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KUNR Today: Amodei Defends No Vote On Jan. 6 Commission, Nev. Legislature Building Opens To Public

An image of Congressman Mark Amodei
Republican Rep. Mark Amodei (NV-2) voted against the formation of an independent bipartisan commission to study the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol Building.

Here are your local morning news headlines for Thursday, May 20, 2021.

Representative Mark Amodei Defending Vote Against Jan. 6 Commission
By Paul Boger

Republican Congressman Mark Amodei is defending his vote against the formation of an independent commission to review the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

In a statement, the Nevada Republican says the events of that day have become “hyper-politicized,” and that he’s tired of “Congress’s addiction to ‘special’ this and ‘special’ that.”

He also expressed concerns over who will serve on the commission and its possible scope.

Amodei is Nevada’s sole Republican representative in Congress. An ardent supporter of President Donald Trump, he voted against impeaching the former president for his role in the build-up to the insurrection.

Nevada Legislative Building Fully Open To Public
By Paul Boger

With just 12 days left in the session, Nevada’s legislative building is now fully open to the public for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

Officials with the Legislative Counsel Bureau announced the building is now open to anyone without a reservation or appointment, as long as they pass through security and get a badge.

The move follows the newest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which dropped indoor mask requirements for the fully vaccinated earlier this month. Anyone unvaccinated must continue to wear a mask in public areas of the building.

Nevada lawmakers have faced criticism over the past year for holding the vast majority of this session and last summer’s special sessions behind closed doors. In a joint statement, Republican and Democratic leaders said they’re pleased conditions have improved enough to reopen the building.

Nevada's Utility Rates Cheaper Than National Average
By Jayden Perez

Nevada has some of the most affordable utility bills in the nation. Analysis by the industry group move.org found the average Nevada household pays about $330 a month for utilities. That’s roughly $40 a month cheaper than the national average.

The report also found that utility costs have increased over the last year, with electricity and water prices reaching record highs.

US Forest Service To Crack Down On Dog Attacks Against Sheep
By The Associated Press

U.S. Forest Service officials in Nevada have started to crack down on its leash laws after recent reports of dogs attacking sheep used for wildfire reduction on the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. The Reno Gazette-Journal reports that officials say dogs at Whites Creek and Thomas Creek trails must be leashed within a mile of the trailheads through June 30 to reduce the risk of attacks. Officials have deployed sheep in the Arrowcreek and Carson City areas for the last decade to reduce the amount of forest fuel that could spark wildfires. However, District Fuels Specialist Steve Howell said there is at least one sheep attack a year.

Inconsistent Mask Requirments Leading To Confusion
By Stephanie Serrano, Mountain West News Bureau

There’s a lot of confusion out there about whether to wear a mask after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lifted that recommendation for people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Some communities in our region still require masks, while others don't.

According to the CDC, fully-vaccinated individuals can move freely around most indoor and outdoor spaces without wearing a mask.

“The science is suggesting that the vaccines are working very well,” said Melissa Marx, an epidemiologist and public health professor at Johns Hopkins.

Marx said the CDC’s recommendation is causing some people to doubt strangers in public around them, wondering if those who are unmasked are truly vaccinated.

“It’s natural that we may be skeptical or worried about that," she said.

Marx said in order to move forward, all vaccinated people need to be prepared to continue wearing masks, especially as more COVID-19 variants pop up.

Reno Clearing Unsheltered People Living Along Truckee River
By KUNR Staff

The City of Reno will start clearing unsheltered individuals living along the Truckee River Thursday. The Reno Gazette Journal reportsofficials have issued verbal and written notices that the areas along the river will be closed for cleaning.

The news comes after the opening of the new Nevada Cares Campus shelter, earlier this week. Officials say they will begin their efforts near the Lake Street Bridge and will work their way east toward McCarran Blvd.

New Innocence Center Reviewing Criminal Convictions In Nevada
By KUNR Staff

Criminal justice advocates have launched a new initiative aimed at reviewing major felony convictions in the Silver State. Accordingto the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the Innocence Center of Nevada officially launched this week and will examine inmate claims of innocence starting next month.

Center officials estimate as many as 550 people in Nevada prisons may be serving time for a crime they did not commit. Last year, the state was forced to pay nearly $3 million to a woman who spent almost 34 years in prison for a murder she didn't commit, before she was exonerated by DNA evidence.

Paul Boger is a former reporter at KUNR Public Radio.
Stephanie Serrano (she/her/ella) is an award-winning multimedia bilingual journalist based in Reno, Nevada. Her reporting is powered by character-driven stories and is rooted in sound-rich audio. Her storytelling works to share the experiences of unserved communities in regards to education, race, affordable housing and sports.
Jayden Perez is a former web producer and student reporter at KUNR Public Radio.
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