Top elected officials’ calendars show A’s meetings, film tax discussion and travel
When 2023 began, four of Nevada’s six top elected officials were preparing to head into their inaugural term and legislative session — their first political test as officeholders, determining whether they could meet their campaign trail promises in a divided government.
Split evenly between the Democratic and Republican parties, the constitutional officers — referred to as such because their duties are established in the Nevada Constitution — took their oaths on Jan. 2, a month before the Legislature convened. Tension during the 120-day legislative period led to two special sessions, compromises that frustrated both parties and a record number of vetos.
To better understand the top state officials’ activities during the legislative session, The Nevada Independent requested each of Nevada’s constitutional officers’ calendars for dates leading up to, during and after the 2023 legislative session. The state’s public records law does not apply to the Legislature.
Five of the state’s six top elected officials responded to the request, and officials with Attorney General Aaron Ford’s office indicated they are still putting together and reviewing his calendar, which they said will arrive Feb. 2, 2024 — months after the offices of the other five officials fulfilled the same requests. Read more here about the delays from the attorney general’s office.
The calendars received by The Nevada Independent contain a detailed accounting of staff meetings, bill discussions and other scheduled events, but they are not comprehensive. Staff members redacted what they said were sensitive materials and the calendars do not include private calls or spontaneous meetings. Also, appointments on the calendar don’t confirm that a meeting occurred or provide details on the specific discussion topics.
However, the calendars can provide valuable insight into the constitutional officers’ priorities during the 2023 legislative session, showing agenda items featuring a film tax bill, the relocation of the Oakland A’s and, in a few instances, communications with presidential candidates.
At times, the calendars also reveal that elected officials are like everyone else. On May 19, Lt. Gov. Stavros Anthony had a morning appointment for an “oil change,” and just five days later, he followed that up with a calendar item titled “tires.” Secretary of State Cisco Aguilar had a reminder that the attire for an event on April 12 was a “dressy shirt :).”
Here’s a look at the constitutional officers’ calendars during the legislative session:
Governor Joe Lombardo and First Lady Donna Lombardo pose for a photo after the Governor took his oath of office inside the old Assembly Chambers in the state Capitol in Carson City on Jan. 2, 2023. (David Calvert/The Nevada Independent)
Gov. Joe Lombardo (R)
In May, The Nevada Independent published a detailed report on the people Gov. Joe Lombardo met with during his first three months in office.
Among the notable meetings was a 15-minute phone call with presidential candidate Ron DeSantis days after the Florida governor held a Las Vegas event. Lombardo has publicly declined to endorse anyone for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination — including former President Donald Trump, who endorsed Lombardo during his gubernatorial bid.
The governor’s calendar also shows a meeting with former Republican governor Jeb Bush and a call with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, one day after she testified before the federal Senate Committee on Finance and called the nation’s banking system “sound” in the wake of Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse.
Long before the bill language for the Oakland A’s relocating to Las Vegas arrived in May, the governor’s calendar shows an hourlong virtual meeting on Feb. 2 with the Oakland A’s that was followed by another meeting on Feb. 14 with representatives from the team, though details on the location are redacted.
Since then, the governor’s calendar has shown meetings with various interest and lobbying groups, frequent breakfasts with Democratic legislative leaders, policy briefings and bill signing ceremonies at the end of the legislative session.
Here are some other notable events:
April 3: Video call related to Brightline West with the note “Sen. Rosen’s Ltr of Support” April 4: Meeting with the Nevada State Medical Association at the governor’s office April 4: Meeting with the National Lacrosse League’s expansion team, the Las Vegas Desert Dogs April 5: Call with John Vellardita, executive director of the Clark County Education Association April 6: Coffee meeting with Clark County School District Superintendent Jesus Jara April 11: Meeting with Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto at the governor’s office ahead of her address to the Legislature April 12: Half-hour visit to the Realtors regional conference at the Grand Sierra Resort April 13: 15-minute call with presidential candidate and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie April 18: Meeting with the Japan Consul General in San Francisco Yasushi Noguchi April 24: 15-minute meeting with Gene Haas, the founder and owner of Haas Automation, a CNC machine tool manufacturer. Haas also founded the NASCAR Stewart-Haas Racing team and a Formula One team. Haas Automation is developing a factory in Henderson April 25: Four-hour meeting with the U.S. secretary of education in Fallon April 26: Meeting with Cathy Reheis-Boyd, CEO of the Western States Petroleum Association May 22: A’s relocation meeting with consultant Jeremy Aguero. A source familiar with the meeting said that the meeting was centered around the bill’s financial structures. May 31: Half-hour meeting with actors Tony Renaud and Mark Wahlberg. Though there’s no formal information about what was discussed in the meeting, it came when actors, film studios and developers advocated for a proposed multibillion-dollar film tax credit program. The Legislature did not move forward with the plan. May 31: Meeting with Nevada Housing Division Administrator Steve Aichroth and Lombardo’s Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Wells June 19: “Donor Luncheon” for anti-abortion group Nevada Right to Life hosted at the governor’s mansion. In 2022, Lombardo’s campaign sponsored an event for Nevada Right To Life and made a $1,500 payment to the group for special event fees.
Click here to find the governor’s full calendar.
Lieutenant Governor Stavros Anthony takes his oath of office inside the old Assembly Chambers in the state Capitol in Carson City on Jan. 2, 2023. (David Calvert/The Nevada Independent)
Lt. Gov. Stavros Anthony (R)
The early months on Anthony’s calendar reflect his time spent learning the ropes of an office he assumed in 2023. January includes lots of events preparing for the legislative session, from meetings with lawmakers and legislative staff to “Mock Senate Training.”
One of the lieutenant governor’s key responsibilities is to serve as president of the state Senate — a role that involves presiding over floor meetings, including calling the senators to order, reading through agenda items and adjourning meetings. From late January through early June, Anthony’s calendar shows he typically traveled home to Las Vegas nearly every Friday before returning to Carson City via a flight to Reno on Sunday nights.
Anthony also took time out to meet with those who held the role before him, including Brian Krolicki on Feb. 7 and Lorraine Hunt Bono on March 16. Those two former Republican lieutenant governors held the office from 1999 through 2014.
Here are some additional highlights:
Feb. 8 – June 5: Recurring meetings labeled “Senate Caucus” in then-Senate Minority Leader Heidi Seevers Gansert’s (R-Reno) office on almost every weekday Feb. 4 – March 18: A variety of county-level Lincoln Day dinners in Lyon, Nye, Washoe, Douglas, Pershing and Churchill counties and Carson City. Lincoln Day events typically serve as annual Republican-hosted fundraisers and celebrations. March 4 – 5: NASCAR event at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway March 6: Attended a Nevada Department of Transportation “snowplow demonstration.” The lieutenant governor is the vice chair of the Board of Transportation. March 20-24: Four-day-long trip to Washington, D.C., that included National Lieutenant Governors Association and Republican Lieutenant Governors Association meetings, as well as meetings with Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and former Rep. Jon Porter (R-NV) April 29: Saturday morning meeting in the Summerlin area of Las Vegas labeled “Gov Lombardo Priorities Meeting” May 20 – 27: A week bookended by food-focused events with the Virginia City chili cook-off and a “rib cook-off” June 15: “Mexico Mission Debriefing.” Anthony traveled to Mexico City in late September to promote Nevada tourism. As lieutenant governor, Anthony serves as chair of the Nevada Commission on Tourism. June 17: Attended the Basque Fry, an annual Republican event in Northern Nevada put on by former Attorney General Adam Laxalt’s Morning in Nevada PAC. This year’s event was headlined by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and it marked DeSantis’ first visit to the state as a presidential candidate. June 21: Had two and a half hours blocked out in the morning for “golf”
Click here to find the lieutenant governor’s full calendar.
Secretary of State Cisco Aguilar takes his oath of office inside the old Assembly Chambers in the state Capitol in Carson City on Jan. 2, 2023. (David Calvert/The Nevada Independent)
Secretary of State Cisco Aguilar (D)
The secretary of state is responsible for maintaining records of the state’s executive and legislative branches and overseeing state elections, including certifying ballot questions and reporting campaign finance records.
The office also handles business registrations and other responsibilities, including managing, training and overseeing state-licensed notaries, regulating the state’s securities industry and maintaining the state registry of living wills, advanced medical directives and a list of clergy.
Aguilar’s first few months in office were marked by preparatory activities, including various briefings, legislator meetings, interviews with press and discussions with investors. There were also at least seven meetings related to the Voter Registration and Election Management Solution project in the seven months captured by the calendar request. That project will establish a centralized statewide voter registration database mandated under a 2021 state law.
Aguilar also frequently met with other constitutional officers, tribal groups, county elections officials and state lawmakers from both political parties as he worked to pass legislation to protect election workers, create a compensation fund for fraud losses and make changes to the state’s Document Preparation Services Program, among other efforts.
But it’s not all business. There was also an office “SOUPer Bowl Party” in February, several galas and visits to high school students, including a conversation with Reno High School’s We the People program that aims to teach students the history and principles of constitutional democracy in the U.S.
Here are some noteworthy highlights:
Jan. 5: Retirement party for former Clark County Registrar of Voters Joe Gloria Jan. 5: Meeting with United States Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Jen Easterly Jan. 27: Meeting with Consul of Mexico Julián Escutia Rodriguez Jan. 27: Conversation with Gov. Joe Lombardo Feb. 9: Meeting with Lt. Gov. Stavros Anthony with the notation “AB14,” which was a bill to create a business licensing working group Feb. 14: Meeting with Vice Chairman of the Shoshone-Paiute Tribes of Duck Valley Arnold W. Thomas Feb. 15: Meeting with former Rep. Jon Porter (R-NV) who leads Porter Group, a bipartisan government relations and business consulting firm with offices on Capitol Hill. The firm represents many Nevada cities, the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada, Washoe County, the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority and the Northern Nevada Railway Foundation, among others. Porter was again noted in the calendar two days later on Feb. 17. Feb. 21 and May 11: The secretary of state’s calendar held meetings related to “Skip Daly Bill” and “Skips Bill,” respectively. The notes are likely a reference to a bill proposed by Sen. Skip Daly (D-Sparks) that sought to criminalize so-called “fake elector” schemes, such as the 2020 plot that saw self-designated Republican electors seek to pledge Nevada’s electoral votes to then-President Donald Trump, despite him losing the popular vote to Democrat Joe Biden. Though lawmakers passed the bill out of the Legislature on party-line votes, it was vetoed by Gov. Joe Lombardo. Feb. 27: Meeting with Assemblywoman Cecelia González (D-Las Vegas) to discuss AB192, a bill that in its final form includes a range of technical election changes, including requiring uniform envelopes for mail ballots statewide, expanding requirements for electioneering signs at polling places, adjusting timelines for post-election audits and requesting a recount of a presidential election. It also prohibits tampering with any computer program used to run an election. Feb. 27: Meeting with Planned Parenthood Votes Nevada Executive Director Lindsey Harmon March 2: Dinner meeting with Treasurer Zach Conine, Attorney General Aaron Ford, Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro (D-Las Vegas) and Speaker Steve Yeager (D-Las Vegas). The location of the dinner was not included. March 7: Meeting marked “confidential” involving the Nevada State Law Enforcement Officers’ Association Collective Bargaining Agreement Negotiations Workgroup March 8: Meeting with former state GOP chair Amy Tarkanian, who broke party lines to endorse Aguilar for secretary of state during the 2022 election April 24: Introduction meeting with Northern Nevada Development Authority Executive Director Jeff Sutich and Daphne Hooper, who represents tribal initiatives for UNR President Brian Sandoval April 25: Trip out to the Duck Valley Indian Reservation June 7: Meeting with Rep. Steven Horsford (D-NV)
Click here to find the secretary of state’s full calendar.
State Treasurer Zach Conine takes his oath of office alongside his family inside the old Assembly Chambers in the state Capitol in Carson City on Jan. 2, 2023. (David Calvert/The Nevada Independent)
Treasurer Zach Conine (D)
The treasurer serves as the state of Nevada’s chief financial officer, overseeing about $10 billion in state investments. As part of that role, the office accepts, safeguards and disburses all money received by the state and allocated through the state’s budget.
The treasurer also oversees several divisions, including ones focused on unclaimed property, college savings accounts and the Millennium Scholarship for college-bound Nevada high school graduates. Though the job deals with state money, the treasurer does not have a direct role in creating the state budget or setting tax policy.
In the month leading up to the legislative session and when the Legislature was in session, Conine attended weekly debt updates, discussed bond affordability and addressed other matters. He also met with state legislators, discussing a proposed “baby bonds bill” (AB28) that sought to help close the widening racial wealth gap in Nevada; a sponsored bill (AB45) that would establish a student loan repayment program for health care providers working in underserved communities; and regulation changes to the state infrastructure bank (SB10).
Perhaps the most watched legislation the treasurer touched was related to the relocation of the Oakland A’s. His calendar indicates multiple meetings connected to the baseball team, including one with consultant Jeremy Aguero and lobbyists on May 11, an event titled “A’s working outline” on May 16 and a meeting on May 26 with the governor related to the A’s relocation.
Most of these meetings came amid rumors that the Oakland A’s were looking to relocate to Las Vegas before the official bill language arrived on the morning of May 26. Though the bill died before it could pass through the Legislature, the governor called a special session to resurrect the measure, and it passed it out of both chambers after seven days. Lombardo signed SB1 on June 15.
The bill established a public financing package of up to $380 million to help fund a proposed $1.5 billion, 30,000-seat baseball stadium in Las Vegas to serve as the new home of Major League Baseball’s Oakland A’s
Here are highlights from the calendar:
Jan. 5: One-hour afternoon meeting with Mexico Consul Julián Escutia Rodriguez Jan. 11: Morning meeting with Assembly Speaker Steve Yeager (D-Las Vegas), followed by a lunch with Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro (D-Las Vegas) Jan. 12: Meeting with Clark County Commissioner Michael Naft Jan. 30: Bill draft request meeting to discuss baby bonds Feb. 6: Meeting surrounding SB10 with lobbyist Misty Grimmer, who works for The Ferraro Group. Grimmer represents many clients, including Waste Management, the Las Vegas Raiders, Communities in Schools and the College of Southern Nevada. Feb. 9: Meeting with former Lt. Gov. and former Treasurer Kate Marshall. Marshall served as lieutenant governor from 2019 to 2021 and treasurer from 2007 to 2015. Feb. 12-16: Trip to Washington, D.C., where Conine attended networking breakfasts, a variety of meetings related to the state treasury and met with Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV). During this time period, he also had an hour meeting with IBEW President Kenneth Cooper and a meeting with Pharmaceutical Care Management Association Senior Vice President of State Affairs Lauren Rowley and Assistant Vice President of Federal Affairs Jocelyn Wiles. March 14: Meeting with former Nevada Treasurer Bob Seale. Seale served as treasurer from 1991 to 1999. March 15: “NV Donor Network’s Inspire & Hope 2023” event April 27: “Duckwater Tribal School Meeting” May 11: Meeting titled “A’s” with Jeremy Aguero and lobbyists John Griffin and Thomas Morley. John Griffin is a lobbyist for the Oakland A’s and represents the Las Vegas Urban Chamber of Commerce and Lucid Motors, along with other clients. Morley is a labor lobbyist who also represented the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the Nevada Press Association, the Nevada Justice Association and Anthem Country Club, among other clients. May 16: Zoom meeting titled: “As’ | Working Outline” May 22: Meeting titled “A’s Relocation Meeting with Governor Lombardo.” A source familiar with the meeting said that the meeting was centered around the financial structure of the bill. May 26: Half-hour meeting with Lombardo’s Director of Strategic Initiatives, Tim Robb, to discuss regulation changes to the state infrastructure bank (SB10) May 31: Half-hour meeting with lobbyist Greg Ferraro with the note, “re: Film Bill”
Click here to find the treasurer’s full calendar.
State Controller Andy Mathews takes his oath of office inside the old Assembly Chambers in the state Capitol in Carson City on Jan. 2, 2023. (David Calvert/The Nevada Independent)
Controller Andy Matthews (R)
The controller is another money-based constitutional office with fiscal duties not already outlined for the treasurer. Formally the state’s chief fiscal officer, those duties include drafting state financial reports (including federal and state law compliance audits), collecting debts and maintaining a database of state vendors.
Much of Matthews’ calendar through the first half of 2023 was taken up by regular meetings for the Nevada Department of Transportation — where the controller joins the governor, lieutenant governor and four other appointed members — and committee meetings with other executive officers.
Of note, Matthews is also a member of the State Financial Officers Foundation (SFOF), an obscure nonprofit linking Republican state financial officers who advocate for conservative policy goals. That includes criticism of environmental, social and corporate governance investing and, according to a 2022 report from The New York Times, a lobbying effort designed to push state treasurers to embrace oil and gas interests in the wake of President Joe Biden’s election.
Matthews spent April 24-28 at the group’s national meeting in New Hampshire.
The controller also logged four trips on the state plane to Las Vegas, all clustered at the end of May and the beginning of June, just as the legislative session accelerated to a close.
Feb. 15: Meeting with Nevada Credit Union March 10: Meeting with the Simmons Group, a human resources firm based out of Las Vegas March 16: Meeting with Sen. Ira Hansen (R-Sparks) March 20: Meeting with Battle Born Growth, a 501(c)(3) created by lawmakers in 2011 and designed around distributing resources — in the form of small loans, venture capital or other means — to small businesses in Nevada March 28: Meeting with Tray Abney, a lobbyist and head of the Nevada arm of the National Federation of Independent Business March 29: Matthews has a calendar item labeled only: “SFOF (State Financial Officers Foundation) National.” May 17: Participated in a work session for AB3, a bill that dropped the frequency of a controller’s office report on the State Permanent School Fund from quarterly to annually June 28: Joined a “National Policy Zoom” for SFOF July 12: Joined another SFOF national Zoom call
Click here to find the controller’s full calendar.
Corrected at 2:17 p.m. on 1/14/2024. The investment figure managed by the treasurer is about $10 billion.