Juvenile facility proposed for Ely

A bill calling for construction of a regional juvenile facility in eastern Nevada has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee for study.

SB372 was requested by lawmakers representing eastern Nevada. It would appropriate $2.2 million to pay for construction of the juvenile detention center to serve White Pine, Eureka and Lincoln counties.

Off-road vehicles would require licensing under proposed Senate bill

A bill was introduced Tuesday in the Senate that would require all off-road vehicles in the state to be licensed and set up rules for their operation.

The vehicles on the list include all-terrain vehicles, dune buggies, snowmobiles and other small vehicles which currently don't require licensing and registration.

SB400 would require owners of those vehicles to apply for a "certificate of operation" good for two years. The fee for a certificate in most cases would be $12.50. But the legislation would hit owners for another $12.50 to create a Fund for Off-Road Vehicles - a total of $25 for a two year license to operate off-road.

The fee for vehicles "used solely for husbandry" and those licensed by dealers for demonstration purposes would only be $5 total.

The fund would be administered by a committee of seven appointed by the governor representing different user groups including ATV operators, motorcyclists and snowmobilers.

That committee would make grants from the money collected from certificates of operation to enhance and maintain trails as well as law enforcement, safety training and off-road vehicle education programs.

The bill would also limit the use of off-road vehicles in this class on regular highways and roads. And it would require that operators under age 16 be within direct visual supervision of some one at least 18 years of age.

The bill was referred to the Transportation and Homeland Security Committee for study.

Bills strengthening open meeting requirements introduced

Two bills to strengthen the Nevada open meeting law were introduced in the Senate Tuesday.

SB416 requires the Nevada Attorney General's office to maintain and publicly post a list of public bodies and individuals found in violation of the open meeting law - including a description of the violations. It also gives the court which hears the violation lawsuit the ability to require violators pay reasonable attorney's fees and court costs to the Attorney General if found in violation. If the violation is the second within two years, SB416 says the court "shall order payment" of fees and costs in the case.

SB421 requires all public bodies subject to the open meeting law to make audio recordings of their meetings. There have been a number of cases where members of the public, press and the Attorney General's Office won the right to find out what happened during a closed meeting but were unable to do so because no tape record was made of the meeting. All public bodies would be required to make and keep recordings if SB421 is approved. Both bills were referred to the Senate Government Affairs Committee for study.

Finance receives biennial Tahoe environmental bonding bill

The Senate Finance Committee has received the latest in a series of bond bills designed to carry out environmental improvement programs in the Lake Tahoe basin.

The arrangement began in 1997 when Nevada signed an agreement with the federal government, California, Washoe Tribe, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and local governments to support nearly $1 billion in total improvements and projects in the basin.

Nevada's share of the total was set at $82 million over a 10 years period. General obligation bonds totaling $28.8 million provided between 1997 and 2001. Another $16.2 million was authorized in 2001-2003 and nearly $9.9 million more over the past two years.

SB441 authorizes the remaining $16.8 million in bonds. Most of the money - $14 million - will be used for water quality, erosion control and stream restoration/enhancement projects. The shorezone/stream restoration project will get $1.5 million and forest restoration $650,000.

Contingency money for the projects on the list was set at $650,000.


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