These are your morning news headlines for Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021.
Could Funding Cuts Be Restored?
By Paul Boger
Ahead of tonight's State of the State Address, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak released a state budget that would reverse many of the cuts made by lawmakers last summer.
The proposal calls for $8.6 billion in general fund spending over the next biennium — the two year period spanning fiscal years 2022-23. That’s roughly $187 million — or two percent — less than what state lawmakers appropriated in 2019 for the current biennium.
While the budget reflects the grim reality of the pandemic’s economic fallout, Sisolak’s Chief of Staff Michelle White told reporters during a press call Monday that current revenue projections are more optimistic than originally predicted.
"The only thing we know for certain, right now, is that we are in an incredibly uncertain time," White said. "The pattern we've been experiencing in the last year has been a fiscal roller coaster, and the governor knew he had to be as responsible as possible while building this budget."
Among other proposals, Sisolak’s budget looks to restore cuts to the state’s Medicaid reimbursement rate. It also calls on lawmakers to implement the state’s new education funding plan in a phased in approach.
Sisolak is also expected to announce some COVID-related relief programs for businesses during his second State of the State address tonight.
Washoe County Health District Expecting New Vaccine Shipment Tuesday
By Michelle Billman
The Washoe County Health District administered roughly 770 COVID-19 vaccines to educators, childcare personnel and medical professionals Monday. At this point, the health district has administered more than 10,000 vaccines in total. The Regional Information Center reports that a new shipment of vaccines is expected today.
There are still some appointments available this week for seniors who are 70 years or older. You can find more information here.
The district reported more than 70 new cases Monday and the death toll remains at 567 in Washoe County.
Statewide, the test positivity rate remains high at roughly 21%. Nevada has had an average of 20 new deaths per day and more than 1,780 new daily cases over the last two weeks.
Elko County reported another death over the weekend, a resident in his 20s. That brings the total death count countywide to 41. There are more than 230 known active cases across the county.
California Becomes First State To Top 3 Million Virus Cases
By The Associated Press
California has become the first state to record more than 3 million known coronavirus infections. That's according to a tally Monday by Johns Hopkins University. The grim milestone wasn't entirely unexpected in a state with 40 million residents but its speed was stunning. The state only reached 2 million reported cases on Dec. 24. Its count far outpaces other large states, such as Texas.
California also has seen more than 33,600 deaths due to COVID-19. A caseload surge that began last fall has strained hospitals. Officials warn that a recent slight downward trend could reverse when the full impact of holiday gathering transmissions is felt.
Mountain West Law Enforcement Targets Right-Wing Protesters Less
By Robyn Vincent, Mountain West News Bureau
New data show police are less likely to target right-wing demonstrators. That’s according to the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project. Roudabeh Kishi is with the nonprofit and says Mountain West numbers reflect national trends despite far-right militia activity in our region.
"I think we've seen a lot of mobilization and activity, like Coeur D'alene or activity involving Bundy Ranch or people's rights in Idaho or the New Mexico Civil Guard and Oregon Proud Boys activity, in Nevada, especially in the lead up to the election. And despite this kind of active environment, we're still seeing this disparity in response to demonstrations," Kishi said.
Police in the Mountain West intervened in nearly 7% of left-wing protests versus 3% of right-wing demonstrations since last April.
Caesars Plans $47 Million Renovation Of Reno's Silver Legacy
By The Associated Press
Caesars Entertainment plans a $47 million renovation at the 25-year-old Silver Legacy Resort Casino in downtown Reno. The Reno Gazette Journal reports the renovation is expected to be completed by June. It involves the redesign of nearly 1,200 rooms from the fifth through 25th floors. Improvements to the rooms will include retiling bathrooms and replacing carpets and flooring. The renovation also involves installation of new artwork and updated lounge seating with flat-screen, high definition televisions.
The Silver Legacy came under the Caesars Entertainment umbrella after the company was acquired by Eldorado Resorts in a $17.3 billion merger last summer that makes it the largest U.S. casino company.