The third week of the Nevada Legislative session was cut short on Feb. 24, due to inclement weather, but the other days held meetings and discussions on a variety of topics in which UNLV members participated. The week began with President Whitfield and Dr. Constance Brooks meeting with the Higher Education Subcommittee on Feb. 20, prior to the next day’s budget hearing in Carson City.
On Feb. 22, the Joint Senate and Assembly Committee heard Vice President of Economic Development Dr. Bo Bernhard’s testimony regarding the Knowledge Fund Project and its impact on Nevadans. The Knowledge Fund was an initiative of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) that is designed to connect and support technology and entrepreneurship throughout the state.
This meeting included the selection of various success stories through the Knowledge Fund Project. One such enterprise is Blackfire Innovation. An idea initially supported by the Global Gaming Capital Initiative marks a collaboration between a renowned research institution and Caesars Entertainment to create a fully integrated casino and innovation lab. The project has been running out of the 122-acre UNLV Harry Reid Research and Technology Park and attracted attention from companies including Intel, Adobe. Salesforce, and Zoom.
On Feb. 23, the focus of the legislature centered around the importance of Public Health Day. On this day Dean Marc Kahn and students from the UNLV Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine met with counterparts from the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) to speak with legislators and give Senate floor testimony related to university authority to affiliate with a variety of entities for reasons of academic activity or student life.
This specific bill garnered a decent amount of discussion culminating in a few different revisions presumably from the comments drawn by students. These expanded the scope of the proposal from including cost-sharing for collaboration projects to additionally include profit-sharing capacities when applicable.
The final day of this week’s legislative session was cut short due to Carson City’s harsh weather. Back in Las Vegas, Rebel Advocacy Training continued as Rebels worked to review UNLV’s legislative priorities as well as methods on the ways students advocate these priorities as the governing session continues.
Upcoming events of special interest to the UNLV community include: Feb. 28, Advisory Committee on the Safety and Well-being of Teachers, March 1 Senate Commerce and Labor meeting on SB147; discussing changes relating to employment, and March 3 Senate Committee on Judiciary SB142 regarding the Homeless Persons’ Bill of Rights.