KUNR Today: Nevada Bill Would Expand Automatic Voter Registration, Broadband Project Coming To Elko | KUNR

KUNR Today: Nevada Bill Would Expand Automatic Voter Registration, Broadband Project Coming To Elko

Apr 8, 2021

Here are your local news headlines for the morning of Thurs, Apr. 8, 2021.

Lawmakers Advance Bill That Curbs Relationship Between Law Enforcement, Immigration
By Paul Boger

Nevada lawmakers are moving forward with a bill that would curb cooperation between local police and federal immigration enforcement.

AB376 makes it clear that it’s not the job of local police to enforce civil federal immigration laws. It also bars law enforcement from detaining a person at the request of immigration authorities.

The measure was approved on a party line vote by the Committee on Government Affairs, and it now heads to the full Assembly. Democratic Assemblywoman Selena Torres of Las Vegas introduced the bill.

"I'm thinking of the undocumented immigrants and mixed-status families that do not report violent crimes because they are scared of the relationship between immigration and local law enforcement,” she said.

The measure also includes a provision that would urge the Lieutenant Governor’s Office to come up with ways to attract and retain immigrant-owned businesses and workers.

Several local law enforcement agencies expressed opposition to the bill as it's currently written. That includes The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office which says the measure would hurt their ability to partner with federal agencies.

Voting Right Advocates Voice Support For Measure To Expand Automatic Voter Registration
By Jayden Perez

Voting right advocates are voicing support for a measure that would expand automatic voter registration in Nevada.

Eligible residents are automatically registered to vote whenever they make a transaction at the DMV, unless they opt out.

AB432 would fold more state agencies into the process by allowing the Department of Health and Human Services to register people through Medicaid or the State Health Insurance Exchange.

Voting rights advocates such as Annette Magnus with Battle Born Progress said this measure ensures every Nevadan is getting the opportunity to register.

"I think that it’s important to note that not everybody goes to the DMV. You have elderly folks, you have people of color, people in poverty, who maybe don’t have access to the DMV, but will have access to these other agencies,” she said.

During a recent legislative hearing, county registrars voiced skepticism of the bill, saying it would be difficult and costly to implement.

Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Filed Against Blockchain CEO And His Wife
By KUNR Staff

A lawsuit filed by the former nanny of Blockchain’s CEO Jeffrey Berns accuses him and his wife of sexual harassment.

According to the Reno Gazette-Journal, the lawsuit alleges the work environment was degrading and sexually perverse. It also claims the couple sabotaged her next employment. She’s seeking $150,000 in damages.

Berns denies the allegations. He has recently come under scrutiny for his company’s push to form its own government inside the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center.

Washoe County Sees Uptick In COVID-19 Cases
By Lucia Starbuck

Washoe County is seeing an uptick in COVID-19 cases. The county’s test positivity rate has climbed from 5% at the end of March to 6.2% on Wednesday.

That rate has increased statewide as well. Now, 4.5% of all coronavirus tests in Nevada are coming back positive.

Statewide, health officials are reporting about 200 new daily cases with three additional deaths per day.

In Washoe County, 65 new cases of COVID-19 were reported Wednesday, well above the two-week rolling average.

The latest data show nearly 22% of Nevadans 16 and older are now fully vaccinated.

You can learn more about COVID-19 vaccinations in Nevada here, along with the state’s COVID-19 dashboard here, and Washoe County’s here.

Lucia Starbuck is a corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project.

El Dorado County Moves To Orange Tier
By Jayden Perez

El Dorado County is easing COVID-19 restrictions, moving from the Red Tier into the Orange Tier.

Restaurants can now operate at 50% capacity indoors. Retailers can open fully if they can ensure social distancing.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom recently announced the state is aiming to fully reopen by June 15, as long as current trends continue.

Currently, most counties in the eastern Sierra remain under the more restrictive Red Tier. Only Lassen County shows signs of minimal community spread of COVID-19.

The Tahoe Fund’s $1 For Tahoe Program Collects $1 Million
By Jayden Perez

A program that allows businesses collect donations to help protect Lake Tahoe has reached the $1 million mark.

Through the $1 For Tahoe program, local businesses collect money from patrons when they purchase meals, lift tickets or accommodations.

The money is used to support restoration programs around the lake and build trails.

Electronic Bikes Could Gain More Access To Tahoe Trails
By KUNR Staff

More e-bikes could start popping-up on trails around the Tahoe Basin under a new proposal from the U.S. Forest Service.

First reported by the Reno Gazette-Journal, motorized bikes would be allowed to ride on an additional 120 miles of trails around Tahoe. They’re currently only allowed access to about 25 miles of trails.

E-bikes will not be able to access Desolation Wilderness or the Tahoe Rim Trail.

Elko Area High-Speed Internet Project Begins
By KUNR Staff

An internet service provider is breaking ground on an expansion that will bring high-speed broadband to Elko and surrounding communities.

According to the Elko Daily Free Press, Anthem Broadband is slated to begin construction this month on the two-year expansion.

The Idaho-based company says some connections could begin this summer with speeds ranging from 250 megabits per second to 10 gigabits per second.

The project was paid for, in part, with about $30 million from Nevada Gold Mines.