Committee formed to track federal coronavirus relief funds

Interim Finance Committee meeting on May 21
The Interim Finance Committee met virtually on May 21 to create a new subcommittee focused on accountability of coronavirus relief funding.

A new legislative subcommittee will focus on transparency and accountability of coronavirus federal relief funding.

Interim Finance Committee meeting on May 21
The Interim Finance Committee met virtually on May 21 to create a new subcommittee focused on accountability of coronavirus relief funding.

The Interim Finance Committee unanimously approved the formation of the 12-person subcommittee Thursday. The subcommittee is tasked with reviewing public agencies’ plans for spending federal coronavirus relief funds, including those already allocated through the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), as well as anything received as a result of future federal legislation. The subcommittee is also tasked with reviewing grants and establishing priorities for the state.

The full resolution listing the subcommittee’s purpose is available here.

A similar subcommittee was created in 2009 amid the Great Recession, said Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson, who will chair the new subcommittee.

The new subcommittee is composed of six Assembly lawmakers and six Senate lawmakers. Eight are Democrats; four are Republicans.

  • Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson (D)
  • State Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro (D)
  • State Sen. Chris Brooks (D)
  • State Sen. Yvanna Cancela (D)
  • State Sen. Joyce Woodhouse (D)
  • State Sen. Ben Kieckhefer (R)
  • State Sen. Pete Goicoechea (R)
  • Assembly Majority Leader Teresa Benitez-Thompson (D)
  • Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno (D)
  • Assemblywoman Sandra Jauregui (D)
  • Assemblywoman Jill Tolles (R)
  • Assemblyman Tom Roberts (R)

Earlier this week, the Interim Finance Committee voted along party lines to authorize the use of the state’s $401 million Rainy Day Fund to shore up the current fiscal year budget, which ends June 30. Republicans at that meeting and at a previous IFC meeting raised concerns about transparency and accountability of the state’s handling of the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, which has the potential to be a slapdash mixture of Rainy Day Funds, federal relief funds and budget reductions.

The state budget shortfall is estimated to be between $741 million to more than $900 million for the current fiscal year, according to the state.

Nevada has received approximately $1.25 billion in coronavirus relief funding. Some of that has gone directly to local municipalities or agencies, but at least $836 million is flexible and can be used for either state or municipal-level efforts.

After the subcommittee’s creation Thursday, the Nevada Senate Democrats released a statement attributed to State Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro. It read, in part: “We want to ensure that we are spending these dollars wisely and exploring every option to help Nevada families and businesses alike get back on their feet and recover from this pandemic.”

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.