FENNEMORE CRAIG | GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS UPDATE
Good afternoon and welcome to the May 2018 Edition of the Fennemore Craig Interim Newsletter. Less than a week remains between now and the Primary Election here in the Silver State. Due to a lack of General Election contenders in districts with heavy voter registration leads, a number of important races on both the state and local government levels will be decided on June 12th. As the headlines and airwaves become dominated by political maneuvering on both sides of the aisle, state agencies continue doing the less glamorous work of implementing and administering the law. Below, you will find a snapshot of the regulatory and political events that took place in our state in the month of May.
Fennemore Craig offers a variety of services during the interim period in order to help our clients navigate the regulatory environment and prepare for the impending 80th Legislative Session. Our Government Affairs team is available to track relevant agency decisions, interpret proposed regulations, and work with clients to draft legislation for the coming session. As we formally enter the 2018 campaign season, we are also poised to offer consultation on candidate engagement and contribution strategies that fit each client’s individual needs. Please contact a member of our team if you wish to receive more information about these services.
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MAY 2018 IN REVIEW
It may feel like the next Legislative Session is just around the corner; however, some laws from 2017 still have yet to be implemented. The next implementation deadline is July 1st 2018, when 14 more bills are slated to take effect.
Drug Pricing Transparency
The state’s rulemaking process took an unusual turn of events in May to accommodate a July 1st effective date for one subsection of a bill aimed at pharmaceutical transparency, with the Legislature approving the drafted regulations prior to adoption by the governing agency. The Department of Health and Human Services (“DHHS”) came before the Legislative Commission to present draft regulations to implement Senate Bill 539 (“SB539”) in mid-May. SB539 mandates the disclosure of pricing information and profits related to the sale of essential diabetes drugs. The bill affects pharmaceutical companies, pharmacy benefit managers (“PBMs”), and pharmaceutical sales representatives.
The rulemaking process is meant to encourage public participation and stakeholder input in agency governance. Rulemaking may also be used as a tool for fostering better understanding of legal requirements between an agency and those subject to the law administered by the agency. By the adoption of interpretive rules, agencies may attempt to remove uncertainty or ambiguity in the law. Typically, regulations are adopted by state agencies after being vetted by stakeholders in a series of workshops and hearings. The adopted regulations are then sent on to the Legislative Commission, a panel of lawmakers that meets in between legislative sessions, for final approval. Because the Legislative Commission approved the regulations for SB539 during its unprecedented “early review”, they immediately took effect when the DHHS adopted the text two weeks later.
Don’t let it’s midterm-status fool you, 2018 is a crucial year for elections here in Nevada. A number of elected positions, including every constitutional office, a large portion of the state’s federal delegation, and control of both state legislative houses are up for grabs. Early voting in the state’s Primary Election began on May 26th and will continue until June 8th. Primary Election night will then take place on June 12th. Keep an eye on your inbox for Fennemore Craig’s Primary Recap, where our team will highlight the results of the election and provide insight into the lay of the land in anticipation of the November 2018 General Election.
Top Conservatives Vie for Senate Control
State Senator James Settelmeyer (R) announced in May that he intends to seek the leadership position in his party’s caucus during the 2019 Legislative Session. The role is currently played by Senator Michael Roberson (R), who is leaving the state senate to run for lieutenant governor. In all likelihood, Republicans will remain in the minority in 2019. Of the eleven seats up for election in 2018, eight are very likely to remain in the hands of the party that currently holds them. The remaining three are all close races, but the risk is Republicans’ to bear as two are held by Republicans and one is held by a nonpartisan. Therefore, in a scenario in which all three contested seats went to Republicans in November, control of the Senate would remain with Democrats 11-10. This slim majority would allow Democrats to pass most bills without Republican support; however, a two-thirds majority, fourteen votes, is required to pass tax increases.
Other Election Announcements
- Former Vice President Joe Biden (D) and U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D) have endorsed former Congressman Steven Horsford (D) as he seeks to retake the CD-4 seat.
- The National Rifle Association endorsed U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R), Representative Mark Amodei (R), who is seeking re-election in the 2nd Congressional District, state Senator Scott Hammond (R), who is running for the 3rd District, and former congressman Cresent Hardy (R) in the 4th District.
- Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford (D) was endorsed by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 396 and Plumbers, Pipefitters & Service Technicians Local 525 in his run for Attorney General.
- Former Assemblyman and champion of the legislation to restructure the Clark County School District, David Gardner (R) suspended his campaign for Clark County School Board to take a job as a senior deputy in the Nevada attorney general’s office. Gardner has instead endorsed Jacquelyn Trumbull for the District F seat.
- The Culinary Workers Local 226 endorsed defense attorney and ACLU of Nevada Board-member Robert Langford (D), who is seeking to unseat incumbent Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson (D). The winner of the June 12th Democratic primary in the race will become the county’s next DA as no other candidates filed for the office.
- The Professional Fire Fighters of Nevada endorsed the following candidates for office: Senator Dean Heller (R) for U.S. Senate, Kate Marshall (D) for lieutenant governor, state Senator Aaron Ford (D) for attorney general, Zach Conine (D) for state treasurer, and Catherine Byrne (D) for controller. It did not make an endorsement in the race for governor.
- Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley endorsed Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak (D) for Governor and Kate Marshall (D) for Lieutenant Governor.