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KUNR Today: Free from donation limits, PACs pour millions into governor’s race

Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo claps at a podium with supporters also clapping and holding campaign signs.
David Calvert
The Nevada Independent
Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo speaks to supporters outside the Capitol after filing to run for governor on Monday, March 14, 2022, in Carson City, Nev.

Read or listen to the news headlines for Tuesday, May 17, 2022.

Free from donation limits, PACs pour millions into governor’s race, ballot questions
By Riley Snyder 

Political action committees, or PACs, are free from donation limits and have been pouring millions of dollars into the race for Nevada governor.

Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo’s gubernatorial campaign only began airing its first television ad of the primary in late April, but over the past several months, ads boosting Lombardo and attacking his GOP primary rivals have been broadcast across the state.

The difference? Those earlier ads were produced and paid for by Better Nevada, a PAC taking advantage of loose, state campaign finance laws that allow for unlimited donations and spending.

While individual donors are subject to a $10,000 per candidate contribution limit per cycle, PACs in Nevada are allowed to raise and spend unlimited amounts.

Gov. Steve Sisolak and at least five of his 15 Republican opponents have affiliated or supportive PACs, with many focused on outside political activity or running television and digital advertisements.

Read more from this story at The Nevada Independent.

Seven Nevada tribes receive historic preservation funds
By Nick Stewart

Nevada native tribes will receive nearly $560,000 in historic preservation grants. The state of Nevada is also receiving nearly $360,000. The grants will be used to support cultural heritage through activities like collecting oral histories, along with providing cultural programs and education services.

Seven tribes throughout the state were awarded the grants including the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony and the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe in northern Nevada.

Congressional analysis shows systemic inequities for Native Americans
By Robyn Vincent, Mountain West News Bureau

A new congressional analysis highlights the economic barriers Native Americans continue to face. The report describes multiple entrenched systemic inequities.

Native Americans lack equitable access to credit and financing. They confront roadblocks to education and jobs, and Indigenous people in the U.S. are facing persistent health disparities intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ryan Nunn is with the Center for Indian Country Development. Some of his research is cited in the report. He said collecting more data is key to tackling these problems.

“For example, we really don't know very much at all about tribally-owned enterprises, which are incredibly important in Indian Country because they make up a big share of economic activity in tribal communities and they remit large revenues to tribal governments,” he said.

Nunn pointed to some progress when it comes to federal data collection. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics for decades omitted Native Americans from its monthly jobs report. That changed earlier this year.

California Republicans see chance to unseat Democratic AG
By The Associated Press

Some Republicans think there’s a chance this year to unseat appointed Democratic Attorney General Rob Bonta. First they must hash out which challenger has the best chance. Two Republicans are campaigning in the June 7 primary. So is Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert, who gave up her Republican affiliation four years ago and is running as an independent.

The GOP hopes a tough-on-crime message will resonate with voters. The state Republican Party endorsed former federal prosecutor Nathan Hochman. Also running as a Republican is Eric Early, who was the lead legal counsel for the unsuccessful effort to recall Governor Gavin Newsom.

Rising COVID-19 cases difficult to track
By Madelyn Beck, Mountain West News Bureau

COVID-19 cases are increasing in most of the country, but it’s hard to say how much.

Things have changed a lot since the pandemic started. Notably, more people have at-home COVID tests and there are vaccines, which significantly reduce the risk of hospitalization.

These are positive signs, but they mean it’s a lot harder to tell how much the virus is spreading because many people aren’t going into a doctor’s office. That uncertainty can be stressful for the immunocompromised or other vulnerable groups.

Christine Porter is a public health expert at the University of Wyoming. She recently got COVID-19 herself and said to watch for trends in local data, instead of just raw numbers.

“Presumably, those are a massive underreporting,” Porter said, “but perhaps the rate of increase might be similar, just at a much higher level than those are showing.”

For areas with wastewater testing, she said that’s one way to see if there’s more COVID-19 in your community right now; however, for those vulnerable to the virus, experts recommend masking and distancing, and also talking with a doctor about early treatments if you get infected.

Famed entertainer Ann-Margret gets honorary degree from UNLV
By The Associated Press

Entertainer Ann-Margret has been awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from UNLV. She told graduates that her college background was one year at Northwestern.

The Swedish-born singer, dancer and actress left to join a music act at the Dunes Lounge in Nevada in 1960. She then co-starred with Elvis Presley in the hit movie "Viva Las Vegas." The two performed together at UNLV's gymnasium/dance studio set, with the "University of Nevada" sign in the background. That space is now UNLV's Barrick Museum of Art. Ann-Margret says Las Vegas has been her home away from home since the 1970s and she loves the city.

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