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KUNR Today: Washoe Commission opposes controversial election reforms, Nevada minimum wage increasing

A close-up of an individual using a voting machine.
Jacob Solis
/
KUNR Public Radio

Read or listen to the morning news headlines for Wednesday, March 23, 2022.

Washoe County Commission opposes controversial election reforms
By Gustavo Sagrero

Washoe County commissioners voted 4-to-1 Tuesday to oppose Commissioner Jeanne Herman’s proposed election reforms. The vote came after many hours of public comment. If the controversial reforms had been approved, they would have made a number of changes to how elections are held in the county. The recommendations included using paper ballots, counting ballots by hand, and placing sheriff’s deputies at polling stations.

County officials also read a statement from Sheriff Darin Balaam, who said law enforcement wouldn’t be able to help because of the agency’s staffing shortage. Other provisions were found to go above and beyond the powers of the county commission, as detailed in a legal breakdown of the proposal.

Republicans in Mountain West are trying to change voting procedures
By Bert Johnson, Mountain West News Bureau

Republicans around the region are moving to tighten voting procedures. A local resolution in Northern Nevada to change elections died this week, but the hearing showed the intense emotions around the issue.

When Washoe County commissioners met Tuesday, they were scheduled to hear from more than 100 residents about a proposal to change how elections are held. The measure would have required hand-counted paper ballots and send law enforcement officers or National Guard troops to the polls.

There’s no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election, but resident Debbie Tayler says she doesn’t trust mainstream news and was there to support the measure.

“It’s so difficult even to try and find the truth anymore,” Tayler said.

Lucille Adin said the changes would be unfair to seniors.

“It’s a whole conversation about what they don’t want people to have, and I think it would interfere with the people’s rights,” Adin said.

Lawmakers in Republican-led Arizona, Utah and Idaho are seeking changes at the state level, but Nevada’s Democratic majority in the legislature is prompting local action.

Nevada governor seeks no prosecution in restaurant encounter
By The Associated Press

Nevada’s governor says he doesn’t want two men prosecuted for accosting him and his family at a Las Vegas restaurant last month. In a statement on Monday, Gov. Steve Sisolak said he was outraged but doesn’t want to, in his words, fuel or glorify anger and violence. The Democrat now campaigning for a second term also says he won’t speak about the incident again.

Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson says he’ll honor Sisolak’s request not to prosecute. The Feb. 28 incident involved the Sisolaks and Justin Andersch, a self-described “digital creator” who promotes far-right anti-government conspiracy theories.

Nevada’s minimum wage to increase in July 
By Kaleb Roedel

The minimum wage in Nevada will be increasing in just a few months. A state law passed in 2019 boosts the hourly minimum wage by 75 cents every year through 2024.

As a result, this summer, the minimum wage will increase to $9.50 an hour for employees receiving health benefits, according to the Office of the Labor Commissioner. For those not offered benefits, the wage will be $10.50 per hour. Daily overtime rates will also increase for employees entitled to overtime pay.

California governor signs law making abortions cheaper
By The Associated Press

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed a new law to make abortions cheaper for people on private insurance plans. The law Newsom signed Tuesday eliminates things like co-pays and deductibles for abortions. It’s the first of more than a dozen bills Democrats plan to pass this year expanding and protecting access to abortion.

California and other Democratic-led states are preparing for a potential U.S. Supreme Court ruling this summer that could overturn Roe v. Wade. A new law in Washington protects people from civil lawsuits while lawmakers in Oregon included $15 million in their budget to help people get abortions.

Authorities renew efforts to find missing Fernley woman
By The Associated Press

Authorities in northern Nevada are holding a news conference to renew efforts to find an 18-year-old woman last seen outside a Walmart, where a man with a mask and hoodie got into her car. Lyon County Sheriff’s Office deputies on Tuesday said they continue to search for Naomi Irion of Fernley, who has been missing for over a week.

Store surveillance video showed a man approach the driver’s side of Irion’s car before dawn March 12. The video appeared to show that he said or did something to make her move over before he got in and drove away.

U.S. Forest Services urges caution in area burned by Tamarack Fire
By Kaleb Roedel

The U.S. Forest Service is urging visitors to use caution when recreating in the area burned by the 2021 Tamarack Fire near Markleeville, California. The agency says hikers and campers should stay out of closed campgrounds and follow warning signs. Safety hazards include damaged trees that could fall over without warning or burned stumps that may create large holes in the ground.

The Tamarack Fire burned more than 68,000 acres over a span of three months. It caused evacuations and structure damage in Nevada and California.

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