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Stories from the KUNR newsroom and regional partners related to the 2022 elections

KUNR Today: Nevadans react to leaked SCOTUS draft opinion on Roe v. Wade

A picket sign takes up most of the image and reads, “My body my choice.”
Lucia Starbuck
KUNR Public Radio

Read or listen to the news headlines for Wednesday, May 4, 2022.

Demonstrators gather in Reno in response to Supreme Court leak
ByLucia Starbuck

About 100 people gathered in front of the federal courthouse in Reno Tuesday in support of safe access to reproductive care, including abortions.

The community-led protest took place within 24 hours of the leaked Supreme Court opinion draft to strike down Roe v. Wade.

Reno resident Rachel Steinborn said she shouldn’t have to protest this issue in 2022.

“I am trying to protect women’s rights,” Steinborn said. “This is more than being about abortion. This is about our rights getting taken away from us — and my granddaughters, my daughter — and I’m here to try to make them stay in place.”

Demonstrators echoed feelings of sadness, exhaustion and anger. The crowd was made up of all genders and ages, and many advocates pointed out that this issue affects any person, regardless of gender identity, who can get pregnant.

Lucia Starbuck is a corps member forReport for America, an initiative of theGroundTruth Project.

Elected officials, primary candidates react to leaked SCOTUS draft opinion on Roe v. Wade
By Michelle Billman

Elected officials and primary candidates in Nevada are reacting to a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion. The document was published by Politico and shows that a majority of justices have voted to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak said on Twitter that he’s committed to protecting reproductive rights, which has included signing legislation to affirm the right to an abortion. He said as long as he’s governor, he will continue to do work on this front.

U.S. Senators Jacky Rosen and Catherine Cortez Masto released similar statements, saying they will continue fighting for reproductive freedoms.

Adam Laxalt, who is one of several candidates running in the GOP primary for U.S. Senate, called the leaked information a “historic victory for the sanctity of life,” while Dean Heller, a former U.S. Senator, now running in the Republican primary for governor, said he applauds the draft opinion and is “committed to supporting pro-life judges.”

California leaders vow to protect abortion in constitution
By The Associated Press

California’s governor and top legislative leaders want to add abortion protections to the state’s constitution. Their comments came just hours after Politico published a draft opinion from the U.S. Supreme Court.

The opinion indicated a majority of justices support overturning the decision that stops states from banning abortions. If that happens, abortion rights groups say at least 26 states are likely to restrict or ban the procedure.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has pledged to make California a sanctuary for people from other states seeking abortions. Adding abortion protections to the state’s Constitution would make it much harder for future lawmakers to repeal them.

Tribal advocates cite human rights in fight for U.N. Declaration for Indigenous Peoples
By Robyn Vincent, Mountain West News Bureau

Tribal advocates are discussing the need to advance the United Nations Declaration for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and advocates say it’s a human rights imperative.

The declaration recognizes Native peoples’ survival and self-determination, their land and culture, and political participation. Countries such as Canada, Mexico and New Zealand are taking steps to implement it.

Tribal leaders and advocates here say it’s time for the U.S. to do the same. For example, they want the government to have closer consultation with tribes on key issues.

Attorney Walter Echo-Hawk is a member of the Pawnee Nation. He said the Obama administration endorsed the declaration in 2010, but there’s been little movement since.

“We have no national plan here in the U.S. to implement the declaration and the Biden administration appears strangely silent on the implementation effort here,” he said.  

Echo-Hawk points out the federal government is investing billions in protecting the rights of Ukrainians. He wants to see similar measures enacted here to protect Indigenous peoples.

Councilwoman-state treasurer hopeful hurt in Vegas car crash
By The Associated Press

A Las Vegas City Council member who is running as a Republican for Nevada state treasurer is recovering from face and head injuries after she was injured in a car crash. Michele Fiore’s campaign aide, Rory McShane, said in an email Tuesday that she suffered a broken orbital bone and head trauma in the wreck.

Las Vegas police say the crash happened about 9:15 p.m. Monday near a busy crossroads in northwest Las Vegas. Fiore’s campaign released a statement saying she was treated at University Medical Center for a concussion, several broken bones and bruises. Fiore has been a City Council member since 2018.

Federal government rolls out ‘extraordinary actions’ to prop up Lake Powell
By Alex Hager, KUNC for the Mountain West News Bureau

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced two measures Tuesday to boost water levels in Lake Powell, keeping them high enough to continue generating hydropower at the Glen Canyon Dam. Both moves are being framed as painful but necessary band-aids, cutting into reserves elsewhere in the region to stave off the worst effects of a decades-long drought that has sapped the nation’s second-largest reservoir.

One measure will send water from upstream to help refill Lake Powell. About 500,000 acre-feet of water will be released from Flaming Gorge Reservoir, which straddles the border between Wyoming and Utah.

Another measure will reduce the amount of water sent downstream from Lake Powell. About 480,000 acre-feet will be withheld from Lake Mead, a reservoir that provides storage for California, Arizona and Nevada. An acre-foot is the amount of water needed to fill one acre of land to a height of one foot. One acre-foot generally provides enough water for one to two households for a year.

“We are taking extraordinary actions today,” said Tanya Trujillo, assistant secretary of water and science at the Department of the Interior. “That is because now is the time to do more. We do not have time to waste.”

She said water users need to conserve and make their water systems more efficient as climate change makes it less and less likely that more water is on the way.

Elko City Council designates $250,000 in federal COVID relief funds to small businesses
By Lucia Starbuck

Elko City Council has designated $250,000 in federal COVID-19 relief to small businesses affected by the pandemic. The funding comes from the American Rescue Plan Act.

$50,000 will go to the Northeastern Nevada Historical Society and Museum for lost revenue as a result of the pandemic. A portion of the funding will also go to local businesses that submitted grant applications. Those include a bar, a barber, seven motels in the area, and the Elko Broadcasting Company.

The federal funding can be used for businesses in industries such as tourism, travel and hospitality, along with government services, and it must be allocated by 2024.

Sparks Mayor Lawson endorses Clark County Sheriff Lombardo for governor
By Lucia Starbuck

Sparks Mayor Ed Lawson has endorsed Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, who is running to unseat Gov. Steve Sisolak. Lombardo is one of more than 12 Republicans running in the gubernatorial race.

In a statement, Lawson said that Lombardo has reached out several times to familiarize himself with Sparks and Northern Nevada issues. Lawson said the sheriff has “demonstrated his accessibility and his willingness to really listen to local and regional officials.”

Lombardo was recently endorsed by former President Donald Trump.

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