“You know how I always dread the whole year? Well, this time I’m only going to dread one day at a time.” – Charlie Brown
What is a “New Year?” Is it a clean break from the past, or just another tomorrow? 2020 was a year where every tomorrow looked like yesterday, and we ended the year right where we began – looking out the window wondering what next year will bring. Here’s to hoping we can leave the dread in 2020; but first, here’s a look at some of the things that contributed to our gray hair this past year. NAIOP started the year off right with our annual Day on the Hill in Washington DC, where we met with our federal delegation and fought the good fight toward expanding the BLM disposal boundaries in Southern Nevada, and advocating in favor of legislation intended to spur development and growth in the state. As an organization, we thought this would be our biggest fight of 2020. If only…if only.
Shortly after our time in DC, the COVID-19 pandemic struck our nation and our state. Nevadans were some of the hardest hit by the effects of the pandemic and the shuttering of our economy, while we tried to “flatten the curve” and control the spread of the virus. And while CRE was deemed essential, our industry wasn’t without its trials. At the end of March an eviction moratorium was put in place to keep people in their homes and businesses. Directive 008, was well intentioned, but needed another look on the commercial front, as many landlords and tenants had already come to some sort of lease workout agreement and landlords needed all remedies available to them in addition to those agreements. So, we went to work on educating our government officials on the issues commercial landlords were facing and how the eviction laws already in place protect both tenant and landlord when it comes to evictions in the state. The endeavor took nearly 3 months, but we were successful in getting the issue resolved and the moratorium lifted. More than a few grey hairs were earned as Q2 came to a close.
Shortly after the moratorium was lifted, the first of two special legislative sessions started. This 100% remote session was unlike any other – in a year where unprecedented became the norm. As revenue shortfalls and court cases turned the budget into Swiss cheese, lawmakers had to do their best to cobble together stabilizing measures, making major cuts to DHHS and education. There were plenty of shenanigans and fireworks (and not the fun kind), and after 12 long days and nights the legislature adjourned with the promise of another special session to follow shortly. It was during the second virtual special session, where the heavy lifting came. Businesses were in desperate need of commercial liability protections, while employees were in need of safety assurances and protections that would allow for them to safely return to work. It took just over a week for both sides to agree that the legislation was not perfect and neither side was going to receive everything they wanted, but that the liability protections passed amounted to a good start. All in all, for NAIOP members and the business community as a whole, this was a win. During this time, gray hairs were accumulating far more rapidly than before.
While all of this was going on, the federal delegation’s attention was obviously elsewhere, pushing aside the federal lands bills we had been working toward in favor of aid packages aimed at keeping the nation treading water. But as 2020 wound down and stimulus legislation was passed, NAIOP renewed its ferver toward passing the public lands bills, publishing its commissioned land study, and holding many meetings to present and educate like minded industry leaders, major business interests, municipal leaders, and the federal delegation. Now that we have entered 2021, we continue to meet with and encourage our lawmakers to pass legislation that expands our disposal boundaries while keeping responsible growth in mind. We will also continue to work on local issues within the jurisdictions as they come up to ensure code revisions, ordinances, fee changes, and anything else development related is done with NAIOP at the table. There is still much to be done, so you may as well start embracing the gray.
2020 was difficult for everyone, but we will continue to work to ease the burdens on development where we can for all NAIOP members. Happy New Year to each and everyone of you, and thank you for your continued support of our efforts.
Jon & Kerrie
Jonathan Leleu, Lobbyist/Attorney
Kerrie Kramer, Lobbyist