CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Gov. Steve Sisolak said Monday he will scale back his proposal to let technology companies establish zones where they could exercise powers similar to those of local government. Instead of asking lawmakers to pass a resolution to approve the proposal this session, he plans on introducing a measure to create a committee to further study the so-called “Innovation Zones.”
The decision, first reported by the Reno Gazette Journal, deals a blow to Blockchains LLC — the northern Nevada-based technology company that said an Innovation Zone would enable it to build a blockchain-powered city in the rolling hills of the state’s desert.
“I know that legislators, stakeholders and Nevadans still have questions, and I want those questions to be discussed and answered. I want people to be enthusiastic about this opportunity, not skeptical about a fast-tracked bill,” Sisolak said in a statement.
To lure new industries to Nevada, the governor proposed letting technology companies establish “Innovation Zones” with powers similar to those of local government, if they commit to invest $1.25 billion and possess at least 78 square miles (202 square kilometers) of land.
The original draft language, which was circulated by supporters but not introduced in the Legislature, proposed allowing three county commission-like board members — two of whom would be from the company itself — to create court systems, impose taxes, build infrastructure and make land and water management decisions.
Sisolak framed the idea as a means to diversify Nevada’s tourism-driven economy after the pandemic wreaked havoc on the tax revenue base the state uses to fund essential services and led the state to record a 28.2% unemployment rate in April — more than any U.S. state since the federal government began reporting