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KUNR Today: New law takes aim at gender pay gap in Nevada, Camping on public lands surging

An image of Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro.
David Calvert
The Nevada Independent
Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro inside the Legislature on Tuesday, March 9, 2021 in Carson City, Nev. Cannizzaro sponsored a law that aims to close the gender wage gap.

Here are the local news headlines for the morning of Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021.

New Nevada law aims to bridge gender wage gap
By Bert Johnson

Women in Nevada earn less than 80% of what their male counterparts take home. That’s lower than the national average, but change could be coming soon.

The gender wage gap in the U.S. has remained stuck at about 82% for the last decade, but Sarah Purdy, a lecturer in the Department of Gender, Race and Identity at the University of Nevada, Reno, said it doesn’t have to be this way.

“The states that do best, [that] have the smallest gaps, have the strongest legislation, so there's definitely a correlation,” Purdy said.

A new Nevada law that took effect earlier this month aims to change that. Lawmakers voted to ban employers from asking for a job applicant’s wage history during the last legislative session. The law was sponsored by state Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro, a Democrat. She said it was explicitly designed to help reduce the gender wage gap.

Ammon Bundy: Report on far-right group undercounted members
By The Associated Press

The founder of a far-right anti-government group says a report estimating the organization’s fast growth over the past year undercounted by half. Ammon Bundy took issue with the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights report, saying the group People’s Rights is actually much larger and more of a network than an organization. The report, released last week, found that the organization has grown by roughly 53% in the past year to more than 33,000 members, rapidly expanding nationwide and making inroads into Canada. Bundy says the report is inaccurate and that People’s Rights now has more than 62,000 members. The organization has been largely focused on fighting public health restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic.

Public land camping surging in popularity
By Nate Hegyi, Mountain West News Bureau

Camping on public lands in the West has skyrocketed over the past six years. That’s according to a new report from the conservation nonprofit Center for Western Priorities.

During peak season last year, 57% of all reservable campsites on federal lands in the West were occupied. That’s an almost 20 percentage point increase from 2014. The pandemic drove high turnouts last year, but those numbers were climbing even before that.

Tyler McIntosh is lead author of the report. He said the data suggests Americans are gaining a greater appreciation of the outdoors, but at the same time, more people camping on public lands can come with some downsides.

“There can certainly be negative impacts on the landscape, whether that’s in terms of trash or the way they are having a footprint,” McIntosh said.

Montana, Idaho and Colorado were among the most popular states in the nation for campers in 2020, but Utah and Wyoming saw some of the biggest gains in campsite occupancy since 2014. In Nevada, occupancy at reservable camping sites during the summer season climbed from 35% in 2014 to 44% in 2020.

Washoe School Board Trustees punt on censure decision for Trustee Jeff Church
By KUNR Staff

The Washoe County School Board ended Monday night's special meeting without a decision on whether or not to censure Trustee Jeff Church. KOLO reports that trustees voted 4-2 to continue the talks at a future meeting.

Church is being accused of violating several board policies, including encouraging lawsuits against the school board and promoting misinformation. Church said Monday that other trustees have also disagreed with the board but haven't been censured.

Study: Humans impacted atmosphere centuries before industrialization
By Noah Glick

Human activity has led to several changes in the Earth’s climate, primarily through emissions from fossil fuels, but a new study shows that humans were actually altering the planet’s atmosphere hundreds of years earlier.

In the year 1300, humans made their way to the island nation of New Zealand and began burning large swaths of land, sending black carbon - or soot - soaring into the atmosphere. Scientists have now found evidence of that black carbon in Antarctic ice cores.

That’s according to a study published this month in the journal Nature. Joe McConnell is a research professor with the Desert Research Institute and lead author of the study.

"There were no humans prior to that. Then humans arrived bringing fire, and so they introduced fire to a landscape that didn’t have fire naturally before that," McConnell said.

McConnell added that these kinds of historical studies are key in helping scientists create more predictive and accurate climate models.

Noah Glick is a former content director and host at KUNR Public Radio.
Bert is KUNR’s senior correspondent. He covers stories that resonate across Nevada and the region, with a focus on environment, political extremism and Indigenous communities.
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