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Nevada passes public option

Gov. Steve Sisolak signed several bills on Wednesday pertaining to public health and home care workers as well as those pertaining to high education.

Three bills pertaining to public health were signed by Sisolak.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us that health is wealth and I am committed to finding ways we can increase access to health care – as well as taking steps to strengthen our public health systems across the state,” said Sisolak. “We will be able to identify and make recommendations concerning the state’s unmet needs, find opportunities to obtain federal or private funding to support public health services, and look at ways in which the state can improve coordination between providers of public health services and the delivery of those services to patients.”

Senate Bill 209 required certain employers to provide paid leave so employees can take time off to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

Sisolak also signed Senate Bill 420, which was sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro, making Nevada the second state in the nation to offer state-managed health insurance plans. The bill expands health care opportunities for Nevadans by leveraging Nevada’s existing health care infrastructure and reducing costs.

The measure is aimed at creating state-managed health insurance plans by 2026. The bill allows the state to work with private insurers to craft low-cost policies.

Additionally, SB420 expands coverage for doulas and midwives for pregnant women to reduce maternal mortality rates in the state.

Washington is the only other state with a similar law.

Senate Bill 424, sponsored by Sisolak, was signed into law on Wednesday, which creates the Public Health Resources Office to analyze the existing infrastructure for meeting the state public health needs.

Home care workers

Bills pertaining to home care workers were also signed.

“Home care workers provide crucial lifelines to their elderly and disability clients that are housebound,” Sisolak said. “They assist their clients with important activities of daily living such as bathing, eating, cooking, and grocery shopping. I am grateful for their service today and every day.”

Sisolak said the bill “is vital to providing our home care workers and their clients with additional rights while improving quality of care and conditions. This strengthens our commitment to our home care workforce, a group of individuals who do so much to take care of those most in need.”

Senate Bill 340, sponsored by Senator Dina Neal and Senator Fabian Donate, designates programs that provide services to elderly persons or persons with disabilities as home care programs. The bill also establishes a board to develop recommendations regarding the wages and working conditions of home care employees. The director of the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services is also authorized to adopt any “necessary” regulations to establish a minimum wage for home care employees through the board’s recommendation under the bill.

Higher education bills

A list of bills pertaining to higher education in Nevada were also signed.

“These four different bills will help make our institutions more vibrant places for students to live and learn,” said Sisolak. “As a former regent and now governor of our great state, I know that our institutions are a powerful force for change and growth in our state. I look forward to continuing to work with each and every one of you to build a better Nevada for us all.”

Sisolak signed Senate bills 434, 347 and 310 and Assembly Bill 319. Under SB434, sponsored by Sisolak, $25 million went toward the completion of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Medical School construction.

According to the governor’s office, the completion has the potential to generate as high as 16,000 jobs over the next decade and help address a shortage of doctors in Nevada.

AB319 required the College of Southern Nevada to establish a two-year pilot program to offer enhanced dual credit opportunities for students that are at-risk or in underserved communities.

Under SB347, the bill creates a task force on sexual misconduct at institutions of higher education. The legislation also removes the citizen or legal immigrant status requirements from the Millennium Scholarship, the Silver State Opportunity Grant or the Nevada Promise Scholarship.

SB310, sponsored by Senator Dina Neal, appropriates $400,000 to CSN to continue funding the NV Grow Program.

“As part of this program, Nevada small businesses are receiving the resources from CSN to expand their market research and increase productivity and sales,” a release from the governor’s office states.

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