A public medical school such as UNLV School of Medicine needs to demonstrate its value to the Governor, Nevada legislators, Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) Board of Regents, and the public to secure the funding vital to its success.
One of the main reasons I started this newsletter was to tell the story of building a medical school with all its many components, share our progress and major milestones, and demonstrate our value to the community.
Gearing up for the 2017 Legislative Session
The Nevada legislature meets every two years from February to May. However, they work year-round on their respective committees and subcommittees to continue addressing issues affecting Nevadans. The UNLV School of Medicine has been reporting its progress on a regular basis to the Interim Finance Committee, the Legislative Education Committee and the Legislative Committee on Health Care. Last week two major events occurred that focused our attention on the next legislative session.
Southern Nevada Economic Forum
The Southern Nevada Economic Forum is a bipartisan group of legislators from Southern Nevada who have been meeting with stakeholders for several months to identify their legislative priorities for 2017. Subcommittees examined economic and workforce development, good governance, K-12 education, higher education, health care, and transportation.
In April, I testified before the Southern Nevada Forum's Economic and Workforce Development Committee chaired by Assemblywoman Irene Bustamante Adams. I outlined the school's four core missions, our recent progress, and three-year priorities - all of which underscored the need for financial support to our base budget in the next legislative session.
Last Thursday, the subcommittees' work of the Southern Nevada Forum culminated at a large public meeting of more than 200 people. Each committee chair discussed the legislative issues they had identified then asked the audience to vote for its top three priorities under each category. Funding to support an increase to the UNLV School of Medicine base budget was voted as the top priority for both the economic and the higher education groups. This means our funding for the next biennium (July 2017-June 2019) will be a high priority for the legislature and for support from the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce, which sponsors the Southern Nevada Forum's meetings.
Legislative Council Bureau
Last Friday, the Legislative Council Bureau's (LCB) staff visited UNLV to review our progress, budgetary needs for the next session, and toured the medical school's interim student educational space at the Shadow Lane campus. The LCB staff supports legislators from both the Senate and the Assembly as they oversee the use of state funds and plan support for new programs. The timetable for preparation of the UNLV School of Medicine budget for the 2017 legislative session, which begins in February is as follows:
- March 2016: First presentation of the UNLV School of Medicine budget before the Board of Regents (BOR)
- June 2016: Second presentation to the BOR
- August 2016: Final approval by the BOR. The budget then goes from the BOR to the Governor as part of the full NSHE budget
- February 2017: Governor presents his state-of-the-state address outlining his priorities for the session and then submits his budget to the legislature for their consideration
- February - June 2017: Nevada Legislature holds budget hearings, discussions and debates, and then votes on the final biennium budget and various other bills that have been under consideration
I want to thank Governor Sandoval, the NSHE Regents and all of the legislators for their work and dedication to improve Nevada's health care system. I very much appreciate the support everyone has provided to UNLV School of Medicine.