The process of hammering out Southern Nevada’s priorities for the 2023 legislative session began Thursday morning in Las Vegas.
More than 1oo people, mostly government officials and other community representatives, gathered in the Las Vegas City Council chambers to scribble policy ideas on large pieces of paper. They split into small groups, offering ideas to address issues with health care, education, economic development, infrastructure and good governance.
Since its inception in 2013, the Southern Nevada Forum has led to legislation for things such as fuel revenue indexing and funding for the UNLV School of Medicine.
“It truly does matter, and the ideas and the things that you will come up with today and in future Southern Nevada Forum meetings truly will make an impact on our legislators and our state,” Vegas Chamber President Mary Beth Sewald told participants Thursday morning. Sewald’s organization helps facilitate forum meetings.
The brainstorming session, attended by people from across the political spectrum, kicked off a months-long process for determining the region’s priorities for next year’s legislative session.
The free-flow of ideas included suggestions for expanding public transportation and strengthening consequences for public integrity violations. Members of the general public were invited to attend.
Michael Brown, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, highlighted the importance of getting Apex Industrial Park in North Las Vegas off the ground, saying it will create thousands of jobs.
Jared Luke, government affairs and economic development director for North Las Vegas, joked during one session that he’s going to be annoying about getting water and wastewater infrastructure fast-tracked for the industrial park.
Luke told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that not having the infrastructure has been a barrier to attracting new businesses. Over the last several months, the city missed out on thousands of potential jobs, he said.
Over the next several months, committees for each policy category will meet to discuss issues and come up with more formal recommendations that will be shared in September. Those priorities may go on to be bill requests for the legislative session that begins in 2023.