Government Affairs Report – January 2018

Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week, you can begin paving hell with them as usual.

– Mark Twain

Happy Holidays! Kerrie and I would like to thank NAIOP Southern Nevada, its Board of Directors, the Government Affairs Committee and all members for a wonderful 2017. Before turning the page on our first year representing the organization which represents Nevada’s second largest industry, we’d like to take the opportunity to look back on a very active and successful year.

2017 by any measure is a NAIOP success story. In February, Kerrie and I made our biennial trek to Carson City for the 2017 Nevada Legislative Session and began work on re-orienting NAIOP’s legislative posture from what had been traditionally defensive to collaborative; a position NAIOP must maintain as the voice of an industry. To that end, we amended or defeated 5 bills which would have opened the door to application of prevailing wage to privately-funded commercial developments. In addition, we defeated legislation intended to create a public registry and licensing requirement for vacant commercial properties. We significantly amended a bill which required all newly-constructed commercial buildings to have baby-changing stations in every restroom, by reducing the number of required stations to 1 equally-accessible station per building and creating an “opt-out” for buildings with no restrooms available to the public. Together with the RTC, we advanced Nevada’s access to federal infrastructure appropriations by advocating in favor of legislation creating transportation and utility infrastructure banks. Finally, we positioned NAIOP as the recognized thought-leader on real property tax reform measures by offering substantial testimony regarding the impact of real property tax abatements (caps) on the commercial real estate industry and options for revision, defeating legislation offering only partial solutions to restructuring Nevada’s property tax code, and advocating in favor of a resolution seeking open debate on solutions currently interpreted to be in violation of the Nevada Constitution.

Of tremendous importance to galvanizing NAIOP’s role as a leader in the business community, we developed pro-business coalitions with other influential business associations to fully vet the impact of business-related legislation and develop unified positions strengthened by large constituencies. Together these coalitions were instrumental in defeating legislation such as the “plastic bag tax” and proposed minimum wage hikes.

Away from Carson City, NAIOP experienced unprecedented success locally. Drawing upon our existing relationships with staff and local elected officials, we moved NAIOP into its rightful place as an industry leader and resource for its members as well as local municipalities. Together with Clark County staff, our Government Affairs Committee worked to amend the County’s parking ordinance and NAIOP’s President, Jay Heller, publicly supported adoption of the agreed-upon language. Similarly, we are in the final stages of negotiation with the City of Henderson on revisions to its parking ordinance. In addition, we continue to work with local municipalities on issues relating to federal lands and infrastructure. Over the last year, NAIOP has become such a presence locally that it was called out as a primary stakeholder to contribute its vast institutional knowledge of commercial real estate to Clark County’s submittal for the Amazon Headquarters project.

Turning toward 2018, we see NAIOP increasing its profile and influence throughout Nevada. Among the many projects the Government Affairs Committee will be undertaking is expediting the approval process in both planning and permitting. In addition, we will continue to monitor issues related to text amendments to local zoning codes, planning, permitting, and licensing fees, and fire codes. At the state level, we will continue leading the charge with respect to real property tax reform, and for the first time, NAIOP will be advancing its own legislation, including a bill seeking to clarify the Nevada Commerce Tax with respect to CAM charges. We will also be working with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development on increasing NAIOP’s role in facilitating the state’s economic development plan, and the RTC on transportation enhancements. At the federal level, we will be working with Nevada’s congressional delegation on infrastructure appropriations, and increasing the availability of develop-able property by addressing some of the federal disposal boundaries. With respect to the upcoming 2018 election cycle, we will be working with the Government Affairs Committee on vetting and supporting candidates for office who have an understanding of issues which may impact commercial real estate.

Kerrie and I are so proud to represent NAIOP and working with your organization has exceeded all of our expectations. Looking back at 2017, it is hard to believe we accomplished so much in just one year. Although it was not easy, the road we paved this year has opened doors and allowed NAIOP to advance its agenda like never before. We are so excited for 2018 and we look forward to a wonderful new year!

All the best,

Jon & Kerrie

 

Jonathan P. Leleu, Shareholder
Kerrie Kramer, Assistant Director

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

Government Affairs Report – December 2017

There is no sincerer love than the love of food.  George Bernard Shaw

It’s that time again, where we gather with family and friends and stuff ourselves until we are uncomfortably full. The holiday season is upon us; time for food, festivities, merriment, federal lands discussions, tax packages, and campaign contributions. Given the nature of the season, and how busy everyone is, we thought we’d keep it light for you this month. Just a quick overview of a few issues facing NAIOP, with a much longer, more in depth write-up on each topic to follow. You didn’t think we’d let you off the hook that easy did you? Read more

Government Affairs Report – November 2017

The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like, and do what you’d rather not.

– Mark Twain

The Commerce Tax was signed by Gov. Sandoval on June 9, 2015 and since that date, various groups have toiled to repeal it. Nearly three years later, as we close in on the 2018 election cycle, the Commerce Tax remains a hot-button issue for many candidates, particularly within the GOP. Indeed, the Commerce Tax will likely again be a deciding factor in a number of primary races (and may have brought about the primary challenge in the first place). Given recent reports of candidates weighing the possibility of repealing the Commerce Tax and the filing of a referendum which, if successful, would bring the question of repealing the Commerce Tax to the voters, it is time to re-familiarize ourselves with the history of the Commerce Tax, and begin thinking about positioning NAIOP for the upcoming policy discussion.
Read more

Government Affairs Report – October 2017

“ A man who carries the cat by tail learns something he can learn in no other way.” – Mark Twain

And we’re off… with no less than three recall petitions going on, to oust three legitimately elected Nevada state senators, the 2018 election season is well underway. While there is still much that is unknown about why these recall efforts started, the information which has been uncovered since our last update is enlightening.
Read more

Government Affairs Report – September 2017

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
Blockin’ out the scenery, breakin’ my mind
Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?

The song “Signs” was originally recorded in 1971, and covered in 1990 with slightly – shall we say different – lyrics. Bonus points to anyone who can name both artists.

Debating signs, along with size, location, medium, and content, has a long and storied history in America. The issue was even taken up by First Lady, Lady Bird Johnson, which culminated in Congress passing the Highway Beautification Act in 1965. Paradoxically, the Highway Beautification Act, which sought to reduce signs on our nation’s highways, didn’t seem to work, as just 6 years later someone wrote a song about excessive signs, which was re-made 20 years after that. Signs have proliferated everywhere from our urban centers to suburban malls. Signs are beginning to appear on major league sports jerseys. Right, wrong, or indifferent, the 21st century is shaping up to be the age of information, where those with information seek to transfer it to those without, by any means possible, but mostly, by signs. Read more

Government Affairs Report – August 2017

I think we’re at the crossroads – whether we want to be the entertainment capital of the world or a great American city. Our economy is good. Things are so wonderful in Las Vegas and it’s time to move to the next level.

– Oscar B. Goodman, 2005

Oftentimes in government, issues come full-circle. That moment presents an opportunity to change course or continue the cycle. Moving away from comfortable norms requires innovation, imagination, and guts on the part of elected officials, staff, industry, and citizens. While trust can be hard, especially when it comes to governmental action, nothing can be accomplished unless decisions are made, and actions are taken. Read more

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. Read more

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