tax statute was heavily discussed during the 2016 interim, and among the most anticipated issues of the 2017 Legislative Session. However, only five pieces of legislation were introduced which addressed the issue, and only two of those attempted a substantive revision. Although NAIOP was careful to support the concept of real property tax revision, NAIOP opposed the two substantive bills as incomplete legislation, and both died in committee. Of the remaining three pieces of real property tax legislation, NAIOP publicly supported SJR 14 – a Resolution seeking an amendment to the Nevada Constitution removing a prohibition of the “reset on sale” concept. To that end, NAIOP’s GA Committees from both the Southern and Northern Nevada Chapters wrote letters in support, and the Resolution passed both houses, and will return for consideration in 2019.

Real Estate
NAIOP was pivotal in defeating or amending legislation affecting commercial real estate policy. As the 2017 Session opened, NAIOP was confronted with a bill seeking to allow municipalities to create a registry of vacant real property. Problematic for more reasons than can be counted, NAIOP opposed this legislation, and it never received a hearing. NAIOP was also able to engage in helpful discussions resulting in the dramatic amendment of a bill requiring municipalities to set forth in their respective building codes a requirement that all new buildings be constructed with baby changing stations in every restroom. As signed by Gov. Sandoval, the bill only requires one baby changing station, equally accessible to men and women, per newly-constructed building with restrooms which are open to the public. Notably exempted from the pared-down requirement are industrial, warehouse and distribution center properties. Finally, NAIOP worked extensively with the Sponsor of a bill seeking to limit development within a five-mile radius of a national conservation area. Although NAIOP’s negotiations resulted in a reduction of the radius to 1/2 mile, the bill was ultimately vetoed by Gov. Sandoval.

Wages
While a significant effort was made to revise laws pertaining to prevailing wage, NAIOP’s effort to limit applicability of these bills to projects financed by public dollars (and thus, prevent a precedent of applying prevailing wage laws to privately-funded projects) were wildly successful. Of the three bills which would have expanded prevailing wage laws to privately-funded projects, NAIOP was successful in obtaining amendments removing the offending provisions, and as to the third, obtained an on-the-record opinion from legislative counsel that the prevailing wage application contemplated by the bill would not include those projects financed by private funds. Notwithstanding the amendments, two of the bills were vetoed by Gov. Sandoval, and the third died in committee.

NAIOP’s showing in Carson City was, in a word, impressive. Although the sun has set on the 79th Legislative Session, NAIOP has very bright days ahead as it begins to set legislative policy for what is arguably Nevada’s second largest industry. We are excited to start working toward NAIOP’s continued success at the state level in 2019.

Now that the interim is upon us, our attention turns toward regulatory rulemaking and local issues. While we do not anticipate much activity from the executive agencies pertinent to NAIOP’s members, we will nevertheless continue to monitor pertinent agendas. Locally, the election for southern Nevada’s municipalities was on June 13. Results of those elections are as follows:

City of Las Vegas
Ward 2 – Incumbent City Councilman Bob Beers was defeated by challenger Steve Seroka
Ward 6 – Michelle Fiore defeated Kelli Ross

City of North Las Vegas
Ward 3 – Scott Black defeated Incumbent City Councilwoman Anita Wood

City of Henderson
Ward 3 – Incumbent City Councilman John Marz defeated challenger Carrie Cox

Odds & Ends
Owners of Nevada brew pubs were previously prohibited from manufacturing more than 15,000 barrels of beer, regardless of the number of brew pubs owned. Effectively, this restriction limited owners of craft brew pubs from owning and operating more than 1 location. Unanimously approved in both houses and signed by Governor Sandoval on June 5, 2017, AB 431 increased the restriction to 40,000 barrels across all brew pubs. As we head into the 4th of July holiday and celebrate our own independence, we should also appreciate the significance of what we have. Freedom is not easy to come by – even for something as lovable as a cold glass of really good beer.  Hope everyone enjoyed their holiday!

Jon & Kerrie

Jonathan P. Leleu, Shareholder
Kerrie Kramer, Assistant Director

Greenberg Traurig, LLP | Suite 400 North
3773 Howard Hughes Parkway | Las Vegas, Nevada 89169
Tel 702.599.8070 | Fax 702.925.2316 | Cell 702.541.1500
leleuj@gtlaw.com | www.gtlaw.com

Government Affairs Report – June 2017

“You must understand, my dear: On the stroke of twelve, the spell will be broken, and everything will be as it was before.”

Fairy Godmother

And so it goes in Carson City. The 79th Nevada Legislative Session will adjourn at midnight on June 6th, and although only time will tell how the 2017 Session is ultimately judged, the sheer lack of “groundbreaking” legislation indicates this Session is destined for an unimpressive moniker. Whether we call it a “3 and out”, or a “1-2-3 inning”, the stark reality is the 79th Legislative Session will, in all likelihood, not be known for moving the needle on significant business issues – whether those issues are pro-business or business-adverse. Rather, 2017 appears to be headed toward a “tie” – lots of exciting plays, but nothing gets settled at the end of the game except a hefty bar tab.

Heading into sine die, the bills NAIOP was tracking have whittled down to a handful of active legislation. Highlights include: Read more

Government Affairs Report – May, 2017

I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced.

Obi-Wan Kenobi

The first committee and first house passage deadlines have come and gone, and for two weeks in mid-April, the marathon turned into a sprint as legislators and lobbyists rushed to move bills in which they were interested out of committee, and then out of their house of origin.  Bills failing to meet the deadlines, which were not lucky enough to receive a coveted exemption from the rules, perished at the stroke of midnight.  Nights were late, tensions were high, voices raised, fitbit steps tripled.  As in life, despite best efforts, the clock continued to tick and the two most significant legislative deadlines aside of sine die passed, and with them, 272 bills – about 30% – met their demise.  Read more

Government Affairs Report – April, 2017

Nearing the halfway point of the 2017 Legislative Session, schedules have become habitual, and patterns predictable.  As the excitement of a new Legislature wears off and the mid-winter doldrums take hold, Carson City continues to buzz.  While the end is not yet in sight, the pieces continue to move about the board with purpose, leaving little doubt strategies embraced over the interim are being implemented and tweaked to ensure agendas are adopted or defended, and interests are protected, for the upcoming biennium. Read more

Government Affairs Report – March, 2017

Greetings from soggy Carson City!

The 79th Nevada Legislative Session convened on February 6, 2017, and amid the biennial pageantry and promises of bipartisan cooperation in doing “the people’s work” while school children sang “Home Means Nevada”, pre-filed bills began to drop and lawmakers and lobbyists alike were off and running in the hallways of the legislative building.  Bill introductions on the floor, committee agendas, legislator meetings, the first committee hearings; watching Carson City come alive every two years never gets old. Read more

Government Affairs – February, 2017

NAIOP Members –

Kerrie and I could not be more excited to represent your organization during the 2017 Nevada Legislative Session, and beyond. We want to take this opportunity to introduce our practice to you, but first must thank the NAIOP Government Affairs Committee for their faith in our capabilities. We will work hard every day to exceed your expectations. Read more

Government Affairs Report – November & December 2016

Whether you woke up Wednesday, November 9, the day after the General Election feeling dismay, elation or a combination of both, at least now the nasty campaign ads are off the airwaves.

The two most unpopular candidates in the history of U.S. politics did two things…they drove voters both to and away from polls.  The Democratic GOTV (Get Out The Vote) is, historically, the best organized machine in the nation.  The Republican GOTV is, historically, virtually non-existent.

But this time around, while the Democratic machine was able to get voters to the polls, it was unable to get voters to vote the top of ticket – the Presidential ticket – and for presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

The Democrats came out and voted down-ticket in Nevada, locking in the majority in both the State Senate and Assembly.  Voters on both sides supported four key statewide ballot questions:

  1. Strengthen background checks on gun purchases. This won by the slimmest of margins; 50.4% Yes – 49.6% No
  2. Approve recreational marijuana; 54.5% Yes – 45.5% No
  3. Open the energy market to competition; a whopping 72.4% Yes – 27.6% No
  4. Tax exemption for durable medical equipment; 71.8% Yes – 28.2% No

In Clark County, voters also supported a continued increased fuel tax for improved roads and in Washoe County, voters supported increased property taxes to support school construction.  Voters also turned out both GOP Congressman Cresent Hardy in favor of State Senator Ruben Kihuen in Congressional District 3, and perennial contender Danny Tarkanian who drew Harry Reid’s pick, Jacky Rosen in Congressional District 4.

Our Congressional line up:

Dina Titus, D, Congressional District 1.  Titus knows Nevada inside-out, has the airport and strip in her district and knows what makes Nevada tick.  She has an open door both in-district and in D.C. and has terrific staff members who are very responsive.

Mark Amodei, R, Congressional District 2.  Long-time supporter of NAIOP issues. Conservative, but not so overly that he alienates the Democrats.  Amodei represents Carson City and much of northern and rural Nevada.

Ruben Kihuen, D (Cresent Hardy’s seat).  A former State Assemblyman now former State Senator, Kihuen is open and accessible, but has never been viewed as a workhorse. He chaired the first-ever Senate Committee on Economic Development in 2013, however, no bills of note were moved by the committee and will be a good party soldier in Congress.

Jacky Rosen, D.  (Joe Heck’s vacated seat) Rosen was Senator Reid’s hand-picked candidate.  She was a virtual unknown working to best a perennial candidate with a well-known name, Danny Tarkanian. While name recognition is usually a positive, by the fifth campaign, perhaps not so much. Unlike ALL the other candidates, Rosen never once reached out to me via email or phone.  I guess she thought she didn’t need to, and indeed, she did not.

State Senate

The Democrats took back both the Senate and the Assembly and organized early to nominate leadership; Aaron Ford as Majority Leader and Kelvin Atkinson as Assistant Majority Leader.

With the election, the Senate moved from a make-up of 11 Republicans and 10 Democrats, to 10 Democrats and 10 Republicans, with an open Democrat seat (Ruben Kihuen’s). Less than a week after the election, GOP Senator Patricia Farley vacated the party that put her in office and announced she would switch to Non-Partisan and caucus with the Democrats, leaving the Senate make-up 10-9-1, with the yet-to-be appointed Democrat seat rounding that up to 11-9-1.

Ruben Kihuen ran mid-term for Congress, therefore, the County Commission must appoint someone to fill that seat for the 2017 Session. By law, the appointee must be of the same political party.  The most likely candidate to surface for appointment is former Culinary Political Director, Yvanna Cancela.

Senate Leadership has assigned committee membership as follows:

Commerce Labor & Energy (SCLE)

  • Chairman – Kelvin Atkinson, D
  • Vice Chair – Patricia Spearman, D
  • Nicole Cannizzaro, D
  • James Settelmeyer, R
  • Joe Hardy, MD, R
  • Heidi Gansert, R

Education (SEdu)

  • Chairman – Mo Denis, D
  • Vice Chair – Joyce Woodhouse, D
  • Patricia Spearman, D
  • Tick Segerblom, D
  • Scott Hammond, R
  • Don Gustavson, R
  • Becky Harris, R

Finance (SFin)

  • Chairman – Joyce Woodhouse, D
  • Vice Chair – David Parks, D
  • Mo Denis, D
  • Aaron Ford, D
  • Ben Kieckhefer, R
  • Pete Goicoechea, R
  • Becky Harris, R

Governmental Affairs (SGA)

  • Chairman – David Parks, D
  • Vice Chair – Mark Manendo, D
  • Julia Ratti, D
  • Pete Goicoechea, R
  • Joe Hardy, R

Health & Human Services (SHHS)

  • Chairman – Patricia Spearman, D
  • Vice Chair – Julia Ratti, D
  • Joyce Woodhouse, D
  • Joe Hardy, MD, R
  • Scott Hammond, R

Judiciary (SJud)

  • Chair – Tick Segerblom, D
  • Vice Chair – Nicole Cannizzaro, D
  • Aaron Ford, D
  • Mo Denis, D
  • Mike Roberson, R
  • Becky Harris, R
  • Don Gustavson, R

Legislative Operations & Elections (SLegOps)

  • Chair – Nicole Cannizzaro, D
  • Vice Chair – Tick Segerblom, D
  • Kelvin Atkinson, D
  • James Settelmeyer, R
  • Heidi Gansert, R

Natural Resources, Mining & Agriculture (SNR)

  • Chair – TBD
  • Vice Chair – Mark Manendo, D
  • Julia Ratti, D
  • James Settelmeyer, R
  • Pete Goicoechea, R

Revenue & Economic Development (SRed)

  • Chair – Julia Ratti, D
  • Vice Chair – Aaron Ford, D
  • David Parks, D
  • Patricia Farley, NP
  • Mike Roberson, R
  • Ben Kieckhefer, R
  • Heidi Gansert, R

Transportation (STrans)

  • Chair – Mark Manendo, D
  • Vice Chair – Kelvin Atkinson, D
  • Patricia Farley, NV
  • Scott Hammond, R
  • Don Gustavson, R

The Assembly Caucus has not yet – at time of submittal (11-19) — announced committee chairs and/or membership.

The Assembly Democrats have elected newly elected Assemblyman Jason Frierson, who served in the Assembly in 2013 before his defeat in 2015 by John Moore, as Speaker of the House. Frierson is a former prosecutor in the Clark County D.A.’s office and also served as lobbyist for Clark County.  Since 2013, he has practiced law, focusing on assisting families with surrogacy and adoptions.  I have always found him to be fair and moderate.

At the time of this writing, the Assembly Democrats have still not announced leadership positions nor committee chairmanships.  As soon as these leadership posts are announced, we can begin reaching out to members assigned to committees where our bills will be heard.  Most bills of interest to NAIOP members end up in Commerce & Labor, Judiciary and/or Taxation, in both houses.

The Assembly Republicans have announced that former Majority Leader Paul Anderson will be the caucus Minority Leader. Assemblyman James Oscarson, who represents a very large and predominantly rural district with some precincts in West Las Vegas (Red Rock area) will be co-Assistant Minority Leader.  Assemblyman Jim Wheeler will also serve as co-Assistant Minority Leader. Boulder City Assemblywoman Melissa Woodbury will serve as Whip and Assemblyman John Ellison from Elko will serve in the newly created position of “Rural Whip.”

And on the Local Level…..

Did you think that the elections were over? Ha!  That would be nice. However, now that the state and county commission races are done, the municipal races (City) are in play.

Las Vegas City Council races are just heating up, but many of you have likely been getting calls from some of our favorite council members…and others…

Las Vegas City Councilman Stavros Anthony, who has always made himself available for meetings and events, is running for reelection.  Councilman Anthony made a run for Mayor against current Mayor Carolyn Goodman in 2015 and is now running for his existing seat. To date, he has no opponent.

Las Vegas City Councilman Bob Beers is also running for reelection. I’ve not worked with Beers much in his capacity as a City Councilman, but I can certainly say that when he was serving first in the State Assembly and then in the State Senate, Beers was great to work with. He is quick to grasp issues, does his homework and once he commits, he never goes sideways on an issue.  Beers took an early and unpopular position supporting the development of residential units on the Badlands Golf Course.  This could cause him some grief in his campaign.

With Las Vegas City Councilman Steve Ross terming out in 2017, there are two known names (so far) seeking the seat…Steve’s wife, Kelli Ross, and Clark County School Board member Chris Garvey.  Kelli ran unsuccessfully for State Senate four years ago and is a flight attendant.  Chris Garvey has served on the CCSD board and has a long history in Southern Nevada.

The City of North Las Vegas has seats up for grabs; namely the top seat of Mayor.  Current Mayor John Lee is running for reelection and is working hard to raise money to keep former legislator/County Commissioner Tom Collins at bay.  Collins announced his intention of running well over a year ago.  Fraught with legal and personal issues, Collins is the perennial bull in the china shop. Lee has a good rapport with his council members and is committed to turning North Las Vegas around.

North Las Vegas Council members up for reelection in Spring 2017 are Anita Wood of Ward 3 and Isaac Barron of  Ward 1.

With three of the five top City of Henderson officers just reelected in 2016, Councilman John Marz of Ward 3 is the lone council member running for reelection.  Mayor Andy Hafen has one term left as well.

Just when you thought it was safe to put away your checkbook…

Susan L. Fisher
McDonald Carano Wilson, LLP
sfisher@mcwlaw.com

Government Affairs Report – October, 2016

Be Sure to Vote on November 8!

Nevada’s General Election is just a bit over a month away. On Tuesday, November 8, Nevadans will be selecting our next President, filling a US Senate and making a choice on all four of Nevada’s members of the US House of Representatives.

Whether you are Democrat, Republican, or Independent/Non-Partisan/Green Party, etc., your vote is important. I’ve heard a lot of people say they aren’t happy with the “top of the ticket” choices (presidential race) so they plan to just skip this election. That is really unfortunate because while there may be one race that they don’t like, there are many other very important races to consider down-ticket. Read more

Government Affairs Report – August, 2016

As we near the end of summer in an off-legislative year, legislative activity actually kicks up several gears.  Legislators and legislative committees that meet during the interim are busy vetting ideas to submit as bill draft requests (BDRs) to be introduced once the 2017 session begins. Read more

The Benefits of Joining NAIOP Government Affairs Committee

There are many complicated and confusing measures and laws in our local district and before I joined the NAIOP Government Affairs Committee the Business License Tax;  the Commerce Tax; the Industrial Infrastructure Fund were only fillers within taglines sprinkled throughout the local business press. In my mind, these were verbose laws voted on by Carson City legislators and local officials – political types whom I knew nothing about. Read more