- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 17, 2017

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - The Latest on Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval’s State of the State address and two-year budget proposal (all times local PST):

9 p.m.

The Democratic leader of Nevada’s Senate doesn’t like Gov. Brian Sandoval’s latest plan to finance private schools with public money.

Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford said Tuesday night the Republican governor’s proposal to spend $60 million over the next two years on a private school voucher program is the “wrong priority for Nevada’s kids.”

Ford says any amount of money directed to the private Education Savings Account will result in less money made available to public schools. The Nevada Supreme Court recently ruled the financing plan approved by the last GOP-controlled Legislature in 2015 was unconstitutional.

Ford says Nevada has made great strides under Sandoval’s tenure to diversify the economy and create new jobs and higher wages. But he says more has to be done to help those who’ve been left behind during the state’s economic recovery.

The Las Vegas Democrat says his own party will present an alternative “Nevada Blueprint” when the 2017 Legislature convenes Feb. 6.

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8:30 p.m.

Gov. Brian Sandoval’s State of the State address included a new announcement about Tesla Motors’ plans to expand its operations in northern Nevada with more than 500 additional jobs.

Sandoval told lawmakers during a joint session in Carson City Tuesday night that Tesla will expand the factory manufacturing lithium-ion batteries to power its electric cars to include the production of electric motors and gearboxes for its next car, the Model 3.

Tesla currently has more than 1,000 full-time employees and 2,000 construction workers on site at the 5 million-square-foot “gigafactory” along U.S. Interstate 80 east of Reno-Sparks.

Sandoval says the new project will mean more than $350 million in additional capital investment and add 550 skilled jobs to Nevada’s new economy.

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7:50 p.m.

Gov. Brian Sandoval’s two-year budget proposal includes new money for state universities, K-12 education, veterans, prisons, state workers and Nevada’s park system.

His $8.1 billion budget blueprint includes a $100 million increase for a weighted school formula aimed at boosting schools with a high percentage of at-risk students who live in poverty or are learning to speak English, as well as special education and gifted and talented programs.

Sandoval unveiled his plans during an hour-long State of the State address Tuesday night to a joint session of the Democrat-controlled Legislature in Carson City.

His capital improvements budget includes $36 million for a new veterans’ nursing home in northern Nevada, a new Department of Motor Vehicles facility in south Reno and a new national guard readiness center in North Las Vegas.

Sandoval said he has included money to retrofit the state prison in northern Nevada to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and establish a cyber defense office within the Nevada Department of Public Safety to better guard against computer hackers.

He also asked for $20 million in one-time money to fully fund the millennium scholarship program to help Nevada high school graduates go to college, and more money for technical and vocational training at community colleges.

Sandoval said his personal journey to every state park in Nevada the past year helped persuade him to propose $15 million in new spending for parks. He said the centerpiece would be a new 12,000-acre Walker River Recreation Area in Lyon County. It would include 28 miles of riverfront thanks to the private donation of three historic ranches valued at $8 million.

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6:45 p.m.

Gov. Brian Sandoval is proposing a 10 percent excise tax on the retail sale of recreational marijuana in Nevada to help finance about a 10 percent increase in the state budget over the next two years.

The excise tax is the only new tax in the $8.1 billion budget the second-term Republican presented to state lawmakers Tuesday night ahead of the 2017 legislative session.

It would come on top of a 15 percent wholesale tax that already was included in the ballot initiative voters approved in November legalizing recreational pot in Nevada.

Sandoval says that while he opposed the ballot measure, he respects the will of the voters who supported it. He says he will ask regulators to limit the sale of marijuana products and ban packaging that could appeal to children or could be mistaken for candy.

All told, Sandoval projects the taxes and fees on the sale of recreational and medicinal pot combined would bring in about $100 million over two years devoted exclusively to education.

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6:35 p.m.

Gov. Brian Sandoval says his new two-year budget blueprint makes good on a promise to fund the state’s school voucher program after the Nevada Supreme Court ruled the current funding formula was illegal.

Sandoval is proposing that $60 million be spent over the next two years on the Education Savings Account the Republican-controlled Legislature approved and he signed into law in 2015.

The program allows parents to claim up to $5,000 in state money to send their children to private or other alternative schools.

The Supreme Court upheld the program’s mission, but said it must be financed outside of the account dedicated to public schools.

That part of his State of the State speech Tuesday night brought mixed reaction in the Legislature, which is now controlled by Democrats who opposed the idea.

Sandoval said, “I knew it would be a split house on that one.”

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6:25 p.m.

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval is proposing $115 million in new spending on higher education over the next two years.

His two-year budget blueprint unveiled Tuesday night also calls for a 4 percent raise for all state workers.

Sandoval says new money for education will address growing enrollment at UNLV and the University of Nevada, Reno, as well as cover half the costs of building a new $83 million engineering building at the Reno campus.

Funding for UNLV’s School of Medicine set to open next fall also will continue at requested levels.

In addition to the 4 percent cost-of-living increase for state workers, Sandoval is proposing an additional 5 percent on top of that for correctional workers and information technology specialists. He says additional money also would be made available to cover increased costs in state workers’ health insurance

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6:15 p.m.

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval is praising the state’s economic and educational accomplishments over the past six years as he prepares to outline his $8.1 billion budget blueprint for his last two years in office - about a 10 percent increase over the past two years.

The second-term Republican governor told a joint session of the Democrat-controlled Legislature in Carson City on Tuesday night that he’s glad to report the state of the state “has dramatically improved” and is “growing stronger every day.”

Sandoval said Nevada has created 198,000 new jobs since 2011 for an all-time high of 1.3 million jobs with 72 consecutive months of job growth. Since 2010, Nevada’s unemployment rate has fallen from 14 percent to 5.1 percent last month.

High school graduation rates have improved from 62 percent in 2010 to 74 percent in 2016, and state spending per pupil in the K-12 system has increased 10 percent during roughly the same period.

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1 p.m.

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval is prepping for his final State of the State address before he’s term-limited out of office at the end of 2018.

The second-term Republican is scheduled to present his two-year budget blueprint in a speech to a joint session of the Legislature at 5:30 p.m. in Carson City.

Sandoval will be working off a $7.9 billion spending plan based on general fund tax revenues projected the next two years by the independent Economic Forum beginning July 1.

That’s about $541 million - or 7 percent - more than the existing $7.3 billion budget. However, it’s $300 million to $600 million less than would be needed to meet all funding requests from state agencies totaling about $8.2 billion.

Among other things, he’s expected to address potential Medicaid shortfalls and funding for private school vouchers.

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