Nevada briefs

Parole speedup sought for 1,000

(AP) - A legislative panel voted Wednesday for a regulation change to help speed up the release of some of the 1,000 Nevada prison inmates who are due for parole but are still behind bars.

The Legislative Commission voted for the rule change after state Parole Board Chairwoman Dorla Salling said 2007 law changes complicated the parole process and the panel has had to "play catch-up ever since."

The regulation frees inmates from having to attend Parole Board hearings in person when there's no dispute that they should be released.

Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley, D-Las Vegas, said she didn't like "the last-minute nature" of the rule change, and also wanted to make sure that the Parole Board didn't create any public-safety problems with the inmate releases.

Parole Board Executive Secretary David Smith said that only low-risk inmates would be covered by the new rule.

He also said that such convicts represent only about 10 percent of the total number of inmates due for parole, so the change solves only part of the backlog problem.

The laws approved in 2007 that have complicated Parole Board operations include SB471 which requires that inmates get reasonable notice of their hearings, and allows inmates to be present. Inmates also can have legal representation at the hearings.

Until that change occurred, the board hadn't visited prisons to hear inmates' applications for parole. Instead, the board made its decisions based on the prisoners' records.

Man charged after shooting self in leg

GARDNERVILLE (AP) - A 25-year-old Dayton man who accidentally shot himself in the leg with a handgun has been charged with possessing a firearm while intoxicated.

Anthony Melendrez told sheriff's deputies he was in his car unloading the .45-caliber pistol when it discharged near his residence in Gardnerville Ranchos on March 14. Authorities say he and another man had been drinking beer before the shooting.

Melendrez claimed he was not intoxicated, but deputies said his alcohol level was .128, well above the legal limit of .08 for driving in Nevada. He turned himself in last week.

A hearing is set for May 30.

Vegas board votes to raise water rates

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Southern Nevada water officials are raising water rates.

The Las Vegas Water District has approved a new rate structure that increases rates an average of 23 percent.

The higher rates will apply to water used this month, but will show up on bills beginning in May.

District officials say many residential water users can expect to pay about $2.50 more per month.

They say the increase is designed to affect high-volume users most and is an attempt to curb consumption during a drought.

Depending on how customers react, the rate increase is expected to generate about $65 million a year for the water district.


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