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Capital Focus

Appeal Capitol Bureau

In an attempt to meet the recession head-on, Nevada’s Commission on Tourism has launched an international and West Coast sales blitz to promote the state as a choice visitor destination.

Five Tourism Commission staffers are winding up a week-long sales campaign covering Canada, Mexico, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento. They were joined by domestic and international tour operators, airline representatives, travel agencies, coach and limousine companies among others.

“Nevada is bursting with new tourism products,” said Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki, who chairs the commission. “Exciting new attractions are opening, new hotels are being built, and new events are occurring.”

The NCOT sales team will distribute a brochure called “What’s New in Nevada,” that showcases new attractions in the state including hotels, dining, shopping, entertainment and events statewide. Among new listings are Encore Suites of Wynn Las Vegas, opening Dec. 22, and several properties under construction: The Fountainbleau Las Vegas, The Grand Hyatt Las Vegas at the Cosmopolitan Resort and Casino and MGM Mirage’s spectacular CityCenter urban metropolis.

Reno-Lake Tahoe listings include expansions and renovations at Reno’s Atlantis, Grand Sierra Resort and the Silver Legacy, new ski trails opening at Heavenly ski resort, the Reno Aces AAA minor league ballpark opening in April and the just-opened West Street Market attraction near the downtown Truckee River Whitewater Park.

Among rural Nevada facilities and events to be promoted are lodging and dining in Caliente, a new campground at Kershaw-Ryan State Park, the Winter Wings and Wildlife Festival in Laughlin March 13-15, Americana Concert at Piper’s Opera House in Virginia City May 2 and the Jarbidge Centennial Sept. 14-16.

“Nevada is open for business, and deals have never been better,” Krolicki said.

– Dec. 17, 9 a.m., Advisory Commission on the Administration of Justice, Legisalture Room 4100. Review of Truth in Sentencing study and proposed legislation for the 2009 Legislature.

– Dec. 17, 9:30 a.m., Public Utilities Commission, 1150 E. William St. Review of energy supply, demand-side management and integrated resource plans for 2009.

– Dec. 18, 10 a.m., Gaming Commission, College Parkway. Regular monthly meeting.

– Dec. 19, 9 a.m., State Personnel Commission, Western Nevada College. Regular meeting.

– Dec. 19, 9 a.m., State Board of Health, 4136 Technology Way. Regular meeting.

Aging and Disability Services

– Reduce Community-based Aging Waiver, eliminating 10.5 FTEs.

∞ Reduce the Aging Waiver Personal Care Attendant rate from $4.625 per quarter hour to $3.88 per quarter hour, saving $109,000 per year in General Fund money.

∞ Reduce Disability Personal Assistance Services by $522,000 each year, servicing 30 fewer clients.

∞ Reduce Traumatic Brain Injury Services by $89,000 each year, 9.3% less than the Fiscal Year 2008 level of expenditure.

∞ Reduce Independent Living Assistance by $95,000 each year, serving 15 fewer clients.

More than 200 proposed pieces of legislation have been pre-filed in advance of the 2009 Legislature.

Lorne Malkiewich, director of the Legislative Council Bureau, said that is far more than the 144 bills filed before the start of the 2007 session.

“This gives the committees a lot to do in the first month,” he said. “It gets us off to a quick start.”

Malkiewich said that list includes the agency bills and all proposals from local governments. He said he is hoping it will encourage legislators to pre-file their bills.

In addition, Malkiewich said there are about 180 fewer bills requested from LCB than there were two years ago.

He said about 900 bills have been requested this year compared to 1,080 two years ago.

As a result, he said, more than a quarter of the bills requested so far are available on the LCB Website for examination by the public.

“What it means is from this point forward, the Legal Division will be able to focus on your bills,” he told lawmakers on the commission.

Malkiewich said pre-filing “should really help with the flow of bills in session.”

Sen. John Ensign has named Tiffany Spell to his staff. Spell is a 2003 Carson High graduate who started as an intern in Ensign’s office in September.

She has been named to the permanent position of assistant scheduler.

She graduated from the University of Nevada Las Vegas with a degree in psychology and moved to Washington, D.C., for the internship program.

Ensign invited students interested in becoming interns to contact his office.

The Legislative Commission Tuesday named outgoing assemblyman John Marvel to the Ethics Commission.

Marvel, who has served in the Legislature since 1979, was defeated in the primary election this year.

Assemblyman Pete Goicoechea, R-Eureka, moved to name Marvel to the post. Sen. Warren Hardy, R-Las Vegas, told fellow lawmakers Marvel would be “an exceptional appointment.”

The appointment came after Sen. Terry Care, D-Las Vegas, suggested they leave the post vacant until the next meeting in June. He expressed concern about a recent ethics case against Hardy which is still unresolved. Lawmakers won a district court ruling that they aren’t under the jurisdiction of the Ethics Commission for their legislative votes.

“My personal opinion is this item ought to be tabled until we get resolution to this litigation,” he said.

But the other members of the commission agreed Marvel would be an excellent choice.

The commission agreed to hold off on naming two new members of the Advisory Council on Mortgage Investment and Lending. They did so after Assemblyman Marcus Conklin, D-Las Vegas, said he was at a loss because he knows nothing about any of the eight candidates. Commission Chairman Randolph Townsend, R-Reno, agreed and asked that members be given some biographical information on the qualifications of those potential appointees.

Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at gdornan@nevadaappeal.com or 687-8750.