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
– 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.
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.
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.
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