PLAN’s Statement on the 81st Legislative Session
Even after several disappointments, there is plenty to celebrate this session
Carson City, NV–– The 81st regular session of the Nevada Legislature adjourned sine die at Midnight, after 120 days of organizing and advocacy by PLAN and progressive allies to pass legislation that addresses the needs of Nevadans still trying to come out of the COVID pandemic whole.
Laura Martin, the executive director of the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada released the following statement:
“This was one of the most consequential legislative sessions in recent memory. With hundreds of thousands Nevadans at risk of eviction, threats to our democracy, police violence, and painful budget cuts to education, health care, and other essential services, it seemed the economic downturn caused by the COVID pandemic was leading Nevada back to the “lean and mean” governing days that hurt Nevada families and threatened future prosperity. Some of the deepest pain Nevadans felt was due to the state’s inability to raise new revenue and aggressively address Nevada’s threadbare social safety net and underfunded public services during prior legislative sessions. We came into this session looking for our legislators to be bold and pass meaningful legislation to address housing, secure voting rights, deliver justice, hold mining and police accountable, and bring new revenue to our state.
“Our legislature was able to secure huge advancements in voting rights and expand access to eligible Nevadans, including vote by mail and automatic voter registration. With the introduction of a public health care option, Nevada will be a leader in healthcare affordability. Environmental protections and efforts to hold dirty mines accountable will support Nevada’s efforts to move to a clean energy future. Reforms to the justice system to end mass incarceration in Nevada have been a focal point for PLAN and our partners for several legislative sessions. It’s thanks to PLAN’s Mass Liberation Project that many of these policies, including the decriminalization of traffic tickets, data collection, and bail reform are headed to Governor Sisolak’s desk. We just wish abolition of the death penalty was headed there too.
“The 32nd Special Session of the Legislature produced three joint resolutions to tax the mining industry in Nevada and provide desperately needed new revenue. PLAN’s preference was Assembly Joint Resolution 1** make its way through the legislature so Nevada voters can have a final say during the 2022 election. PLAN launched a statewide digital and field campaign to build support for taxing mines among Nevada’s legislators. It is this pressure, coupled with PLAN’s decades long advocacy and organizing that taxing mines was even a viable option among legislative leadership. After meetings with the mining industry it was clear they felt entitled to continue using our state to make profits. But it was thanks to our pressure they came to the table and agreed to what they previously told us was impossible: a gross revenue tax that only affected the mining industry. AB495 is not the best option, funding vouchers or unaccountable charter schools is unacceptable, but it was important for us to raise revenue for public education and prove our point: the mining industry in Nevada should and can pay what it owes to Nevadans. This deal is a strong start to addressing the privileged position mining has, and in no way let’s them or any corporation off the hook for using our state to make their shareholders rich to the detriment of every Nevada’s quality of life.
“This session, Nevadans will feel some relief, but will also feel some of the shortcomings. One outstanding truth this virtual session made apparent was that we need a professional legislature to legislate more than 120 days every biennium. Some of the toughest missed opportunities to handle were at the hands of legislative leadership with conflicts of interests stemming from their day jobs.
“We acknowledge the impossible task of legislative leadership who have had to endure seemingly insurmountable obstacles associated with the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the tireless work of advocates who had to overcome barriers to reach their elected officials and make their needs and concerns heard. We will continue to push for a Nevada that puts people and planet first. ”
The Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada (PLAN) was founded in 1994 to bring together diverse and potentially competing organizations into one cohesive force for social and environmental justice in Nevada.Since 1994, our organization has grown from 12 original founding member groups to a current membership of nearly 30 organizations.