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

KUNR Today: Top GOP gubernatorial candidates in Nevada oppose new gun laws

Five men are standing on stage behind individual glass podiums with “8 News Now” signs on them. There are screens with blue-colored graphics behind them.
Courtesy of KLAS-TV
Five Republican candidates for Nevada governor spoke at a gubernatorial primary debate in Las Vegas on May 25, 2022.

Read or listen to news headlines for Friday, May 27, 2022.

Top GOP gubernatorial candidates in Nevada oppose new gun laws
By The Associated Press

All five candidates at a Republican gubernatorial debate said they would oppose any new gun-ownership restrictions in the wake of the Texas school shooting. Front-runner Joe Lombardo, head of the Las Vegas police department who helped investigate the 2017 mass shooting on the Las Vegas Strip, said he differed from the others in that he does not advocate a constitutional right to carry a concealed weapon. But each said repeatedly during a Wednesday night debate that the latest tragedy in Texas is more about a lack of mental health resources than gun regulations.

Washoe County Health District reiterates that gun violence is a public health crisis
By Lucia Starbuck

Following the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, Washoe County Health District Officer Kevin Dick spoke about gun violence this week. He reiterated it’s a public health crisis, which is what the American Medical Association proclaimed back in 2016.

“We’re not in a healthy society when we have that level of gun violence occurring and those impacts, and we shouldn’t have parents and children that are afraid of the classroom because of the potential that somebody’s going to walk in with a gun,” Dick said.

Active shooter incidents increased by 52% in 2021 compared to the year before, according to an FBI report released a day before the Texas school shooting.

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

Report highlights lack of diversity across Mountain West in state supreme courts
By Kaleb Roedel, Mountain West News Bureau

A new analysis on diversity in state supreme courts shows that many do not have a single justice identifying as a person of color, and that’s the case in most of the Mountain West.

The Brennan Center for Justice in New York found 20 states have zero supreme court judges of color. That includes Montana, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming and Nevada.

In each of those but Montana, Latino residents make up at least 10% of their population. In Nevada, they make up nearly 30%. The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund says the study points out a serious problem, especially as the population becomes increasingly diverse.

New Mexico has the region’s most diverse supreme court bench. Two of its five justices identify as a person of color.

Deadline to update personal voting info to receive a new mail-in ballot is coming up soon
By Gustavo Sagrero

This week, the Washoe County commission approved spending more than $2.9 million in federal pandemic funds, with the bulk of it going toward updating the security system at the county detention facility and two courthouses in Reno.

A staff report shared by the county says that its current setup for security at the three facilities is outdated and requires repairs; it’s also prone to failures, and support from the current vendor will end in 2023.

The county is also looking to use an additional $150,000 for a county recruitment and retention program, which is meant to address the shortage the county has encountered in finding qualified workers in the region for the roles it’s trying to fill. Currently, the law enforcement section of Washoe County’s jobs page has the highest number of job openings.

Another $200,000 will go to the Wilbur D. May Museum to cover revenue losses during pandemic shutdowns.

Data: Overseas flights, big April events boost Vegas casinos
By The Associated Press

Las Vegas airport and state casino revenue reports show that gambling continued a 14-month hot streak in April, and a return of international flights boosted travel nearly to levels seen before the coronavirus pandemic began more than two years ago.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board reported Thursday the more than $1 billion that casinos statewide reported winning last month represented the best April ever for the state, Clark County and the Las Vegas Strip. Reid International Airport reported almost 4.26 million arriving and departing passengers last month, not far below the number in April 2019. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority says nearly 3.4 million tourists visited the Las Vegas area last month.

Study: High-income, low-income communities most susceptible to high wildfire risks
By Madelyn Beck, Mountain West News Bureau

According to a new study, people facing high wildfire risks are more likely to be white, live in pricier homes and have higher incomes.

The report ran in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Research Letters. It suggests that this wealthier group is more likely to face wildfire threats because many seek the beautiful views and amenities on the outskirts of bigger cities in the West. Matt Wibbenmeyer with Resources for the Future co-authored that study.

“The highest income households are as much as 70% more likely than median households to be living in high fire hazard areas,” Wibbenmeyer said.

He says that could mean people in those areas can afford to protect their neighborhoods more from wildfires.

However, in more rural parts of the Mountain West, the opposite can be true. The study found people with lower-priced homes are disproportionately likely to face wildfire threats, and so are Native Americans.

Wibbenmeyer cautioned that they were only studying risk and not vulnerability. Those with lower incomes and underinsured homes will likely have a significantly harder time recovering from a wildfire.

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