By Sean Whaley
February 9, 2017
CARSON CITY — Senate Republicans on Wednesday released their agenda and goals for the 2017 legislative session in a report called “A Pathway Forward For All Nevadans.”
The plan includes funding Education Savings Accounts, voter ID and a transfer of federal lands to Nevada, all issues that Democrats have not embraced.
The GOP Senate Caucus is a nine-member group that is in the minority this session. The 21-member Senate includes 11 Democrats and one independent.
“Last session, Senate Republicans oversaw the most far-reaching, consequential legislative session in Nevada history,” said Minority Leader Michael Roberson, R-Henderson. “We ushered through many reforms and were proud to stand with Governor Sandoval.
“This session we will keep those reforms in place and work from our positive agenda to continue building a better, more prosperous Nevada for everyone.”
The goals highlighted in the plan include improving the lives of children, in part by funding the Education Savings Account program “so that all families can have the tools they need to help their child realize their educational pursuits.”
Sandoval has proposed $60 million for the controversial program approved in 2015. It would give parents about $5,100 to send their children to private schools, including religious schools. It was not supported by any Democrats when it was approved in the 2015 session. The program is stalled due to a Nevada Supreme Court ruling rejecting the original funding plan.
Senate Republicans also want to protect vulnerable Nevadans, and will propose increased penalties for those convicted of Elder Abuse. They also want to expand access to health care by supporting increased funding in Sandoval’s budget for the new UNLV medical school.
The plan also opposes any increase in property tax rates. Some local governments are seeking tweaks to the property tax rate.
It also calls for working with the federal government to responsibly transfer public lands to Nevada and supporting “common sense green energy reforms.”
The caucus also wants a voter ID law “that safeguards Nevadans against voter fraud.”
“Ideas, legislation and areas of expertise from all caucus members were utilized to create this broad policy document” said Caucus Policy Coordinator and Reno Sen. Heidi Gansert. “Our caucus is looking forward to discussing policy in an open and transparent manner with the goal of forging a better pathway forward for all Nevadans.”
“Senate Republicans are united in our desire to continue to build upon the successes from last session,” said Caucus Policy Coordinator Becky Harris. “Whether this is providing better access to health care, continuing to grow our economy, or strengthening our education reforms, we are focused on improving the lives of all Nevadans.”
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