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KUNR Today: Masks Are Again Required Indoors, Federal Judge Upholds Ban On 'Ghost Guns'

An image of a 3-D printed handgun
Federal Bureau of Investigation

Here are your local news headlines for the morning of Wednesday, July 28, 2021.

Indoor Mask Mandates Return Under CDC’s Latest Recommendations
By Paul Boger

Nevadans living in communities with elevated rates of COVID-19 transmission must once again wear masks indoors, even if they're fully vaccinated.

The latest mask requirements follow the newest recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Tuesday. Eleven of Nevada's 17 counties are currently flagged for elevated levels of COVID transmission, including Washoe, Douglas, Churchill, Lyon, Mineral and Elko Counties, as well as Carson City.

The City of Reno has also announced mask requirements for all city-owned properties until further notice.

Some Western States Limit How Officials Can Respond To COVID-19
By Robyn Vincent, Mountain West News Bureau

Idaho, Montana and Utah are among the states that recently passed laws limiting local or executive authority during a public health crisis. Meanwhile, in Colorado, Gov. Jared Polis said in June he’s ready to dial back the executive powers he exercised at the height of the pandemic.

Jill Krueger said this legislation poses major threats to people’s health. She is with the Network for Public Health Law.

"In an emergency, the executive branch historically and traditionally, and for good reason, is charged with responding to emergencies because it can act quickly and has the subject matter expertise," she said.

The rise in COVID-19 cases comes amid persistently low vaccination rates in some Western states. Roughly 36% of people in Wyoming and Idaho have gotten both shots. The national average is about 50%.

Cortez Masto Introduces Measure To Increase Wildfire Support Across Western U.S.
By KUNR Staff

Nevada’s Democratic Senator Catherine Cortez Masto has introduced legislation meant to provide more federal assistance before, during and after wildfires.

The Western Wildfire Support Act would fund prevention efforts such as helping local governments purchase fire-fighting equipment and increasing defensible space. It would also help pay for fire recovery efforts and includes $100 million for long-term rehabilitation projects.

The bill's sponsor, Nevada Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, said wildfires pose an existential crisis for communities and small businesses across the West.

According to the National Interagency Fire Center, there are currently more than 80 large fires that have burned 1.5 million acres across 13 states, including Nevada.

Federal Judge Denies Bid To Block 'Ghost Gun' Ban In Nevada
By The Associated Press

A U.S. judge won't block a Nevada law banning the manufacture and possession of so-called ghost guns that don’t have serial numbers. U.S. District Judge Miranda Du in Reno issued a court order Monday refusing to prevent enforcement of the law signed in June by Gov. Steve Sisolak. The law goes into effect Jan. 1. The judge says she's not convinced the measure violates Second Amendment gun rights and a Fifth Amendment ban on government seizure of property. Plaintiffs, including the Firearms Policy Coalition, called the decision misguided and flawed and said they're weighing an appeal.

Interior Secretary Haaland Defends Budget Request To Lawmakers
By Nate Hegyi, Mountain West News Bureau

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland faced lawmakers on Capitol Hill Tuesday, as her agency is requesting a $18 billion budget for next year. Lawmakers asked Haaland about a range of issues, from endangered grizzly bears to her department’s review of oil and gas leasing.

The Interior Department is mulling a ban on new oil and gas leases on federal lands, as well as upping royalty rates. The review was supposed to be made public in early summer. Republicans voiced frustration that it was taking so long.

“None of us know what your answer is. I hope you can understand the frustration that so many of us have in anticipating this,” said Lisa Murkowski, senator from Alaska.

Haaland told senators that the review is in its final stages and should be released "very soon."

Haaland also told senators that she wanted a big boost in funding for her department next year. The money would go towards advancing renewable energy projects as well as a $117 million increase in the department’s wildland fire programs.

Golden Knights Trade Goaltender Fleury To Chicago
By KUNR Staff

The Las Vegas Golden Knights traded star goaltender Marc-André Fleury to the Chicago Blackhawks Tuesday. As reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the trade ends Fleury’s four-year stint as the face of the franchise.

The three-time Stanley Cup champion was a respected leader in the locker room and helped the expansion club reach the Stanley Cup Final in its first season. He also was awarded with the Vezina Trophy last season, given to the league's best goaltender.

The Athletic's Jesse Granger reported that Fleury learned of the trade via Twitter. The Golden Knights will receive a minor-league forward in return.

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