Some of the biggest political news in 2023 happened far from the Strip’s glittering lights. In snowy Carson City, battles over the state budget, heated exchanges over education funding and icy fights over the prospect of bringing the Oakland A’s to Las Vegas were among the top headlines of the year.
FHere are some of the year’s highlights:
When lawmakers appropriated more than $59 million of American Rescue Plan Act funds to mental health services in late 2022, state administrators, advocates and service providers hailed the investment as “unprecedented.” But the funds were just a start in efforts to improve Nevada’s abysmal rankings nationwide in mental health services available to youth, said providers who called for greater and more continuous funding from the state ahead of the ‘23 legislative session.
Most people don’t think about the DMV until they have to, but DMV third-party registration services have made dealing with the agency their business. DMV officials arguethat their industry provides services members of the public already can obtain for free. That fight came before lawmakers during the ‘23 legislative session.
The session started with new leadership — from the legislative building halls to the Governor’s Mansion — and set with a record number of vetoes. Democratic leadership and Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo managed to pass the largest K-12 education budget in history, approved a deal to bring the Oakland A’s to Sin City and funded state employee raises, all amid rocky negotiations that went into legislative overtime.
Lawmakers voted to approve $110 million in state funding for nonprofits in two so-called “Christmas Tree” bills, but an analysis of the legislation revealed more than a dozen connections between legislators and nonprofits that received money. The legislators’ involvement, while legal, raised questions about Nevada’s ethics laws and how they stack up against other states’ ethics standards.
There were 309 active drug shortages across the United States this summer. In Nevada, the shortages were the worst they’ve ever been, one expert said. The scarcity raised concerns about rising drug prices and potential threats to patient safety.