Nevada Legislature to convene special session July 8

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Chanilim714 [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Gov. Steve Sisolak on Wednesday announced the start date for the upcoming special session: July 8.

The formal proclamation, which will set the parameters of topics legislators are allowed to discuss and take action on, will be issued “at a later date,” according to the announcement from the governor’s office. The special session will address the projected $1.3 billion budget shortfall for Fiscal Year 2021, which began Wednesday, but may also include “policy proposals related to criminal and social justice reform.”

Nevada is projecting an estimating a $1.3 billion shortfall in Fiscal Year 2021. The majority of that — $900 million — is within the General Fund, with the remainder falling under the Distributive School Account that funds K-12 education.

This comes on the heels of the $812 million shortfall in Fiscal Year 2020, which ended June 30. That budget hole was filled by draining the state’s $401 million Rainy Day Fund and a combination of budget cuts and CARES Act funding.

Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson last month said during a criminal justice panel there was an appetite for criminal justice reform. Attorney General Aaron Ford’s office has compiled a comprehensive list of possible actions the Nevada Legislature could take. Ford is also expected to make specific recommendations to the legislator.

The special session announcement also acknowledged the July 8 date is subject to change: “Due to the unprecedented nature of the state’s current situation, (the governor) will remain flexible and provide any updates on the timing of the session as needed, based on public health conditions.”

COVID-19 cases are rising in Nevada following the reopening of many businesses and mass protests last month.

The Legislative Counsel Bureau previously announced the upcoming special session would be physically closed to the public in order to maintain required social distancing protocols. Members of the public will be allowed to participate virtually.

April Corbin Girnus
April Corbin Girnus is an award-winning journalist with a decade of media experience. She has been a beat writer at Las Vegas Sun, a staff writer at LEO Weekly, web editor of Las Vegas Weekly and a blogger documenting North American bike share systems’ efforts to increase ridership in underserved communities. An occasional adjunct journalism professor, April steadfastly rejects the notion that journalism is a worthless major. Amid the Great Recession, she earned a B.A. in journalism from the University of Nevada Las Vegas, where she served as editor-in-chief of the student newspaper. She later earned an M.A. in media studies and a graduate certificate in media management from The New School for Public Engagement. April currently serves on the board of the Society of Professional Journalists Las Vegas pro chapter. A stickler about municipal boundary lines, April enjoys teaching people about unincorporated Clark County. She grew up in Sunrise Manor and currently resides in Paradise with her husband, two children and three mutts.