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Lights, camera, action? Nevada bill to lure film industry will be back next year

Ble skies sit above he Nevada Legislature building in Carson City, Nev., Tuesday, May 30, 2023. Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo signed a bill into law that makes it a felony to harass, intimidate or coerce election workers in a rare bipartisan move to increase protections for election workers in the Western swing state ahead of 2024. (AP Photo/Tom R. Smedes)
Tom R. Smedes
Blue skies sit above he Nevada Legislature building in Carson City, Nev., Tuesday, May 30, 2023.

For decades, movies have been made about Las Vegas, or they’ve used Las Vegas as something of a main character.

Casino, Leaving Las Vegas, The Hangover, Swingers …and the list goes on.

When those movies are made, crews often spend a few days here but do most of the filming and editing in California studios.

For years, there’s been a push to change that, to get more of that production work in Nevada. Jobs in film production pay relatively higher wage and they don’t all require a four-year degree.

And ever since 9/11, then the 1 October shooting, the Recession and pandemic — and the economic devastation that happens when gaming suffers a slowdown — state leaders have talked about diversifying the economy.

We do have a film incentive program here, but it’s small. So a year ago, a bill was introduced to create big tax incentives for film production. It was $190 million a year for 20 years.

Lawmakers said it would create a whole new industry and the educational impact in our schools would be dramatic.

The bill died. But a version of it is coming back next year. But there are questions. Would it do as they say, economically, and in education? And do Nevadans want tax dollars to go to support more large corporations?

Guests: Roberta Lange, state senator; Frank Woodbeck, executive director, CSN Grants & Special Projects; Marco Henry, film producer; Scott Hammond, executive director, Governor's Office of Workforce Innovation; Nancy Uscher, dean, UNLV Fine Arts

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Joe Schoenmann joined Nevada Public Radio in 2014. He works with a talented team of producers at State of Nevada who explore the casino industry, sports, politics, public health and everything in between.