Author: Dave Maxwell

Water bill the cause of much debate

Mark Twain once said, “Whiskey is for drinking, water is for fighting.” And the debate goes on even today in the halls of the state legislative session in Carson City. One in particular is Senate bill 81 which revises provisions relating to the management and appropriation of water. State Senator Pete Goicoechea, chairman of the Senate Government Affairs Committee, noted in his weekly telephone conference call that SB 81, “is intended to work as a groundwater management plan for water that comes from the ground up.” He said legislators have been very careful not to get any kind of a duty in there. When first introduced the bill allowed the state water engineer to be able to impose a duty on half-an-area water foot. “The state engineer (Jason King) and I differ on several points and places in water law. Can there be a duty placed on domestic wells? He says yes, and I say no. It can only be imposed on two-acre feet.” Goicoechea said there will not be any more legislation on vested water issues in this session of the legislature, but said “existing law is what it is today, and I guess at some point it will probably have to be decided in the courts just how much existing authority the state water engineer has.” Lincoln County Water District Manager Wade Poulsen said SB 81 is...

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Assembly amends public lands bill

A newly rewritten and amended legislative bill, seeking to challenge federal control of public lands in Nevada has received predictable reviews in Carson City. When first introduced by Michelle Fiore, R-Las Vegas, AB 408 was deemed unconstitutional by the Legislative Counsel Bureau. Senator Pete Goicoechea, and Assemblymen John Ellison and James Oscarson agreed with many other members of the legislature that, “it was a great idea, but a badly written bill,” and none of them thought the bill would really go anywhere in this legislative session. However, sponsors of the bill apparently worked very hard in committee and managed to craft a rewritten, more presentable bill by the April 10 deadline. Fiore and others on the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources, Agriculture and Mining, made a number of amendments. An article in the Review-Journal said the bill now “declares that sheriffs and their deputies are the primary law enforcement officers in the unincorporated areas of their respective counties. It would allow county sheriff’s to enter into agreements with federal agencies to exercise law enforcement authority on land managed by the federal agency.” Ellison said in committee it was a partisan vote, Republicans in favor, Democrats opposed. “But it was almost like a total different bill,” he said. Goicoechea said, “It is more focused on county law enforcement than a public land issue. It redefines the county law enforcement capabilities...

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Ranch transforms teens and helps restore families

KW Legacy Ranch in Hiko is a place for troubled youth and a drug rehab treatment facility which promotes itself as being a family focused adolescent program that utilizes a real working cattle ranch as the therapeutic approach to changing lives and playing a small part in helping transform the family’s legacy. Teens from ages 12 -18 come to Legacy Ranch, as co-founder/executive director Luke Hatch says, “not at the order of the court, but referrals given by outside professional family therapists working with either the family groups or individuals. Many are advised that the child may need more...

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Goicoechea calls public lands bill 408 flawed

Nevada State legislative Government Affairs Committee chair Sen. Pete Goicoechea, R-Eureka, says he thinks the proposed public lands takeover measure, Assembly bill 408, will not go anywhere in this session of the legislature. He made the comments in his weekly conference call with constituents last week along with Sen. James Oscarson and Assemblyman John Ellison. AB 408 has been championed by Bunkerville rancher Cliven Bundy and his supporters. Called the Nevadans Resources Rights bill by Las Vegas Assemblywoman Michelle Fiore, who introduced it, the Legislative Counsel Bureau said it was unconstitutional, and Goicoechea commented he thought it was a poorly written bill in the first place. Ellison said it was a bill that could have created a lot of problems for ranchers around the state, and he thought some amendments might be made, but they would have to be done by April 10 which Sen. Oscarson said is the last day any bills can be heard in the legislature unless they are exempted to a fiscal committee. “The problem for ranchers, Ellison explained, “was the bill was written that if you had a fire, drought, flood, anything, and you were taken off the range for four years, after the four years, the bill would allow the land to come up for public auction. First of all, it is unconstitutional, and second, you could not do that because the Forest...

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Public lands, tax bills hot topics at legislature

Nevada State Senator Pete Goicoechea spoke briefly about some of the items discussed in his weekly conference call with Assemblymen James Oscarson and John Ellison. “We talked some about the new tax bill, the business license fee. That was a big topic as well as the public lands bill. There seems to likely be some movement fairly quickly in Washington on that,” he said. Other bills they are dealing with include a few gun bills, including prohibiting domestic violence abusers from possessing guns and making it a bit easier for out of state gun owners to carry a concealed gun in Nevada. Another bill, Senate Bill 175, would consider it justifiable homicide if a person was defending their vehicle or motor home by a person who intends to enter to assault someone. Deadly force is justified in Nevada if a person believes that his or her life or safety, or the life or safety of another, is in jeopardy. Earlier this session Assembly Bill 167, which would allow state residents with concealed-weapons permits, and law enforcement officers to carry loaded weapons on their person in a home or car and still be eligible to be foster parents, won approval in the Assembly. The business license fee is the Governor’s new bill, which Goicoechea says will effective create “a Nevada IRS, and you would pay a fee portionate to your...

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