What to watch in the 2021 legislative session: A guide to Nevada's biggest policy debates – Northern Nevada Business Weekly

The Legislature on Sunday, Aug. 2, 2020 during the third day of the 32nd Special Session of the Legislature in Carson City. The building is closed to the public due to COVID-19.
Photo: David Calvert / Nevada Independent

CARSON CITY, Nev. — The 2021 session is likely to be defined by Nevada’s immediate budget challenges and efforts to recover from the damage of the ongoing pandemic.

But lawmakers are also poised to work on policy that could shape the state’s long-term trajectory, including implementing a redesigned school funding formula, laying groundwork for a more diversified economy and considering changes to a mining tax model in place since Nevada gained statehood in the 1800s.

Instead of tracking each of the hundreds of bills introduced each session, The Nevada Independent this year has compiled a summary of some of the most interesting storylines emerging for the Legislature:

K-12 EDUCATION The 2019 session brought a major change to the way the state funds K-12 education. The passage of SB543 created the Pupil Centered Funding Plan, which revamps how education dollars will be distributed throughout the state. It’s being implemented this budget cycle, but there was not an infusion of new K-12 funding to go along with it. The Commission on School Funding is expected to unveil recommendations for how to achieve optimal funding levels over time. The big question is whether efforts to boost education funding translate to any tax reforms this session, especially as the state reels from the economic consequences of the pandemic. Expect also to see some conversations surrounding competency-based education, which is rooted in the belief that children should move ahead at their own pace after mastering skills and concepts. 

Additionally, the pandemic-forced transition to remote learning — which unearthed a host of inequities surrounding technology — appears to be primed for legislative

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