The Lieutenant Governor reviews the first half of the legislative session, his first 100 days, his future plans, and spills some tea
By Megan Barth, The Nevada Globe, April 18, 2023
Yesterday, during a recess of the State Senate, The Globe sat down for thirty minutes with Lieutenant Governor Stavros Anthony to review the first half of the legislative session, his challenges and successes of his first 100 days, and his future plans for the Silver State. As Lieutenant Governor, Stavros Anthony presides over the State Senate, oversees the Office of Small Business Advocacy, and chairs the Commission on Tourism and the Advisory Board on Outdoor Recreation. He also serves as vice chair of the Board of Directors of the Department of Transportation and is a member of the Board of Economic Development, the Executive Branch Audit Committee, and the Commission on Homeland Security.
The Globe asked him about his initial impressions and experiences in the Carson City and the Lt. Governor spilled a little tea:
This is my first time going through the legislative process. It is interesting. We are more than half-way through the session and we just started, today, to vote on bills. I thought there would be a lot more floor action up to this point. The Democrats are going very slow and taking a long time to get bills out of committees. I am hearing that some committee chairs are treating Republicans very well and I hear that some are very disrepectful. It’s kind of all over the place right now, so I am not sure what their strategy is.
We are late into the session and the Governor has only signed four or five bills. It’s very odd.
There is an interesting dynamic going on up here. This is some kind of Democrat strategy because they hold a supermajority in the Assembly and they are one vote away in the Senate from overturning the Governor’s veto. So, the rumor out there is that they are going to wait until the last minute to pass a bill that might be vetoed. By waiting until the last minute, the governor won’t have time to veto it, so the bill will go to the next session and they will try and get a supermajority in the Senate to pass it. But, it’s just a rumor in the hallway. It’s a very different place.
Although the Democrats hold a supermajority in the State Assembly, thanks to the legislative redistricting maps reportedly drawn by the DNC, Republican Lt. Governor Anthony defeated Democratic incumbent Lisa Cano Burkhead by one of the largest margins of the 2022 midterm elections.
I asked him if he was surprised by the numbers that secured his victory. He responded: “I was surprised that I received the second largest number of votes in the Republican party and the third largest margin of Democrats and Republicans. I think, number one, people have heard about me for a long time, they have known me for a while and I have a track record. People just see me as someone professional and I don’t bad mouth anyone else. I’m not out their trashing people. I talk about what I am going to do based upon what I hear from the public. I try and be as articulate as I can. ‘This is where I stand and this is why’ is how I communicate with everyone. People are sick and tired of people attacking other people when it comes to elected officials. I state my case and back it up and I think people like that,” he said.
In this legislative session, bipartisanship is not always easy to find, however, Lt. Governor Anthony opened our interview by highlighting that his budget was approved and his two bills to support small businesses, passed out of committee unanimously.
“My budget was approved, two bills to support small businesses and passed out of committee unanimously. SB24 creates the Office of Small Business Advocacy. If small businesses, like food trucks for example, owned by one to three people, cannot navigate through all the state or county licensing requirements, they can call my office and talk to our folks who can answer their questions and take care of them. Small business owners will now have an office they can call or visit to answer their questions and navigate for them. So SB24 will fund the staff needed to directly help small businesses,” the Lt. Governor said.
His second bill, crafted with Democratic Secretary of State Cisco Aguilar, will fund upgrades to Silver Flume, Nevada’s business portal, and ultimately provide a “one-stop shop” for small business owners.
“If you want to open up a business, you go the portal and you can pay your fees and licenses to one place instead of separate counties and entities. If this passes, there will be some money to create and implement the technology and creates a working group to make it happen. With these two bills, small businesses owners will now have an office or a portal that will provide them the services they need. These bills will make it easier for people to open a business instead of making them jump through hoops,” he explained.
Lt. Governor Anthony added, “If small businesses run into regulations that are redundant, restrictive, or outdated, they can directly come to or call the Office of Small Business Advocacy. We will be the advocate against stupid regulations, and stupid licenses and fees. We are going to be working directly with businesses and I can guarantee you this is going to happen and will be ready within the next two years.”
Another win the Lt. Governor highlights is his work with the Department of Transportation to remove 24 hour car-pool lanes on the 15 freeway through the Las Vegas corridor. For years, as a Las Vegas Councilman, he heard complaints from constituents and saw the unused lanes during traffic jams. “You pay for these lanes, I pay for the lanes, and we can’t use the empty lanes? People were ticked off, so I started bringing it up to the regional transportation commission and the council. As an elected official, I have found that elected officials don’t like to make waves sometimes, so I decided to involved in this issue,” he said.
“The Nevada Department of Transportation, under the previous administration, ignored the Las Vegas City Council after we passed a resolution to reduce the hours from 24 hours to a couple hours. So when I became Lieutenant Governor, I found out that the Department of Transportation has the final say on this. With a new director, we worked together and came up with an agreement to reduce the lanes to two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening during weekdays. The motion passed unanimously. People are jazzed about it from what I have seen and heard. It’s one of those things where you listen to the public, I agreed, and we did it.”
Listening to the public leads leads the interview into proposed legislation that is making its way to the chamber floor and the governor’s desk.
The Lt. Governor stressed, “I am pushing Governor Lombardo’s bills and supporting these bills 100 percent. These are big bills for public safety, school safety, school choice and election integrity. These bills are spot on and what Nevadan’s are asking for and what they want.”
In closing, Lt. Governor Anthony highlights his next steps after the legislative session comes to a close.
My number one job after presiding over the Senate is chairing the Tourism Commission. For me, it is getting Nevadans and people from all over the country and the world to tour Nevada. Spending their money in Nevada helps the Nevada economy. I am looking forward to promoting tourism in the state. I have a background in tourism at Metro and the Las Vegas City Council, but this is a bigger mission to support the rural areas that don’t have a lot of support. I am going to make sure I support those folks.
“This is going to be fun”, he says as he flips through a magazine and points out 10 road trips created and identified by the Department of Tourism. After the legislative session, the Lt. Governor is going to hit the road and do one road trip a month. “I am going to do it myself and promote Nevada. Remember ‘Where is Waldo?’ This is going to be ‘Wheres the Lt. Gov?’ I am going to go out and market it and meet with the people along these routes and make a big splash out of it. This is something I haven’t done before and I am really looking forward to it.”