Government Affairs Report – July 2023

Together again
Gee, it’s good to be together again
I just can’t imagine that you’ve ever been gone
It’s not starting over, it’s just going on

Together again
Now we’re here and there’s no need remembering when

‘Cause no feeling feels like that feeling
Together again

– The Muppets

Endearing, isn’t it?  Indeed, driving through Washoe Valley on the way to Day 1 of the 2023 Nevada Legislative Session had that unmistakable feeling of comfort and familiarity.  Despite the fact that the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, and more than 20 of the 63 Legislators had never experienced a live legislative session, we were anxious to see our friends, work with our long-standing coalitions, and actually attend a live lobbying meeting for the first time since 2019. Yet, all good things must come to an end, and shortly after the gavel commenced the 2023 Session, our happy Muppets earworm quickly gave way to the mutually-assured destruction message from “Beat It”:

Just beat it, beat it 
No one wants to be defeated
Showin’ how funky and strong is your fight
It doesn’t matter who’s wrong or right

Just beat it 

– Michael Jackson

As the interests of the state gave way to national political talking points and political infighting within and between the parties, the Assembly, the Senate, and the Governor’s office, the Carson faithful hunkered down for a long, bruising session.  It should come as no surprise, then, that when the dust settled on sine die, very little was accomplished.  Although legislative Democrats were quick to pillory Governor Lombardo for shattering the “record” for vetoes in a single session, very little mention has been made of either the plague-like attrition of legislation throughout the session, or the volume of awful policy which the legislature sent to the Governor’s desk, necessitating “the power of the pen.”  And while the number of vetoed bills is high, so too is the hubris in expecting that all bills passed by the legislature should be signed by the Governor, a separate but co-equal branch of government.

The numbers are eye-opening:

– BDR”s – 1,234

– Total Bills Introduced – 1,044

– Bills Passed and Sent to Gov. Lombardo – 610 (58%)

– Bills Signed – 535 (88%)

– Bills Vetoed – 75 (12%)

By any measure, the 2023 Nevada Legislative Session will be remembered for its missed opportunities, as Nevada electeds invariably chose politics over state interests on nearly every issue.  Indeed, even the appropriations bill for capital improvements was unable to escape partisan gamesmanship, as the Senate failed to pass the bill by sine die, requiring a special session to be held such that the budget could be fully funded; a constitutional mandate.  Over and over, bills that passed were either unanimous or party-line; a key indicator that caucuses are dug-in and bills are not being negotiated.  And while the parties may point to their respective “wins,” reality is actual progress for the State of Nevada was minimal, and Nevada’s unique 120-day biennial legislative session prevents further action until 2025, widening the chasm between where Nevada needs to be as a state in the 21st century, and where it ended up after sine die on June 6, 2023.


Jon Leleu
Argentum Partners

Kerrie Kramer
Argentum Partners