AG provides office snapshot
Attorney General Adam Laxalt’s “AG for a Day” tour stopped in Fallon on Tuesday to paint the latest picture of what he and his team are doing from the AG’s office.
The Fallon Rotary Club luncheon was open to the public at Stockman’s Steakhouse and included presenters from various divisions within the office.
About 40 people in attendance heard information on topics ranging from the state’s shrinking rape kit backlog to free legal services for active duty service members and veterans.
“We do a million things for the state,” said Laxalt, also a former Navy lieutenant. “It’s really important for us to get out in the communities and share what we do.”
Patty Cafferata, special assistant attorney general for law enforcement, counties and municipalities, kicked off the meeting with an overview of some of the things she and the office does. The former communications director and state treasurer touched on law enforcement summits, cyber security and an initiative coordinating heath care situations with law enforcement officials.
Cafferata explained for example that if 40 people who have overdosed on a drug show up at a hospital, that situation can better be communicated and handled with the correct officials.
Greg Zunino, office bureau chief, shared how when he went to work for Laxalt he had “the opportunity to promote a philosophy in good government.”
Zunino touched on how their office can advise large agencies as well as provide city and county entities or communities with support by offering opinions.
Joseph Tartakovsky, office deputy solicitor general, delved into land in the “Lower 48” states, discussing federal property managed by the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service as well as noting how Fallon is in the middle of this essentially “federal mega-state” with local topics ranging from water to the sage-grouse.
Tartakovsky said it’s good to have an AG like Laxalt and their office stays vigilant to monitor situations, alert residents and sometimes litigate.
“I love Fallon,” said Ronda Clifton, longtime office prosecutor. “I think it’s beautiful. The people are always so nice.”
Clifton talked about how the financial fraud they deal with might seem boring but “it’s very important we prosecute these cases,” she said.
The senior deputy attorney general also gave examples of mortgage and insurance fraud as well as talked about resources for intimate relationship cases such as stalking.
“If anything breaks in the state, we’re involved,” Laxalt said.
The AG also discussed the 2,000 active service members and veterans in the last year and a half who have had a Nevada-barred attorney represent them because of an AG office program. He explained how hundreds of lawyers statewide are volunteering 10 hours per year. Twenty pro bono case hours per year is required in Nevada; Laxalt noted this “huge bank of lawyers” created is willing to donate half of that time to this cause.
Laxalt also spoke to the backlog of 6,000 rape kits the state had which he had pledged to decrease if not eliminate — he said it was more like 8,000 when the office inquired into it.
Cafferata mentioned Nevada is unique since many sexual assaults involve out-of-state subjects with people visiting Las Vegas or elsewhere. She also said having these kits tested provides a DNA link that greatly aids prevention and prosecution.
Laxalt said with statewide committee grants and settlement funding, they received $5.7 million to test all kits.
“That’s been a great success,” he said, adding they didn’t stop there and are planning ways to not have a backlog return and require mandatory testing. “So stay tuned for that.”
Laxalt also highlighted a 10-person task force was approved for addressing elder exploitation and guardianship abuse.
“Hopefully this gives you a snapshot of all we do,” he said in conclusion.
Following the presentations, the AG and his staff were available to chat with and answer questions.
The idea of bringing the office to different locations originated in November 1968 when Nevada Gov. Paul Laxalt, Adam Laxalt’s grandfather, created his “Capital for a Day” tour. With members of his cabinet, Gov. Laxalt traveled the state to identify issues and form responsive solutions for the state.
In keeping with this tradition, Laxalt launched his first “AG for a Day” tour last year and met with residents in 16 counties and cities.
The 2017 tour has stops about once or twice a month in different locations and commenced June 8 in Ely.
The tour will continue throughout Northern Nevada, concluding in the south.
For more information, visit http://www.ag.nv.gov.