Gov. Sandoval finalizes 2017 Session with Vetoes

Jun 21, 2017

Gov. Brian Sandoval signs bills with Speaker Jason Frierson (D-Las Vegas) and Assm. Paul Anderson (R-Las Vegas)
Credit Paul Boger

Nevada’s Republican Governor Brian Sandoval put the 2017 legislative session to bed last week when he took final action on a set of bills that had garnered national attention. 

To talk about that, we turn to Reno Public Radio’s political reporter Paul Boger. He spoke with our news director Michelle Billman about the latest from Carson City.

Late last week Governor Sandoval vetoed a set of bills that garnered a lot of attention. Tell us about that.

Yeah, let’s start off with AB374 – sponsored by Sparks Democrat Assemblyman Mike Sprinkle – it would have given every Nevada the ability to buy into the state’s Medicaid program.

Lawmakers passed that measure on party-line votes in the final hours of the session.

I caught up with the Governor last Friday shortly before he announced his decision. At that point, he was still holding his cards pretty close to the chest and didn’t want to go into too much detail about his decision. However, he said he had a number of concerns.

BITE: SANDOVAL

Many Republicans lawmakers approved of the vetos. One, Assemblyman Jim Marchant of Las Vegas, sent out a tweet over the weekend calling the measure’s Nevada’s Obamacare, and that the state dodged a bullet.

Democrats, on the other hand, were obviously critical of the Governor’s actions. In a statement released shortly after the Governor’s veto, Assemblyman Michael Sprinkle said the Governor denied a right that all Nevadans should have.

In addition, Governor Sandoval also vetoed AB206 – a measure that would have increased the state’s renewable portfolio standards. It would have required energy providers to increase the amount of power they generate from sources like solar, wind and geothermal to 40 percent by 2030.

This bill received a lot of pushback from energy providers as well as a number of businesses including the Nevada Resort Association.

In all, Sandoval vetoed a total of 41 bills this session. The highest in his career as Governor.

What did he approve?

Well, that’s what’s kind of funny. While the Governor vetoed the R.P.S. bill, he approved AB405, which helps reinstate the state’s net metering rate. Proponents of the bill say the move could bring back a number of rooftop solar jobs to the state after regulators gutted the pricing structure in 2015.

Sandoval also approved a diabetes drug transparency bill that would force drug manufacturers to disclose certain costs and profits. Many have hailed the measure as a first-in-the-nation transparency measure aimed at reducing the cost of medicines like Insulin.

The Governor also held a series of bill signing ceremonies in Las Vegas and Northern Nevada last week. Here in Reno, Sandoval approved the last budget bill for the 2018-2019 Biennium. The Capital Improvements Planning bill allows the state to spend or borrow money to build, maintain and repair state-owned property. Included in that measure was appropriations for a new Northern Nevada Veterans Home and about 40 million dollars for a new engineering building on the University of Nevada, Reno among other projects. UNR President Marc Johnson says the financial boost is an investment for the entire state.

BITE: JOHNSON

What does this mean for Lawmakers?

You know, that’s kind of interesting. This was his last session as Governor. And I bring that up because Democrats put a lot of work into these bills, and I think they’ll try use the Governor’s veto as a campaign tool against Republicans in the election next year.

That may even help them override the vetoes when they meet again in 2019, and at that time we may have a Democratic Governor who would be more amenable to this kind of legislation.