Sandoval Sworn In As Governor, Announces Regulation Freeze As Pro-Business Move

CARSON CITY – Gov. Brian Sandoval wasted no time getting to work after being sworn into office today, signing an executive order freezing many proposed administrative regulations as evidence that Nevada is a business friendly state.

The freeze, which will last until Jan. 1, 2012, has exceptions for regulations affecting the public health, public safety and security and those needed in the pursuit of federal funds and certifications.

Sandoval signed the order, and another establishing ethics requirements for certain public officers and employees, just minutes after being sworn in as Nevada’s 29th governor in a chilly ceremony on the steps of the state Capitol.

He also signed a proclamation urging parents to set aside time to read to their children.

Sandoval said bringing new jobs to Nevada is his top priority, and the regulation freeze is intended to demonstrate the state’s commitment to a business friendly climate.

“As I talked about during the course of my campaign, economic diversity and promoting our economy are my No. 1 priority,” Sandoval said. “This regulation will put a freeze on regulations in the state of Nevada.”

The freeze will allow his administration to review and ensure existing regulations are business friendly and to allow for the removal of any regulations that are obsolete or unnecessary. During the freeze, no new regulations will be proposed or acted on unless exempted from the order.

Sandoval said there was no specific regulation that prompted the order.

“I want it to be very important that we have a regulatory structure for the businesses that are here in the state of Nevada, as well as the businesses that may be coming here, to understand that Nevada is going to work with you,” he said.

“The key is getting people back to work,” Sandoval said. “I think we need to have a business friendly state, that’s why they are leaving California, because they are being over-taxed and over-regulated.”

Chief of Staff Heidi Gansert said the executive order is “setting the tone to keep Nevada business friendly.”

“Let’s kind of stop just adding regulations to the books and let’s see what we have,” she said.

In comments made in his office, Sandoval called the experience of being sworn into office by Nevada Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael Douglas “very humbling.”

Douglas also administered the oath of office to the state’s other constitutional officers, including Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki, Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, Secretary of State Ross Miller, Treasurer Kate Marshall and Controller Kim Wallin.

In the audience for the ceremony were Rep. Dean Heller, R-Nev., and U.S. Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev. On the dais for the ceremony were three former governors: Bob Miller, Richard Bryan and Bob List. An empty chair represented the late Gov. Kenny Guinn. Former Gov. Jim Gibbons did not attend.

In his 13-minute inaugural address, Sandoval said he is optimistic about Nevada’s future.

“Some would have us believe that Nevada’s best days are behind us,” he said. “If we make the tough choices, the right choices, we will be rewarded with a dramatically different future. I believe it can be done. And I am optimistic that Nevada’s best days are yet to come.”

He also called for cooperation with legislative leaders, state officials and all Nevada residents in solving the state’s budget problems.

That spirit of cooperation will likely be tested after the 2011 session begins Feb. 7, however. Both the state Senate and Assembly are in the control of Democrats, and Sandoval is a Republican. Sandoval has said he will balance the upcoming two-year budget without any new taxes or fees, while some lawmakers of both parties have suggested tax increases will likely have to be part of any budget solution.

Sandoval acknowledged that tough cuts will be needed to balance the state budget, which will have about $5.3 billion in general fund revenue, well below current spending levels due to the loss of federal stimulus funds and expiring tax increases.

“I find no satisfaction in the difficult decisions we must soon make,” he said.

Sandoval planned to meet with legislative leaders today to continue budget discussions. He also plans to meet with the state’s mayors.

Sandoval said he will share in the sacrifice, forgoing a raise authorized by the Legislature and taking an additional pay cut as well.

Audio clips:

Gov. Brian Sandoval says regulation freeze is part of plan to ensure Nevada is business friendly:

010311Sandoval1 :23 are business friendly.”

Sandoval says he is optimistic about the future of Nevada:

010311Sandoval2 :13 the legislative leadership.”

Sandoval says Nevada wants to work with business to help in economic recovery:

010311Sandoval3 :12 work with you.”

  • Dave

    How hypocritical to sign a proclamation prohibiting state employees and public officers from acceping gifts when the Governor’s elaborate inauguration was paid for by Barrick Gold ($25,000), pharmaceuticals, gaming, health care companies and others. It’s the same good old boy system of corruption at the top again. “Do as I say not as I do”. If you’re a low level state employee caught accepting lunch from some vender you’ll get jammed up.