KUNR Today: Kid vaccine events in Washoe Co., Proposed ballot question could change Nev. elections
Read or listen to the morning news headlines for Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021.
Four upcoming pediatric vaccine events planned in south Reno
By Michelle Billman
The Washoe County Health District and Renown Health are partnering to host four upcoming COVID-19 vaccine events for children in December. The events are for kids ages 5-11 who will receive the Pfizer vaccine.
First shots will be administered on the first two Wednesdays of the month, Dec. 1 and Dec. 8. Second shots will be administered on the last two Wednesdays of the month, Dec. 22 and 29. All events will be held inside the Hometown Health building at 10315 Professional Circle in south Reno.
According to the health district, the dosage for children ages 5-11 is one-third the size of the standard Pfizer vaccine, and it has been found to be more than 90% effective in preventing the virus within that age group.
Proposed ballot question would create open primaries, ranked-choice voting
By Riley Snyder, The Nevada Independent
A proposed ballot initiative could transform Nevada’s election system. In a press statement, prominent Las Vegas attorney Todd Bice said the measure will be backed by a nonprofit called the Institute for Political Innovation.
The initiative would amend the state Constitution to require that most high-profile partisan elections move to open primaries, with a ranked-choice voting system for the general election. Those races would include U.S. Senate and House seats, statewide office elections, as well as legislative races, though presidential races would not be included.
The top five vote-getters would advance to the general election; however, if a candidate wins an outright majority of votes, which would be more than 50%, they would be elected to the office. Qualifying the measure for the ballot will be difficult as backers must turn in nearly 141,000 valid signatures from registered voters.
Henderson Mayor Debra March to run for lieutenant governor
By The Associated Press
Henderson Mayor Debra March plans to run for lieutenant governor in Nevada in next year’s election. March, a Democrat, has served as Henderson’s mayor since 2017.
She said last week that her platform would focus on economic development and diversification and draw from experience attracting jobs to Henderson, which is Nevada’s second largest city.
Since Kate Marshall resigned as lieutenant governor in August to become an advisor in the White House, Gov. Steve Sisolak has not appointed a replacement. Democrat Kimi Cole and Republicans Dan Schwartz, Stavros Anthony and Mack Miller have also announced plans to run.
Federal government looking to increase rate on oil and gas drilling
By Nate Hegyi, Mountain West News Bureau
A new report from the Biden Administration recommends raising the costs of oil and gas drilling on federal lands. When companies drill on federal public lands they pay a tax, called a royalty rate. For the past century it’s stayed the same, 12.5% on the value of the oil or gas extracted. That’s much lower than the rate to drill on lands owned by some states or private parties. Colorado for instance charges 20%.
The federal government wants to increase those royalty rates and increase fees to lease public lands. The goal is to get more money for taxpayers and to discourage speculation.
Russel Kuhlman is executive director of the nonprofit Nevada Wildlife Federation. He said those cheap leases make it tougher for the Bureau of Land Management to pursue other management goals.
“The BLM won’t go in there and do any type of improvement or reclamation to make it better for wildlife, because it is leased for oil and gas,” Kuhlman said.
He supports the Interior Department’s recommendations to increase leasing fees and royalty rates, but the industry group called the American Petroleum Institute doesn’t. It says it’s a misguided move during a time of inflation and rising gas prices.
Oddie Wells improvement project gets underway
By Michelle Billman
Washoe County’s Regional Transportation Commission, or RTC, has started construction on a multi-year improvement project for the Oddie Wells area of Reno and Sparks. The project aims to increase safety along the corridor, which is roughly three miles long and heavily traveled.
Updates include accessibility improvements and pedestrian ramps. There will also be new lighting and landscaping. A raised cycle track is planned from Pyramid Way in Sparks to Sutro Street in Reno. There will also be a multi-use pathway added on one side of Wells Avenue from Sutro Street to Interstate 80.
The project is expected to wrap up by the fall of 2024 and the total cost is approximately $51 million. The funding is coming from local fuel tax revenue.