The Nevada Senate Monday approved legislation providing $10.8 million to White Pine County to build a new courthouse.
SB183 was originally requested by Gov. Kenny Guinn after the District Judges Association made the project its top priority for this legislative session. District Judge Dan Papez testified there is almost no security for witnesses, jurors and even the officers of the court in the old courthouse.
He said it wasn't really an issue before the opening of Ely State Prison, where Nevada keeps its most dangerous inmates. Since then, he testified there have been numerous trials involving violations by those inmates. He said the situation is a disaster waiting to happen.
Sen. Dean Rhoads, R-Tuscarora, amplified those comments saying inmates, judges and witnesses must pass each other in the hallways and even use the same restrooms.
"The prisoner, where he sits, can reach out and touch a juror," said Rhoads.
He said White Pine is near it's property tax cap and unable to bond for the money to build a courthouse itself.
The vote was 20-0 with Sen. Steve Horsford, D-North Las Vegas, absent.
SB183 goes to the Assembly for consideration.