Legislative Update – June 2016

The Primary is June 14!


The June 14 Primary election is rapidly approaching and I am on pins and needles! There are some key races that will be decided on that date.  I anticipate seeing at least a couple of sitting legislators being defeated, and for some, it will be because of their vote of support for the Commerce Tax.  I am also looking forward to a bit of a lull after the Primary so that I can stop the endless stream of fundraising events each night and meals on skewers.


The part I do love about campaign season is getting to know the new candidates; learning what made them decide to run for public office; and how they think they will handle their current job and/or family responsibilities if they are “lucky” enough to find themselves moving to Carson City for 120 days next February.  I like to build a connection with them early on because once they get elected, if they get elected, they are bombarded with requests for meetings, bills, favors. Everyone wants a piece of them.  That’s when I try to leave them alone for a while, to let reality sink in.


NAIOP has met with a number of candidates – both sitting and wanna-be legislators.  We also met with a couple of County Commissioners who are running for reelection and spent a good part of the time discussing how we can better work with various departments at the County to have early input and basically just build better relationships with staff.  With the help of Chairman Sisolak, we are working to establish a standing meeting with key staffers from Public Works, Planning, Water and Reclamation and others as needed.


In additional to our own NAIOP candidate interviews and meetings, your MCW team is out there meeting with candidates individually.  We also get together with other lobbyists and industry groups to discuss the races and get background on the candidates.


We have learned from these meetings that there are some really good candidates on both sides of the political aisle.  There are others who may want to find another calling.


While NAIOP does not endorse candidates, we do provide modest financial contributions to a few legislators in key leadership positions or ones who have proven to be friends of NAIOP.  I always encourage contributing early on because as one of my MCW teammates says, “Money talks, but early money shouts!”


If you would like any information on candidates in your own district or anywhere in the state, shoot me a note (sfisher@mcwlaw.com) and I will share with you what I know.


Special Session?


There has been speculation about a potential Special Session to deal with “The Stadium Deal.”  Talk of a special session is premature as there is no deal yet.  Even if one had been struck, there would most certainly not be a special session called before the primary election.  First and foremost, the Governor would not call a session because it would interrupt incumbent campaign fundraising.  From the moment the Governor calls a special session and for 15 days after conclusion of a special session, legislators are barred from soliciting or receiving campaign contributions.  However, their opponents can continue to raise funds.  A special session now would put many of the Governors most loyal soldiers at a disadvantage.


Secondly, there are currently five (5) vacancies in the legislature; three seats in Washoe County and two seats in Clark County.  The County Commissioners in Washoe and Clark would have to appoint someone to fill the open seats for the special session and until the November General election.  It is hard to find just one or two candidates to fill a seat with no future, let alone five seats!


Getting ready for session.


NAIOP leadership has talked with key legislators about issues of concern and we have the commitment from one legislator to introduce a bill to fix one particularly thorny issue.


In very early 2015, prior to the start of the legislative session, NAIOP met with a consortium of like-minded industry groups (e.g. Southern NV Home Builders Assoc, NV Subcontractors Assoc, NV Contractors, NV Apartment Assoc, ABC Nevada) to compare notes and discuss priorities for the upcoming session.  This open and honest collaboration was very helpful last session so we are doing the meetings again this year; starting earlier and meeting multiple times to identify issues.  We may not always agree on every single point, but the process is enlightening and is a great team-building experience with industry partners.  It will help us hit the ground running with what we hope will be a common agenda.


Don’t forget to vote on June 14 or before!


Early voting begins May 28 and ends June 10.  If you think you might be busy or out of town on June 14, I urge you to either vote early (locations are listed on your Sample Ballot) or request an Absentee Ballot no later than June 7.  You must send in your ballot prior to June 14 to arrive in the County Clerk/Registrar’s office by 7:00 p.m. on Election Day.   Go to http://www.clarkcountynv.gov/vote to apply for an Absentee Ballot.


Legislative Update – May 24, 2016

Susan L. Fisher

Vice President, Government Affairs Group

McDonald Carano Wilson