NV Gov. Joe Lombardo orders indefinite freeze on new state regulations

Nevada’s new Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo signed executive orders Thursday indefinitely freezing implementation of new state regulations or occupational licensing requirements, with some exceptions in areas such as public health and safety.

Lombardo also ordered all executive branch agencies, departments and others to review all existing regulations to recommend which should be eliminated, as well as explaining why new regulations qualify for exceptions.

He demanded occupational and professional licensing boards examine requirements that are not mandated in a majority of other states and find ways to facilitate reciprocity in other states with similar requirements, which is intended to help address worker shortages in core sectors of Nevada’s economy.

The orders reaffirm Lombardo’s ‘commitment to streamlining regulations and licensing processes in Nevada,’ the governor’s office said in a statement late Thursday.

Lombardo, the former Clark County sheriff in Las Vegas, unseated Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak in the November election. Democrats continue to control both houses of the Nevada Legislature.

‘Nevada’s current regulatory structure is too often unfocussed and inefficient, contains regulations that are obsolete and includes regulations that are unnecessarily onerous, thereby limiting the economic potential of the state,’ according to one order Lombardo signed.

The orders require each department, agency, board and commission to conduct comprehensive reviews of regulations they enforce and provide reports to the governor by May 21. The reports should detail how regulations can be ‘streamlined, clarified, reduced or otherwise improved’ to ensure they provide for the state’s general welfare ‘without unnecessarily inhibiting economic growth.’

Each entity also is required to recommend 10 regulations to be eliminated.

They must hold public hearings to gather input about any recommended changes and identify other regulatory changes industry stakeholders feel are worthy of consideration before submitting the mandated reports.

Regulations exempt from the freeze include public health, safety and security rules as well as those affecting pending judicial deadlines or are necessary to pursue federal funds or comply with federal law, the orders said.

The governor ordered all state occupational and professional licensing boards to suspend issuing new regulations and show cause for all occupational licensing requirements.

Those boards must similarly report to the governor by April 1 about regulations restricting entry into occupations or professions regulated by the board.

That order noted Nevada currently has 1.7 job openings for every unemployed person actively seeking work.

‘There are acute shortages of employees in core sectors of the economy, including, without limitation, education, health care and technology,’ it said.

To the extent an occupation or profession is licensed in Nevada but not in the majority of other states, ‘licensure shall be presumed to be unnecessary and that board shall provide a recommendation for phasing out such a licensing requirement by July 1,’ the order said.

Likewise, if a majority of other states require similar licensing, the board shall provide recommendations for implementing a program recognizing any license obtained in those states, it said.

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