Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval agreed with many organizations throughout the state that AB 407’s “risks substantially outweigh its potential benefits.”
Sandoval vetoed the bill, which passed the Nevada Assembly by a vote of 32 to 12 and the senate 15 to 6. The bill would have added the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and the Desert Research Institute to the list of institutions of higher learning that are designated “land grant institutions.”
In a letter to Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske the governor stated, “Currently (and for over 100 years), the University of Nevada, Reno has been the only ‘land grant’ university in the State. It is a system that has worked exceptionally well, and such a dramatic disruption to that system, as proposed by AB 407, is not justified, especially in light of the significant risks the bill presents to successful, longstanding university programs and critical federal funding.”
The Cooperative Extension is one of the programs that would have been disrupted, according to Extension Educator Holly Gatzke, who works out of the Caliente office.
In a report to the county commission last month Gatzke said that if AB 407 were to be enacted, Lincoln would be in the south region with Nye and Clark Counties, administered out of UNLV. “This would also mean we would have two agencies to work through in everything we do statewide,” she said. “More red tape, more administration time, more levels of administration boards, etc.”
The governor noted AB 407 received widespread opposition from groups including Nevada Association of Counties, Eureka County, Elko County, Humboldt County, White Pine County, the Nevada Farm Bureau Federation, Nevada Bighorns Unlimited, and the Fire Prevention Association of Nevada.
Some have called the bill an effort to put more control over federal funding in Clark County’s hands. Every Nevada senator that supported the bill represents Clark County, while every senator opposing the bill represents Washoe County or rural parts of the state. With a few exceptions, the same was true in the Nevada Assembly.