Data collection bill brings disagreement over diversity quotas

State Senator Pat Spearman on Sunday, Aug. 2, 2020 during the third day of the 32nd Special Session of the Legislature in Carson City.

A bill aimed at increasing data collection on diversity within the largest businesses in Nevada led to a flareup between members of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday over possible effects on those firms.

The amended version of the bill, SB267, would require the Department of Taxation to annually survey corporations and government agencies with 1,000 or more employees about the diversity of their workforces, with a focus on women and women of color. Reports of that data, with personal information redacted, would then be made publicly available online.

Sen. Ira Hansen (R-Sparks) argued that the bill would take a step backwards by putting a focus on race and gender within the hiring process, and he said that the quest for quotas and diversity would be a violation of business rights and liberty. However, Sen. Pat Spearman (D-North Las Vegas) pointed out that the bill would only introduce a survey for existing workforces.

“I’m not sure how ‘survey’ got interpreted as ‘quota’,” Spearman said. “Is there something in the dictionary that I missed? Is there something in the thesauruses that I missed?”

Hansen said the bill would ultimately lead to quotas or other disciplinary actions for businesses that do not meet a certain level of diversity once the data is collected. 

The disagreement was ended quickly by committee Chair Melanie Scheible (D-Las Vegas).

“Our presenters have done an excellent job of explaining what this bill is and what this bill is not,” she said. “I appreciate that Sen. Spearman has subjected herself, once again, to this barrage of questions that I think has been largely not relevant to the bill.”

Spearman was joined during her presentation by Becky Harris, a Republican former state senator and the first female chair of the Gaming Control Board, and Jan Jones, the first female mayor of Las Vegas, who both argued that the bill could help promote diversity within the workplace and that the bill is not meant to punish businesses.

“This data should enable the development of best practices,” Harris said. “That can be shared to improve work environments throughout Nevada, as well as serve as an attraction and retention for top talent in Nevada.”

Despite agreement from the majority of those in the hearing that more data would be beneficial, the Nevada Resort Association, along with the Henderson Chamber of Commerce, opposed the bill, arguing that the sharing of the data collected could violate the privacy of businesses.

Misty Grimmer, a lobbyist for the association, said that much of the data the survey would collect is already submitted to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission by large companies and that data could potentially be shared with the state.

Editor’s Note: This story first appeared in Behind the Bar, The Nevada Independent’s newsletter dedicated to comprehensive coverage of the 2021 Legislature. Sign up for the newsletter here.

Indy 2020: With less than two weeks until Iowa, the final countdown begins

Your Nevada 2020 election newsletter. Please read, forward and subscribe.


Good morning, and welcome to Indy 2020, a biweekly newsletter focused on the 2020 presidential election in Nevada. A reminder that email subscribers get early access to this newsletter, so be sure to subscribe and tell your friends. It’ll be peachy.

Some brief news before we get going. The Indy — i.e. me — is hitting the road to Iowa and New Hampshire. I’ll be there for a few days before the Feb. 3 caucus and Feb. 11 primary, bringing you all the news you need to know from a Nevada perspective. Let me know what kind of stories you most want to hear out of Iowa and New Hampshire at megan@thenvindy.com. (If you know any former Nevadans who live in Iowa and New Hampshire, I’ll take that too!)

Also currently taking winter clothing recommendations.

Without further ado, a download of the recent 2020 happenings in Nevada.


TOP OF MIND

Ad tracker 2020: Another bit of news for you! The Indy has launched a brand new campaign ad tracker for the 2020 cycle. We’ll be archiving and categorizing ads by candidate, issue, race, party, the group paying for it, tone, medium and language. We know we’re going to miss some here and there, so feel free to send me over an email at megan@thenvindy.com with anything you notice that’s missing.

Steyer climbing in Nevada? In case you missed it, billionaire Tom Steyer has apparently had a sudden surge here in Nevada. He leapt to third place, tied with Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren at 12 percent support, in a Fox News poll released a little more than a week ago, which was followed up by a RGJ/Suffolk poll showing him tied for fourth with former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 8 percent support. 

Former Vice President Joe Biden came in at 23 percent, followed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders at 17 percent in the Fox poll, while Biden and Sanders were closer in the RGJ/Suffolk poll at 19 and 18 percent support, respectively. Warren came in at 11 percent support in the latter poll.

Since the polls have come out, Steyer’s campaign here has been trumpeting its outreach program, and Steyer himself spent a couple of days in the state, attending the second-ever Native American Presidential Forum, an immigration roundtable with Mi Familia Vota, a Culinary Union town hall and an event on climate justice with Chispa, the Latino organizing program within the League of Conservation Voters.

After the Culinary town hall, I asked Steyer what his plan was to ensure that his campaign can even make it to Nevada, when he has to go through Iowa and New Hampshire first. (Steyer’s hovering in the low single digits in polls in Iowa and New Hampshire.)

“The plan is to do more stuff like this, is to try and get in front of as many people as possible and say exactly who I am, what I stand for, and what that means. When that happens, good things happen. So that's what's happened so far,” Steyer said. “I started late in July, my numbers have gone up consistently. My goal is to stay in front of as many people, and get in front of as many people, look them in the eye and have them look me in the eye, so I can hear what they're saying and they can hear who I am and what I'm saying.”

But he apparently is catching on here in Nevada, where it’s been hard to avoid the television ads, mailers and billboards that Steyer has spent millions on. Tom McGibbon, 68, a retired engineer who identifies as a lifelong registered Republican, told Indytern Shannon Miller at Steyer’s Chispa event that he’s still undecided between Steyer and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

“I want (someone) who can win. Passion speaks to me, I think it speaks to voters, and I think that (Steyer) showed a lot of passion in his comments tonight,” McGibbon said. “I would like to see that come through more in his marketing.”

Steyer clearly isn't relenting on Nevada though. He has nine events scheduled here this weekend, detailed later in this newsletter.

Mayor Pete donates to legislative candidates: My colleague Riley Snyder was going through the recent round of state campaign finance reports due last week when he noticed something unusual — a bunch of contributions from Buttigieg to state legislative candidates. In total, Buttigieg donated $34,000 to candidates, parties and advocacy groups during the fourth quarter of the year Nevada, according to a list provided by Buttigieg’s campaign.

The campaign made six $1,000 contributions, to U.S. Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen, Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson, Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro, and the Senate and Assembly Democratic caucuses.

The campaign also made 19 $500 contributions and 20 $250 contributions to state lawmakers, constitutional officers, local elected officials and members of Congress. A few organizations — including the NAACP branches in Northern and Southern Nevada, NARAL, the Human Rights Campaign and the LGBTQ Center of Southern Nevada — as well as the Rural Democratic Caucus also received $500 donations.

The rest of the donations went to the Nevada State Democratic Party and the Washoe County Democratic Party.

Paul Selberg, Buttigieg’s state director, said in a statement that the donations show the campaign’s commitment to building Democratic infrastructure in Nevada and across the country.

“Pete recognizes that political change not only comes from the top of the ticket, but all levels of government,” Selberg said. “In 2020, we will finally turn the page on the Trump presidency and bring about real progress by electing Democrats up and down the ticket."

Democrats announce Caucus Day sites: The Nevada State Democratic Party announced last week more than 250 Caucus Day locations for the Feb. 22 caucus. They range from schools and community centers in suburban Nevada to sites on tribal reservations and in small cities far flung from the major population centers. Check out the full list of precincts here.

The party is also continuing its tradition of offering at-large casino precincts on Caucus Day for Strip workers to participate. This year, there will be seven sites — up from six in 2016 — at Park MGM, Mandalay Bay, Bellagio, Paris, Harrah's, Wynn and Rio. The details of those Strip caucus sites were first reported by CNN.

Casino workers will also be able to vote early at four sites on the Strip. There will be 24-hour voting at the Bellagio — from noon on Feb. 16 to noon on Feb. 17 — as well as two blocks of time on Sunday and Monday where workers can caucus at the MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay and Paris.


ON THE INDY

Presidential campaigns enter the home stretch: If you’ve been living under a rock for the last year and have paid no attention to the presidential election, then this is the story for you! All you need to know to get you up to speed on the upcoming caucus, including what candidates have been doing to make inroads here, how big their staffs are and how they’ve been resonating with voters here on the ground.

Buttigieg, Klobuchar and Steyer are the latest to court the Culinary: The three Democratic hopefuls became the fifth, sixth and seventh candidates, respectively, to appear before the Culinary Union over the last two weeks. The fellow moderates in the race came with pitches for a government-run health insurance proposal that would allow union members to stay on their existing plans. Spoiler alert: The union liked it. More on the Buttigieg and Klobuchar visits here and the Steyer visit here.

Buttigieg hopes to earn “credibility” with black voters: I sat down with the former South Bend mayor a little over a week ago to talk about his struggle to win over black voters, his standing in Iowa, and what the support of the Culinary Union would mean to him. All you need to know from our conversation here. (One small detail in that story worth noting if you’re keeping an eye on candidate momentum: Buttigieg’s most recent rally at Silverado High School was attended by more than 900 people, more than two-thirds of them first time Buttigieg event attendees, according to his campaign.)

Biden eschews being boxed in at a Latino town hall: The former vice president shied away from any firm commitments to pass comprehensive immigration reform in his first 100 days as president or appoint a certain number of Hispanics to his Cabinet at a Latino-focused town hall two weekends ago. More details on how that town hall went from me, plus a bonus story from the day before on Biden accusing President Donald Trump of “literally lying” about Iran from Indyterns Tabitha Mueller and Jazmin Orozco Rodriguez.

Democratic hopefuls court Indian Country: Though Steyer was the only one to appear in person, several Democratic presidential candidates appeared at the second-ever Native American Presidential Forum last week in Las Vegas. They talked about Native voting rights, land, health care and missing and murdered indigenous women. Indytern Shannon Miller was there.

Voter registration swelling as a result of automatic voter registration: Our four intrepid Indyterns took a look at the impact that Nevada’s new automatic voter registration ballot initiative, which kicked into effect on the first of the year, is having on voter registration. Previously, Nevada had an opt-in system to register to vote at the DMV, which has now been switched to an opt-out system. Details here.

Ivanka Trump goes to CES: The president's eldest daughter championed apprenticeships and encouraged employers to invest in their workers at the annual conference in Las Vegas, but her appearance sparked some controversy. My colleague Jackie Valley has more.


CAMPAIGN NUGGETS

Staffing changes and office openings

  • Four members of Biden’s national team — Laura Jimenez, national Latino vote director; Amit Jani, national AAPI outreach director; Shrija Ghosh, deputy national analytics director; and Nick Canfield, deputy national organizing director — have joined his team on the ground in Nevada.
  • Buttigieg’s team has brought on Devaki Dave as their Nevada APIA constituency director and Izack Tenorio as their Nevada Latino constituency director. Amy Adler, the campaign’s get out the caucus director, has moved from the team’s South Bend headquarters to oversee caucus operations here. (Adler graduated from UNLV, co-founded Students for Barack Obama at UNLV, and was the campaign manager for the Nevada Senate Democratic Caucus in 2010.)

New endorsements

  • DNC Committeewoman Allison Stephens, who previously endorsed Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro for president, is now supporting Warren in the race. This means Warren now has both the support of Nevada’s DNC committeewoman as well as its committeeman.
  • Warren also earned the endorsement of West Wendover Mayor Daniel Corona, another former Castro backer, as well as the support of state Sen. Joyce Woodhouse, who had previously endorsed California Sen. Kamala Harris.
  • Assemblyman Ozzie Fumo told me recently that he has officially withdrawn his endorsement of Biden. Fumo is running for the Supreme Court, and judicial candidates cannot endorse.
  • The Clark County Education Association threw its support behind presidential candidate Bernie Sanders last week. The news was first reported by BuzzFeed but my colleague Jackie Valley has more. (Sanders also recently received a number of endorsements from college professors, educators and education leaders.)
  • The Clark County Black Caucus also announced it is officially shifting its support to Sanders, after previously backing New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, who dropped out of the presidential race last week. The caucus had said it would support Sanders should Booker not garner enough support.
  • Former Las Vegas Mayor Jan Jones Blackhurst has endorsed Biden for president.
  • Former Assemblywoman Bonnie Parnell has endorsed Buttigieg.

Upcoming candidate visits

  • Steyer has nine events planned in Nevada this weekend including a Reno small business walk, a meet and greet with business leaders in Reno, a Sparks office opening, a geothermal tour, a virtual town hall hosted by the Rural Nevada Democratic Caucus, an El Sol Community Reunion, and an environmental panel discussion. He'll also keynote Battle Born Progress’ 6th annual Progressive Summit at the CSN North Las Vegas Campus and attend SEIU Local 1107's Unions for All Summit.
  • Several Democratic presidential hopefuls will also appear by live stream at the Unions for All Summit this weekend.
  • The Clark County Democrats announced last week that Buttigieg was the first presidential candidate to confirm for their Kick Off to Caucus Gala on Feb. 15.
  • Biden will be in town starting Feb. 16 for the final stretch before the Feb. 22 caucus.

Surrogate stops

  • Steyer’s wife, Kat Taylor, was in Las Vegas on Jan. 8 to attend a Women’s Democratic Club luncheon, an AAPI women’s roundtable and a happy hour at Atomic Liquors downtown.
  • Castro was in Nevada on Jan. 10 and 11 campaigning for Warren, who he endorsed for president after dropping out of the race. Pulse Nightclub Survivor Brandon Wolf, trans Advocate Ashlee Marie Preston, and New York State Sen. Gustavo Rivera were also in Nevada that weekend campaigning for Warren.
  • Former Secretary of Labor and current Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis and Texas Congressman Filemon Vela were in Nevada the weekend of Jan. 11 and 12 to campaign for Biden. They attended various canvass kickoffs, roundtables and a Latino-to-Latino phone bank. (Solis will also be back this weekend to attend the SEIU summit on Biden's behalf.)
  • Ambassador Keith Harper, the first Native American to receive the rank of U.S. ambassador, campaigned for Buttigieg at the Native American Presidential Forum on Jan. 15.
  • Sanders Nevada state co-chair Amy Vilela and national surrogate Cori Bush attended the Women’s March in Southern Nevada on Saturday, in addition to attending a canvass launch and door knocking. They also hosted two screenings of Knock Down the House, a documentary about several 2018 primary campaigns that features Vilela and Bush.
  • Melissa Franzen, a Latina state senator from Minnesota, campaigned for Klobuchar at the Reno Women's March and attended a private meet and greet at Arrow Creek in Reno this weekend.
  • Nelda Martinez, former mayor of Corpus Christi, TX, campaigned on behalf of Buttigieg at the Reno Women’s March, while actress and comedian Cristela Alonzo campaigned there on behalf of Warren.
  • Fremont City Councilwoman Teresa Keng, campaigning on behalf of Yang, also joined the Women's March and other events in Reno, including a meeting with City Councilwoman Jenny Brekhus, a round table conversation with the Douglas County Democrats, and a canvass launch.
  • Rep. Mark Pocan, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus in the House, campaigned for Sanders in Las Vegas on Monday, touring a dispensary with Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom.
  • Former U.S. Sen. and Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun will campaign for Biden on Jan. 25 and 26 in Las Vegas, including delivering remarks at the Battle Born Progress summit and an MLK Scholarship Banquet.
  • Castro will also return to Las Vegas this weekend to speak at the Battle Born Progress summit on Warren’s behalf. Jane Sanders, wife of Bernie Sanders, will also be in town to speak at the summit.
  • Lamell McMorris, founder and CEO of Perennial Strategy Group, former executive director and CEO of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and civil rights leader, will also speak at the summit on Buttigieg’s behalf.
  • Castro will return to Las Vegas this weekend to join the SEIU Local 1107 and Battle Born Progress summits.
  • California Assemblyman Evan Low, Yang’s national campaign co-chair, will campaign this weekend in Las Vegas at Chinese New Year celebrations, including the parade, and meet with veterans and AAPI small business owners.

Other election news

  • Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick was back in Nevada on Friday to visit the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada. Details from Indytern Kristyn Leonard in this tweet thread
  • Steyer’s campaign recently hosted several events as part of a “Black & Latino Empowerment Weekend,” including an interfaith community dinner, a black voters breakfast discussion and an economic empowerment roundtable.
  • The Nevada State Democratic Party hosted a mock caucus at SEIU last week in conjunction with the Asian American Pacific Islander Democratic Caucus, as well as two LGBTQ+ focused trainings in Las Vegas and Reno in coordination with the Human Rights Campaign. The party also plans to hold several rural Nevada caucus trainings this week, including in Pahrump, Tonopah, Dayton, Minden, Carson City, Virginia City, Fallon, Elko and Ely.
  • The state Democratic Party also recently hosted a weekend of volunteer training summits in Las Vegas and Reno, where nearly 500 Democrats showed up to get trained.
  • Klobuchar’s campaign is in the process of hosting ambassador trainings.

DOWN BALLOT NEWS

Lee faces ads from the left and the right: Freshman Democratic Rep. Susie Lee is the target of a new ad buy by the American Action Network, an outside group with ties to Republican leadership in the House, pressuring the congresswoman over her decision to vote in favor of impeaching Trump. My colleague Jacob Solis has more on this ad.

At the same time, she’s also one of 17 swing-seat Democrats being targeted in a $2.2 million advertising campaign from House Majority Forward, a non-profit group linked to the Democratic Party’s House majority super PAC. Details on that here.

Lee raises more than $600,000 in Q4: Against that backdrop, Lee raised more than $600,000 in the last quarter of the year. The end-of-year total is $110,000 more than Lee raised in the third quarter. Jacob has more details here.

Meanwhile, Horsford raises nearly $500,000: Democratic Rep. Steven Horsford’s campaign has announced that he raised $455,000 in the last quarter of 2019, pushing his total fundraising for the year to more than $1.6 million. He has more than $1 million cash on hand. More from Jacob on that.

Republicans hold fundraising edges in key Assembly, Senate races: Several Republicans outraised incumbent Democratic lawmakers in the last year as the party attempts to make a comeback after the 2018 election. My colleague Riley Snyder has the details.

REALTORS diving deeper into legislative races: The Nevada Association of REALTORS® has contributed $2 million to political action committees to recruit real estate agents and back friendly candidates in state legislative races. Riley has more.

Ahead of the 2022 election, Sisolak raises more than $1.6 million: Riley also dove into the campaign finances of Gov. Steve Sisolak, who substantially padded his campaign account last year even though he’s not up for election for two more years. Details here.

Judicial candidates are starting to file: Indytern Kristyn Leonard takes a look at which candidates filed on the first day of the judicial filing period.

CCEA collecting signatures for two ballot measures: The union is circulating two ballot measures in an attempt to boost state education funding. If successful, the two measures would head to the Legislature for consideration in 2021, before appearing on the ballot in 2022. My colleague Jackie Valley has all the details of what’s going on, and how proposed increases in gaming and sales taxes are likely to fare.


OTHER REQUIRED READING

  • Bloomberg and Steyer count on cash to carry them to victory (AP)
  • Caucusing is complicated, so why do we do it? (PBS Newshour)
  • ‘Democrats designate Culinary – er, Strip – caucus locations’ (Nevada Current)

Updated 1-21-20 at 9:33 a.m. to correct that one of Buttigieg's staffers in fact did not graduate from Rancho High School, as the campaign had previously said.

Search committee touts Michael Brown, former Barrick Mining president, as next head of economic development agency

The Grant Sawyer State Office Building sign

The next head of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development is likely to be Business and Industry Department Director Michael Brown, after a search subcommittee enthusiastically endorsed the former Barrick Mining president to lead the economic development agency over its current interim director, Kris Sanchez.

During a meeting of the search subcommittee on Friday, board members almost unanimously praised Brown, hired by Gov. Steve Sisolak in January 2019, and recommended that he be hired to be the next full-time leader of the agency, which is best known for offering a variety of tax incentives and abatements to new or expanding businesses in the state. 

Jan Jones Blackhurst, a Caesars Entertainment executive and chair of the subcommittee, said that amid a lack of qualified applicants she had turned to other state government officials and ultimately decided on Brown, whom she said displayed a “strong interest” in the position. 

“Of those candidates, some were not as strong as we would have hoped for,” she said. “And one of the things that I did was call the governor and ask him if I could look at his existing cabinet and see if there might be a candidate who could bring the kind of talent we think the governor is looking for to lead this agency, and in that process, I reached out to Michael Brown.”

In a brief interview, Brown said that he had initially not sought the job, but if appointed would work to from an "extremely strong partnership" between GOED and the Department of Business and Industry.

" I signed up to play on a team, and when a coach wants you to play a different position… I’ll do what the coach says," he said.

Appointing Brown as the next head of the agency will take several additional procedural steps; Jones Blackhurst said that because he had not submitted a formal application, the search committee would keep the application period open until next Friday, when the subcommittee will meet again and send recommendations to the full GOED board, which in turn is charged with providing three candidates to the governor, who then appoints a new director.

Some of the subcommittee members, including GTG Capital Partners Managing Partner Robert Goldberg, chafed at having to include in the committee’s recommendation candidates other than Brown — an awkward situation for Sanchez, the board’s interim director who had also applied to become the agency’s full-time executive director. 

“Given the governor’s desire to get somebody in place as soon as possible, we probably did not have the optimal process,” he said. “I’m enheartened by the recent candidate, Michael Brown, because I have to tell you I think that I did not find one qualified candidate. I think every single one of the applicants had a disqualifying issue, some many, in my estimation, so if we were forced to pick, I would strongly not recommend anyone else that applied other than Michael.”

During the search committee's meeting last month, board members argued with the governor’s office on the use of agency funds to conduct a search for a new executive director. Sisolak’s chief of staff, Michelle White, told the search committee at the time that spending an estimated $100,000 for a search was “off the table for now.”

The move to pick a new GOED director comes amid a tumultuous time for the agency, after it paused new and pending tax incentive applications over the summer before picking a new full-time executive director. The agency has granted nearly $400 million in tax abatements and  “Catalyst Fund” grants over the last four fiscal years, but Gov. Steve Sisolak has expressed interest in changing the course and scope of incentives offered by the state.

At a full board meeting on Thursday, Sisolak said he hoped to have a meeting within the next two weeks to confirm the search committee’s recommendation for a new executive director, and said he was still committed to approaching economic development in a way that doesn’t affect education funding.

“I’m committed to developing an economic development plan that reflects realities of Nevada in 2019 rather than that of the great recession,” he said during the Thursday board meeting. “As I said during our June meeting, we will have an incredible opportunity to make Nevada a place with a robust economy, without sacrificing education or other crucial quality of life components.”

Updated at 1:41 p.m. to include a quote from Michael Brown.

Sisolak's calendar of first month shows meetings with union leaders, top officials

Gov. Steve Sisolak’s first month in office was dominated by meetings with top state and federal officials and with the individuals and groups that helped elect him last year.

According to a copy of Sisolak’s official calendar, the new governor held a slew of meetings and calls throughout January and the first week of February with education and business leaders, union heads, one Trump administration official and with California billionaire and Democratic megadonor Tom Steyer.

The Nevada Independent filed a records request for Sisolak’s calendar for the month of January and the first week of February on Feb. 7. Although scheduled meetings aren’t confirmation that a meeting actually happened or what topics were discussed, a look at the governor’s calendar provides valuable insight into which individuals Sisolak met with and heard from as he began planning for his first legislative session as governor.

"During the governor’s first weeks in office, he met face-to-face with all 63 legislators, signed a landmark bill to close the gun background check loophole, established a task force on sexual harassment, and more," Sisolak spokeswoman Helen Kalla said in an email. "Additionally, the governor has traveled around the state to meet Nevadans where they are – from Elko to Las Vegas to tribal communities across Northern Nevada. "

Here’s who Sisolak met with during his first month in office:

Interest Groups

Sisolak’s calendar shows a meeting on Jan. 22 with one political adviser — Megan Jones, a former political director for Sen. Harry Reid and a longtime Democratic political consultant involved in multiple ballot questions and dozens of races for statewide and legislative candidates. Her firm, Hilltop Public Solutions, also helped run the campaign for Question 1 in 2016, requiring background checks on most private gun sales and transfers. The measure was never implemented despite being approved by voters because of the FBI’s refusal to conduct the background checks.

Earlier this month, Sisolak signed SB143 into law — a fix of the 2016 voter-approved initiative that requires the state and not the federal government to conduct the background checks. Jones didn’t return an email seeking comment as to the purpose of the meeting.

On the education side, Sisolak also reported meeting with Clark County Education Association union leader John Vellardita and Clark County School District Superintendent Jesus Jara on Jan. 30. Sisolak’s proposed $8.8 billion budget includes a 3 percent raise for teachers and upwards of $156 million more in state funds for education, the bulk of which will go to the school district.

Vellardita, whose union strongly supported Sisolak in both the primary and general elections, declined to say what was discussed at the meeting beyond reiterating that CCEA and the district will work together on issues that matter to both, including a weighted school funding formula.

A meeting like this reflects that intent,” he said.

The new governor also scheduled a call with Tom Steyer, the California billionaire whose NextGen America organization spent millions of dollars to run ads and registered voters to assist Nevada Democrats in the 2018 election. Steyer — who also helped fund ballot measures raising renewable energy production standards and requiring automatic voter registration at the DMV — was unable to communicate with Sisolak or other candidates because of rules on campaign coordination and spoke with the new governor about his organization’s accomplishments and goals.

“They discussed NextGen America’s work in 2018 which led to historic turnout among young voters and the passage of Question 6— and NextGen’s commitment to continuing that work in 2019 and beyond,” NextGen America spokeswoman Aleigha Cavalier said in an email.

The calendar also shows a scheduled meeting with AFSCME President Lee Saunders on Feb. 4 in the governor’s Carson City office. During the 2018 campaign, the union spent more than $3.7 million through a PAC aimed at boosting Sisolak and hitting his Republican opponent, Adam Laxalt. Sisolak has embraced and highlighted one of the union’s top goals — collective bargaining for state employees — in his State of the State speech.

A spokesperson for the union said Saunders and Sisolak discussed “their shared belief that public service workers, like all Nevadans, deserve the freedom to negotiate a fair return on their work.”

The governor also reported meeting with representatives of electric car manufacturer Tesla on Feb. 5.

Sisolak also reported meeting with UNITE HERE president D. Taylor on Feb. 8. The union’s local branch, the Culinary Union Local 226, played a huge role in Democratic turnout operations in the 2018 election, sending 1.8 million mail pieces, knocking on thousands of doors and making thousands of calls to support Democratic candidates.

Bethany Khan, a spokeswoman for the Culinary Union, declined to answer an emailed question as to the purpose of the meeting.

Not all of the meetings were directly related to pressing issues. The governor scheduled a meeting in Las Vegas with Jan Jones Blackhurst, the former Las Vegas mayor and Caesars Entertainment executive on Jan. 18, but Blackhurst said the scheduled meeting was more a chance to catch up rather than talk about any particular issue.

“It was more of a social visit than anything else,” she said.

State and federal government

Sisolak’s first month in office was peppered with scheduled meetings with top state and federal officials.

In one of his first meetings scheduled on his calendar, the governor met with Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto at the state party’s offices in Las Vegas. His first call with a member of President Donald Trump’s administration came on Feb. 5, with acting Interior Department Secretary David Bernhardt (nominated just a day prior to the call), as part of an introductory call and brief overview of state land and wildlife issues.

He also reported meeting with the state’s lone Republican statewide official, Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, on Feb. 4 — the first day of the legislative session.

The governor’s calendar also shows a slew of meetings with top state education officials, including several members of the State Board of Education.

He scheduled calls with three members of the board — Mark Newburn on Feb. 4, Robert Blakley and Tamara Hudson on Feb. 5, and a meeting with David Carter on Feb. 7. Department spokesman Greg Bortolin said the governor “reached out to members of the Board of Education that he did not know and introduced himself.”

The calendar also shows scheduled calls with three senior Nevada Department of Transportation staff — Tracy Larkin, Bill Hoffman and Cole Mortensen — on Jan. 24. Sisolak recommended that Kristina Swallow, a former City of Las Vegas engineer, head the transportation department in late January.

Department of Transportation spokesman Tony Illia said in an email that the meetings were “information-gathering meetings for the governor to learn more about how the department runs and hear feedback from its employees.”

Sisolak also met with every state lawmaker for short meetings during the first week of the legislative session — including 30 scheduled ten-minute meetings with legislators on Feb. 26 in their respective offices. The day prior, Feb. 5, he scheduled short meetings with Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson and Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson in their respective offices.

The calendar also sheds some light into the governor’s process for appointments. He scheduled a meeting with former Eighth Judicial District Court discovery commissioner Bonnie Bulla on Feb. 7, six days before his office announced that she would be appointed to a vacant seat on the Nevada Court of Appeals. He also scheduled a meeting with fellow court applicants Tracie Lindeman on Feb. 5 and District Court Judge Jerry Weise on Feb. 6, as well as a meeting with Nevada Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Gibbons on Jan. 29.

Sisolak Calendar by Riley Snyder on Scribd