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KUNR Today: Nevadans 16+ Soon Vaccine Eligible, Nev. Bill Would Let Businesses Ban Guns

David Calvert
The Nevada Independent
The Assembly chambers inside the Legislature on Monday, March 15, 2021 in Carson City, Nev.

Here are your local news headlines for the morning of Thursday, Mar. 18, 2021.

Nevadans 16 And Older Soon Eligible For COVID-19 Vaccinations
By Paul Boger

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak announced that all Nevadans 16 and older will be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine by April 5. This marks the first time the three approved COVID-19 vaccines will be made broadly available to the public at-large. He announced the update to the state’s vaccine eligibility requirements during a press conference Wednesday.

In addition, anyone 16 and older with an underlying health condition can make an appointment starting Monday, March 22.

Sisolak said the push to get everyone vaccinated is the only way to fully re-open the state and rebuild the economy.

While the eligibility requirements have eased, availability will still depend on the state’s allocation of the vaccine from the federal government. Last week, Nevada received roughly 61,000 first doses of the vaccine.

Nevada Bill Could Allow Businesses To Ban Firearms
By Paul Boger

Nevada lawmakers are considering a measure that would give business owners the ability to prohibit gun owners from carrying firearms onto their property.

Under Assembly Bill 286, businesses can also file misdemeanor trespassing charges against anyone who refuses to cooperate.

Assemblywoman Sandra Jauregui is the bill's sponsor and a survivor of the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas, which killed 60 people and injured hundreds more. She said the bill is similar to the state's DUI and seatbelt laws.

“The point in all of these measures, including AB286, is that we’ll stop some of these incidents. It will save some lives. It will help our law enforcement have the tools they need to keep guns out of the hands of those who would do harm," she said.

The bill also prohibits the possession or sale of so-called “ghost guns," or privately assembled firearms without a serial number.

Opponents of the bill say it tramples gun owner rights, in particular, residents with concealed carry permits.

Nevada: GOP Filed Far Fewer Election Complaints Than Claimed
By The Associated Press

Nevada’s top election official announced Tuesday that her staff had found far fewer complaints of alleged election fraud than state GOP leaders had claimed there were after her office processed election materials delivered in early March to the capital. Republican Party Chair Michael McDonald said he had submitted four boxes containing proof of more than 120,000 instances of election fraud. Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske’s review found only 3,963 Election Integrity Violation reports submitted in McDonald’s name. Republicans disputed the count and emphasized the thousands of complaints of irregularities that were under investigation.

Clean Air Gains Canceled Out By Wildfire Smoke
By Maggie Mullen, Mountain West News Bureau

Gains in clean air had been hailed as a silver lining to the COVID-19 pandemic, but according to new data out this week, those improvements in the U.S. were canceled out by last summer’s wildfire smoke.

When pandemic lockdowns meant fewer cars on the road and planes in the sky, fine-particle pollution from the burning of fossil fuels dropped by 13%. That meant cleaner air. Then, 2020’s historic wildfire season started.

"You look at August through December, and you see the biggest impact in air quality is wildfires," said Glory Dolphin Hammes with IQ Air, North America. That’s one of the groups behind the World Air Quality Report, which found that the average air pollution levels across the U.S. were actually higher in 2020 than in the previous two years.

Hammes said air pollution remains the most pressing environmental health threat.

Tahoe National Forest Approves Marquee Additions to Truckee Trail Network
By Olivia Ali

The United States Forest Service recently approved the East Zone Connectivity Project. This approval means construction will occur on the Truckee trail network near the Verdi Range and Boca and Stampede Reservoirs.

These additions include seventy miles of motorcycle track and several new trailheads.

Some Public Lands In Nevada Closed To Overnight Camping
By The Associated Press

Land management officials in Nevada have announced that a federal agency is closing sections of public land in Washoe and Lyon counties to overnight camping as more people violate the 14-day camping limit. The Reno Gazette-Journal reports that the Bureau of Land Management says areas of Golden and Sun valleys and an area off State Route 50 will be closed for camping starting April 1. The locations will remain open for day use and hiking. Under the agency’s policy, campers can only stay on undeveloped public land for 14 consecutive days. Campers are then asked to move to a site at least 25 miles away. The closures are indefinite.

Paul Boger is a former reporter at KUNR Public Radio.
Maggie Mullen is a fifth generation Wyomingite, born and raised in Casper. She is currently a Masters candidate in American Studies and will defend her thesis on female body hair in contemporary American culture this May. Before graduate school, she earned her BA in English and French from the University of Wyoming. Maggie enjoys writing, cooking, her bicycle, swimming in rivers and lakes, and most any dog.
Olivia Ali is a senior at the University of Nevada, Reno majoring in journalism and minoring in history. She is also the editor-in-chief of The Nevada Sagebrush. Prior to working at KUNR, she interned at the Reno Gazette Journal as a reporting intern and at the Sacramento SPCA as a digital marketing analyst intern through the Dow Jones News Fund. After she graduates, she hopes to work in audience engagement or digital media. Outside of journalism, Olivia loves to travel, learn as much as she can and watch reality television when she gets a spare moment.
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