Nevada governor touts proposal to allow tech companies to create local governments

Nevada Gov. Steve SisolakSteve SisolakNevada governor apologizes for state's role in indigenous schools First openly transgender Miss USA contestant eliminated before round of 16 Nevada lawmakers approve maps giving edge to Democrats MORE (D) touted a proposal that would allow tech companies to create local governments.

A draft proposal that has not been introduced in the Nevada state legislature would clear the way for “Innovation Zones,” allowing tech companies to form separate governments in the state, according to a draft of the bill obtained by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Sisolak touted his plan on Twitter on Wednesday, saying he was glad it was getting national attention as a "Top Tech Agenda." He added that the plan would "help strengthen Nevada’s infrastructure and economy and help generate new jobs in our state."


Sisolak first mentioned his plan during his State of the State address on Jan. 19. At the time, the governor said that companies “creating groundbreaking technologies can come to Nevada to develop their industries … without tax abatements or public financing.”

He also said that Blockchains LLC committed to building a “smart city” that ran on its technology following the bill’s passage.

"Our goal is to show how blockchain technology can change the way we interface with technology, infrastructure, and each other," Elaina Duffy, a Blockchains vice president, said in a statement to The Hill regarding the smart city.


"We are happy to be a resource on this innovative proposal and look forward to working with Nevada leaders to make our great state a global hub for innovation and technology," Duffy said.

According to the draft obtained by the Review-Journal, companies would be able to form governments that would have the same authority as a county, including imposing taxes, forming school districts and justice courts, and providing government services.

The Governor’s Office of Economic Development would handle applications for the zones, which are limited to specific “innovative technology” such as blockchain, autonomous technology, robotics and renewable resource technology, the newspaper reported.

According to the newspaper, applicants for the zone must own 50,000 acres of undeveloped and uninhabited land within a county that’s not a part of a city or town. An applicant will need to have $250 million and a plan to invest an additional $1 billion in the zone over 10 years.

The zones would operate within their local counties to start but eventually would become independent governing bodies, according to the newspaper. The zones would also need a three-member board of supervisors that would have the same powers as a board of county commissioners.

The Hill has reached out to Sisolak’s office for comment on the proposal.

--Updated on Feb. 7 at 9:11 a.m.