Las Vegas Sun
Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021 | 2 a.m.
CARSON CITY — The Nevada Legislature is closed to in-person lobbying because of COVID-19 protocols during the recently started legislative session, leaving lobbyists searching for new ways to connect with lawmakers.
Lobbyists are tasked with advocating for their clients’ interests, and range from those representing the Clark County School District in talks on school funding to discussing curbside pickup rule changes for marijuana dispensaries. The halls of the statehouse are generally teeming with lobbyists hustling to make crucial connections, but that’s far from the case in 2021.
“Everyone understands and recognizes that we have to do whatever it takes to comply with the COVID protocols,” said Greg Ferraro, the president and founder of the Ferraro Group, a public relations firm specializing in public affairs.
The hope among lobbyists is that restrictions could be eventually lifted to allow people into the statehouse before the end of the 120-day session in late May. In the interim they are connecting by telephone and videoconferencing apps like Zoom.
Layke Martin, the executive director of the Nevada Dispensary Association, said accessibility with scheduling a meeting or getting virtual face time with a lawmaker haven’t been an issue. She advocates for the state’s recreational and medical marijuana dispensaries.
“Even when there are technological issues, everyone is patient and professional and responsive,” she said.
In a normal session, lobbyists working inside the legislative building are required to register with the state, after which they must wear identifying badges while in the statehouse. They also are publicly logged into