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KUNR Today: Nevada Gov. Signs Police Reform Bills Into Law, Lawmakers Advance Election Reform Bill

An image of Assembly Majority Leader Teresa Benitez-Thompson alongside Assembly Leader Jason Frierson
David Calvert
The Nevada Independent
Assembly Majority Floor Leader Teresa Benitez-Thompson and Speaker Jason Frierson on the first day of the 81st session of the Nevada Legislature in Carson City on Monday, Feb. 1, 2021. The Assembly passed an election reform bill Tuesday.

Here are your local morning news headlines for Wednesday, May 26, 2021.

Governor Sisolak Signs Criminal Justice Bills
By Paul Boger

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak has signed a pair of police reform bills aimed at improving transparency and public trust.

AB58 gives the attorney general the authority to investigate whether state officials and police have violated another’s rights and privileges. That authority was formerly under the purview of the federal Department of Justice.

SB50 severely limits law enforcement’s ability to perform no-knock warrants, except for in the most dire circumstances.

The measures were signed on the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s death, an unarmed Black man who was killed by Minneapolis police.

Democratic Attorney General Aaron Ford said the new laws are a sign of progress but more work is needed.

Reno, Sparks To Return To In-Person Public Meetings
By Paul Boger

Reno and Sparks will resume in-person public meetings next month. Both city governments have held virtual meetings since March 2020 due to the pandemic.

The Reno City Council’s first in-person meeting will take place Wednesday, June 2. The Sparks City Council will meet June 14.

Nevada Lawmakers Advance Election Reforms
By Paul Boger

Nevada lawmakers are advancing a major election reform bill with just days left in the legislative session.

Assembly Bill 321 would make a number of election reforms approved during last summer’s special sessions permanent. That includes making voting by mail the standard, among other changes.

The measure was introduced early in the session, but languished in the Assembly Ways and Means Committee for weeks before it received a hearing and vote on Tuesday.

Democratic leaders say the measure will continue to guarantee all eligible voters access to the polls. Republicans have all but condemned the bill, arguing the changes led to increased voter fraud in last year’s election. Those claims are baseless, as there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 general election.

The measure now heads to the Assembly floor before it goes to the Senate. Governor Steve Sisolak is expected to sign the measure into law.

Russian To Be Deported After Failed Tesla Ransomware Plot
By The Associated Press

A Russian man was sentenced to what amounted to time already served and will be deported for trying to pay a Tesla employee $500,000 to install computer malware in a bid to steal company secrets for ransom. Egor Kriuchkov apologized to a federal judge on Monday in Reno, Nevada. The judge acknowledged the attempted hack wasn't successful and the company network wasn't compromised. The 27-year-old Kriuchkov has been in custody since his arrest last August in Los Angeles, and will remain in custody until he leaves the country. Tesla CEO Elon Musk previously acknowledged that his company was the target of the scheme.

Researcher Examines How Federal Funds Could Support Regional Wildfire Plans
By Madelyn Beck, Mountain West News Bureau

The Biden Administration is doubling federal emergency funds to help communities prepare for natural disasters, and new research suggests part of that $1 billion should go to re-working local wildfire plans.

Communities across the West typically have wildfire plans that include how to evacuate, where to send people, and what to do, but those plans may need an update, and that may take resources.

“We need to step up and start planning for worse scenarios than we’ve planned for in the past,” said Tom Cova, a professor at the University of Utah.

He said wildfires are getting bigger and faster, and they are often igniting closer than locals planned for, so he said these more extreme fires could require more extreme planning, including the fact that some residents may not have time to evacuate.

“Do we have any safety zones or water bodies, or are residents willing to build their own fire shelters? This is what they do in countries like Australia; they build fire bunkers.”

Cova said it might seem like science fiction, but we could even plan to have fire suits in garages or use large parking lots as a haven from the flames; however, all of that would cost money and a whole lot more planning.

Reno-Area Pride Parade Returns
By Paul Boger

The Northern Nevada Pride Festival and CommUNITY Parade are returning to Reno after a year hiatus. Organizers for the LGBTQ+ Pride event say the parade will take place at 10 a.m. on Saturday July 24th with festivities to follow in Wingfield Park. Last year's event shifted online in order to cut down on public gatherings amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Oakland A’s Meet With Clark County Officials
By KUNR Staff

Representatives from the Oakland Athletics met with Clark County officials Tuesday to discuss the team’s possible relocation.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports the baseball club has eyed Southern Nevada as a possible new home since the Oakland Raiders moved there last year. A’s officials are also expected to meet with representatives from the cities of Henderson and Las Vegas.

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