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KUNR Today: Lawmakers Advance Education Funding Overhaul, TMWA Planning Water Conservation Measures

An image of proposed bills in the Nevada Legislature.
David Calvert
The Nevada Independent
A Senate Sergeant-At-Arms places copies of proposed legislation in the cubbies outside the chamber inside the Legislature on Monday, March 15, 2021 in Carson City, Nev.

Here are your morning news headlines for Monday, May 24, 2021.

'Ghost Gun' Ban, New Education Funding Plan Move Past Legislative Deadline
By Paul Boger

Nevada lawmakers advanced a major education funding overhaul, a ban on so-called ghost guns and a measure lowering barriers to birth control.

With the constitutionally-mandated end of the 81st Legislative Session around the corner, lawmakers approved a bevy of measures ahead of last week’s deadline to move bills through their second house.

AB286 was among those measures. It’s a ban on firearms that can be assembled at home from a kit. So-called ghost guns lack identifiable serial numbers, and supporters of the ban say the guns are increasingly linked to violent crimes.

A measure making it easier to access birth control also squeaked past the deadline on a nearly party-line vote. SB190 allows women to purchase birth control through a pharmacy without a doctor’s visit.

Lawmakers also approved an amended version of the new Pupil-Centered Funding Plan. The measure appropriates funds to schools based on an individual student’s needs instead of enrollment. Supporters say the measure directs money where it’s most needed. Critics argue the plan freezes funding for rural schools.

Lombardo Building Out Campaign For Likely Run For Governor
By The Associated Press

Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo has begun building out a campaign for what appears to be a likely run for governor next year. A person familiar with Lombardo’s thinking who was not authorized to speak publicly said that Lombardo is leaning toward running, has hired political consultants and will make an announcement in the next month or so. Former Lt. Gov. Mark Hutchison confirmed he will be serving as chairman of Lombardo’s campaign. Lombardo has previously said he's considering a run but did not respond to messages Friday. Republican John Lee has already jumped into the race to challenge incumbent Democrat Steve Sisolak.

TMWA Plans To Implement Water Conservation Efforts
By Paul Boger

The Truckee Meadows Water Authority will, once again, institute water conservation measures this summer. According to water regulators, Northwestern Nevada is facing a level 2 drought after two consecutive dry winters.

Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, home owners will only be allowed to water lawns on alternating days. No watering will be allowed on Mondays.

TMWA expects water flow to drop noticeably come the third week of August.

Lawmakers Want More - And Bigger - Prescribed Burns
By Maggie Mullen, Mountain West News Bureau

The National Prescribed Fire Act of 2021 aims to ramp up the number and the scale of controlled burns. The idea is to reduce hazardous fuels so that when fires do ignite, they’re not so hot and intense. It would also create a workforce development program to train and hire forestry workers for restoration and fire prevention.

Mary Mitsos is with the National Forest Foundation and spoke at the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing.

"We definitely need more people. The number of people who work in forestry, in particular, and natural resources in general has been dwindling, and without the assistance of building up a new workforce, we're going to struggle," Mitsos said.

The bill would put about $310 million toward prescribed burns on both public and private lands.

UNLV, UNR, TMCC Drop Mandatory Masks For Fully Vaccinated
By The Associated Press

Officials at UNLV and the University of Nevada, Reno say those who are fully vaccinated no longer are required to wear masks on their campuses. The move comes after the Nevada System of Higher Education announced Thursday masks will be optional beginning July 1 for anyone who is fully vaccinated at the eight schools in the system. Truckee Meadows Community College is among others that have dropped the mask requirement for those fully vaccinated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced this month that people who have been fully vaccinated no longer need to wear a face mask in most indoor and outdoor settings.

California To Drop Social Distancing Requirements In June
By The Associated Press

California’s top health official says the state no longer will require social distancing and will allow full capacity for businesses when the state reopens on June 15. State health director Dr. Mark Ghaly said Friday that dramatically lower virus cases and increasing vaccinations mean it's safe for the state to remove nearly all restrictions next month. California was the first state to issue a statewide shutdown as the virus emerged in March 2020, and it was the nation's epicenter at the start of 2021. More than 61,000 people have died from the virus in the state of nearly 40 million, the most in any state in the country.

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.
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