Clark County Commission grapples with on-site child care, more weed shops

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Clark County Government Center. Carol M. Highsmith photo, Wikimedia Commons
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Clark County Government Center. Carol M. Highsmith photo, Wikimedia Commons

A proposal by Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom to provide on-site child care for Clark County government workers appears to be going nowhere in light of stringent requirements imposed by the state. 

“I think it would be great for our employees to have that as an additional resource,” Segerblom said, noting McCarran International Airport employees have access to such a facility. 

“It seems to me if we can make their lives easier, it’s the best of all worlds.” 

“I will tell you now, the one (child care center) at the airport is heavily subsidized,” chairwoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick noted. “We can do a manager’s report to show that.”

“It requires separate toilets for the kids.  It requires a playground. It’s pretty entailed,” Kirkpatrick said of state licensing requirements for child care. 

The state licenses child care facilities, with the exception of those located in Washoe County, which are locally regulated. 

Kirkpatrick noted that U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto is a co-sponsor of the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit Enhancement Act, which would provide tax breaks to families burdened with child care expenses, estimated by Congress at an annual cost of about $10,000 per child.

Access to workforce centers

Commissioners Tuesday also received an update on Southern Nevada’s Workforce Connections’ one-stop career centers, which provide employment training and job search assistance.

“It seems like there’s a large swath of the southwest and all of District F, which really isn’t being serviced right now,” Commissioner Justin Jones, who represents District F, told Workforce Connections’ Executive Director Jaime Cruz.  “So I’d like to have a discussion with you when you are talking about expansion to include that part of town.” 

Commissioner Lawrence Weekly echoed the sentiment, asking Cruz if the organization planned to open additional one-stop centers. 

Cruz said Workforce Connections is working to “bring funding streams together” to enable expansion.  The organization administers $20 million of some $140 to $160 million in federal funding made available to Southern Nevada for job development.  The remaining funds are administered by state agencies such as the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services. 

Additionally, Cruz said Workforce Connections intends to place a one-stop center in each of the Clark County libraries, including those in underserved areas of the valley. 

Earlier this year, Culinary union-affiliated Nevada Partners sued Workforce Connections when the organization’s board voted to divert funding from the non-profit to a for-profit, national company. The action is pending in federal court.

Kirkpatrick noted the need to include 16 to 24-year-old youth in the agency’s efforts and emphasized the desire of that age group to  “earn while you learn.” 

“We get a lot of kids who are stuck,” she said. “They can’t work certain jobs until they are 18 but need to at 16.  They need to put food on the table for their family, or they don’t have a home to go to.” 

Cruz said that for the first time, the state is requesting a waiver and the Department of Labor has “signaled intent to allow us to be more flexible in serving youth.”

Marijuana licensing

Kirkpatrick also took exception to developments in the legal cannabis industry, including the effort by six state-approved applicants to receive licensing approval from the county. 

“For me, it’s not what it was intended to be, from the get go,” Kirkpatrick said of the legal marijuana industry. “We had all these folks who were going to keep it homegrown, keep it in Nevada.”

Kirkpatrick complained original licensees have sold their interests to out-of-state parties.  She promised a review of cannabis-related issues would be forthcoming. 

“Every day there’s something different, something new,” Kirkpatrick said. “There’s a federal thing that says you can’t sell it as pet food. Yet we have fifty locations that are selling those (CBD) oils to be used for pets. We have the lab incident.  I don’t even know how we got to that point. I just want real answers.” 

Commissioner Tick Segerblom noted that voters in 2016 approved Question 2, which allowed the state to grant additional cannabis licenses. 

“One company in Clark County has ten percent of the whole state,” Segerblom said of Planet 13, owned by former Boulder City Mayor Bob Groesbeck.  “‘I’d hate to see a handful of people get rich because we are artificially limiting the people who are involved.”

Climate crisis

During Tuesday’s meeting, Jones also requested the county hire a sustainability manager. The county had one in the past, but the position was eliminated. Jones suggested the position would be responsible for an audit of current sustainability efforts within the county, and what further steps it could be taking. The audit, he added, would provide an implementable action plan within the next year.

Jones also asked fellow commissioners to consider joining the County Climate Coalition, a commitment from counties around the country to uphold the United Nations Paris Agreement on climate change.

Earlier this year the state of Nevada joined several other states within the U.S. Climate Alliance, which formed to commit to the Paris Agreement shortly after President Trump withdrew the U.S. from the accord.

Michael Lyle contributed to this report. 

Dana Gentry
Reporter | Dana Gentry is a native Las Vegan and award-winning investigative journalist. She is a graduate of Bishop Gorman High School and holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Gentry began her career in broadcasting as an intern at Channel 8, KLAS-TV. She later became a reporter at Channel 8, working with Las Vegas TV news legends Bob Stoldal and the late Ned Day. Gentry left her reporting job in 1985 to focus on motherhood. She returned to TV news in 2001 to launch "Face to Face with Jon Ralston" and the weekly business programs In Business Las Vegas and Vegas Inc, which she co-anchored with Jeff Gillan. Dana is the mother of four adult children, three cats, three dogs and a cockatoo.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for this update. It’s really helpful for those of us who were unable to attend the meeting. Special thanks to Commissioner Jones for bringing up the issue of sustainability and suggesting we join the County Climate Alliance. Every small action to combat climate change helps.

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