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November 2018
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Opinion:
by U.S. Senator Dean Heller
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Legislative Update from U.S Senator Dean Heller

 U.S. Senator Dean Heller
U.S. Senator Dean Heller

Over the past few months, Congress has made historic progress, and while my heart will always be in Nevada, I’ve been proud to be Nevada’s voice in Washington, D.C. From passing critical funding bills on time for the first time in 10 years to passing into law a rare piece of bipartisan legislation to fight Nevada’s opioid crisis, this Congress continues to get the job done.

However, our work is far from finished. Whether it’s ensuring the continued success of Nevada’s thriving economy, advancing solutions for families and seniors who are struggling with the lack of affordable housing options, or delivering justice to victims of heinous crimes, I would like to take this opportunity to provide a brief update on my work to advance policies that move our state and Nevada families forward.

Supporting Nevada’s Thriving Economy

No state was hit harder by the recession than Nevada, where the unemployment rate hit 13.7 percent and the home foreclosure rate was the highest in the country. In fact, during President Obama’s 8 years in office, GDP growth averaged just 1.9 percent. But now, Nevada is one of the fastest growing states in the nation and unemployment in all age groups is on a downward trend.

In August, Nevadans employed full-time reached a new all-time high. According to a recent Nevada economic report, the manufacturing industry’s average employment growth is experiencing record highs and is up 14 percent and the construction industry in Nevada just recently saw its largest employment gains.

Nevada is back to work, and the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which was signed into law at the end of last year, continues to spur economic growth in Nevada and deliver for our workers and businesses throughout the state.

As a member of the tax writing U.S. Senate Finance Committee, I was proud to help write this legislation to make sure that Nevadans can keep more of their hard earned paychecks. I was also proud to champion and help secure provisions in the new law to double the child tax credit from $1,000 to $2,000 per child, establish the first ever national paid family leave policy, promote renewable energy, and encourage more affordable housing options.

Fighting for Affordable Housing in the Silver State

Affordable housing remains one of the most pressing challenges facing communities throughout our state. While we welcome this explosion of growth in Nevada and the jobs and economic opportunities that come with it, there is a lack of affordable housing because the demand for it is simply outpacing the supply.

According to a recent study from the National Low Income Housing Coalition, Nevada ranks in the top 25 percent of states with the highest housing costs.

That is why I have been working on policies that will help alleviate the affordable housing shortage in both northern and southern Nevada. For example, recently I introduced the Seniors Affordable Housing Tax Credit Act, a bill that I authored to incentivize housing owners and developers to rent to low income seniors. I have also coauthored bipartisan legislation to establish a bipartisan affordable housing task force, and I’ve urged Department of Interior (DOI) Secretary Ryan Zinke to free up federal lands in Nevada so that communities can develop single and multifamily housing units. Specifically, I pushed him to implement my bipartisan legislation that reauthorized the Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act (FLTFA), a program that allows DOI to expedite the sale of federal lands that are already eligible for disposal.

Delivering Justice for Victims of Crimes

Earlier this month, President Trump signed into law the Justice Served Act, bipartisan legislation I helped author that will help deliver justice to victims of violent crimes by providing funding to prosecute the rape kit backlog, resolve cold cases, and help exonerate those who were wrongfully convicted.

It is estimated that there are hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits sitting in law enforcement and crime lab storage facilities across the nation, and each one of these untested rape kits represents a missed opportunity to help bring justice and healing to a survivor of sexual assault.

That’s why it is critical that our law enforcement agencies are equipped with the federal resources and support that they need to hold perpetrators accountable for their vile crimes and bring justice to victims. This new law will support Nevada’s prosecutors with the necessary resources to go after perpetrators of heinous crimes and will deliver justice to victims and their families.

As Nevada’s senior senator, I am determined to continue fighting for policies that deliver solutions to the challenges facing our communities and support Nevadans in communities across Nevada.

As always, I encourage you to contact us at our offices in Reno, Las Vegas, or Washington, D.C. should you need assistance – we are here to help you.

Reno

Bruce Thompson Federal Building
400 S. Virginia Street, Suite 738
Reno, NV 89501
Phone: 775-686-5770

 

Las Vegas

8930 West Sunset Road Suite 230
Las Vegas, NV 89148
Phone: 702-388-6605

 

Washington, DC

324 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: 202-224-6244