Guinn Center Research
The Kenny Guinn Center for Policy Priorities is a nonprofit, independent policy research center focused on providing fact-based and well-reasoned analysis of critical policy issues that advance solutions toward a vibrant Nevada. Recognizing the time constraints of the decision makers in Nevada’s policy sphere, our analysis and information is accessible, timely, and relevant.
This page includes recent policy reports from the last six months. Archived reports are included under the issues tab.
This November, voters in Nevada will be asked to approve the Background Check Initiative, which is a statewide question to amend an existing Nevada law. This Fact Sheet provides a summary of the primary arguments for and against the Background Check Initiative and addresses some questions voters may have.
Voters in Nevada will be asked to consider a measure to approve the regulation and taxation of recreational marijuana. This Fact Sheet presents arguments for and against the measure to Regulate and Tax Marijuana.
Question No. 3: The Energy Choice Initiative (ECI) is a statewide constitutional ballot initiative that will be placed before Nevada’s registered voters at the November 8, 2016, General Election. Question No. 3 seeks to amend the Nevada Constitution by adding a new section to its Declaration of Rights regarding the provision of electric utility service in the State.
This fact sheet provides information on the Medical Patient Tax Relief Act, a ballot question for the November 2016 election in Nevada. The measure seeks to provide a sales and use tax exemption for durable medical, oxygen delivery and mobility enhancing equipment. The fact sheet discusses the effects the initiative could have on state tax revenue, who in the state might benefit from the exemption, and how Nevada’s tax policy for these types of medical equipment compares with other states.
An initiative will be placed on the ballot this November (Clark County Question 5) asking Clark County registered voters if they wish to continue tying fuel taxes to the inflation rate. Fuel taxes in the County have been indexed to inflation since January 2014. This program—Fuel Revenue Indexing (FRI)—is set to expire at the end of 2016, unless voters in Clark County approve the ballot initiative.
This Fact Sheet presents information about Washoe County Question 1 (WC-1), the proposed ballot initiative to increase the sales tax in order to generate revenue for the construction and maintenance of K-12 public school facilities in Washoe County. This Fact Sheet explains what will happen if Question 1 passes or fails to pass, and presents information about school facilities issues in Washoe County.
An initiative will be placed on the ballot this November asking Elko County registered voters if they wish to tie fuel taxes to the inflation rate. This type of program is called Fuel Revenue Indexing (FRI). A “YES” vote means that FRI would be established for ten years (January 1, 2017, through December 31, 2026). A “NO” vote rejects the imposition of automatic inflation-adjusted increases to fuel taxes.
Over the past two decades, Nevada has experienced tremendous population growth, which has placed tremendous demands on Nevada’s infrastructure and the capacity of our State’s public school facilities. As such, the need to construct and upgrade K-12 public school facilities has become a major issue in both urban and rural counties.
In 2015, the Nevada Legislature established the Spending and Government Efficiency (SAGE) Commission (AB 421) to assess best practices in education and the fiscal management of education funding in the State. The first meeting of the SAGE Commission will address Nevada’s K-12 school facilities. The Guinn Center has prepared a report on Nevada’s K-12 school facilities in which we describe school capital facilities and maintenance needs across the State, discuss financial drivers of school construction costs, and conclude by offering a series of recommendations.
Governor Sandoval called a special session in December 2015 to consider a development incentive package for Faraday Future, which has decided to locate in North Las Vegas. The goal of this policy brief is to (1) identify best practices for crafting development incentive programs, and (2) offer a set of recommendations for improving Nevada’s return on investment (ROI) on the proposed Faraday Future incentive package.
During the 2015-2017 Legislative Session, 1,013 bills were proposed. At last count, 474 bills had been approved by both Houses and 433 had been signed by Governor Brian Sandoval. The Guinn Center provides a summary of the major pieces of legislation in the Guinn Center’s five research areas: (1) Governing Nevada; (2) Growing Nevada; (3) Educating Nevada; (4) A Changing Nevada; and (5) Sustaining Nevada. (June, 2015)
At the Tipping Point: Educational Outcomes of Students in Foster Care in Clark County School District
National research finds that educational outcomes for children and youth in foster care lag behind their peers. Unfortunately, the landscape in Nevada is similar. For instance, recent data shared by Clark County School District finds that graduation rates and grade point averages are significantly lower for eleventh and twelfth grade students in foster care than their peers.
In September 2014, Justice Nancy Saitta assembled the Blue Ribbon for Kids Commission to look into deficiencies in the child welfare system and courts in Clark County, Nevada, following a series of tragic events and growing public concern. The following year, the Commission established a Public Education Subcommittee to address the challenges faced by students in foster care, particularly high school students. This policy brief evaluates educational outcomes for high school students in care in Clark County School District, and offers several policy recommendations that may be taken under advisement by Nevada’s leaders.
In Fiscal Year 2015, personnel costs accounted for 80 percent of Nevada’s $4.1 billion education budget. The policy report discusses instruction-related costs in Nevada, trends over time, and some of the drivers of personnel costs. It concludes by offering a series of recommendations for Nevada’s policy makers.
Breaking Up Is Hard To Do: Issues to Address in the Reorganization of the Clark County School District
Nevada has embarked on a process to reorganize the Clark County School District into local precincts by the beginning of the 2018-19 school year. An Advisory Committee and Technical Advisory Committee have been charged with crafting a plan to accomplish this goal. This policy report focuses on five critical issues the Advisory Committee should consider as it drafts the reorganization plan: community based communication, demographic and educational equity, funding equity, education facilities, and governance. (October 2015)
Interactive Maps: Click on the box in the upper right corner of the map below to enlarge and select different maps.
Three major K-12 initiatives approved by the 2015 Legislature include: Read by 3 (SB391), Zoom Schools (SB405), and Victory Schools (SB432). These three programs share many common goals and target similar populations. This policy brief recommends a framework for implementing these efforts in a comprehensive and integrated manner to maximize the impact on student achievement. It also includes specific implementation recommendations for the State Board of Education, Nevada Department of Education, and governing boards of school district and charter schools. (July 2015)
List of Interventions at Zoom and Victory Schools– Updated August 2015
In collaboration with other organizations, the Guinn Center contributed to a recent study examining the potential impact of full-day kindergarten on health outcomes: Full-Day Kindergarten in Nevada: A Health Impact Assessment (HIA). The purpose of the HIA study is to inform the Nevada Legislature as it considers expanding full-day kindergarten. This policy brief links the research and recommendations of the HIA study to legislation pending before the 2015 Nevada Legislature. (May 2015)
As the Nevada Legislature considers a $1.3 billion incentive package for Tesla Motors, the Guinn Center for Policy Priorities recommends that legislators consider best practices learned in other states that emphasize transparency, accountability, performance, local hiring, and job training. The Guinn Center also examines the impact of the proposal on local governments and the ability to provide expanded public services. (September 2014)
A Changing Nevada
Nevada is considering moving from a centrally controlled mental health system to one that is more responsive to local community needs. This report provides guiding principles for a quality governance system, presents a comparative analysis of models in seven states, and outlines decision points that will need to be considered by the Nevada Behavioral Health and Wellness Council and State Legislature. (December 2014)