Author: Thomas Mitchell

Nevada Should Challenge Constitutionality of Federal Pot Law

A week ago the Trump administration rescinded a series of Obama administration memos instructing federal prosecutors to back off enforcing federal marijuana laws in states that have legalized it, sending legal pot businesses into a dither, including those in Nevada. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he would leave it up to federal prosecutors to decide what to do when state law clashes with federal drug law. Justice Department officials said the previous administration’s stance allowed states to flout federal law. Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt sent out an email saying his office is reviewing the change in the Justice...

Read More

BLM Moving Forward with Fire Prevention Effort

The Bureau of Land Management posted on the Federal Register a couple of weeks ago a notice that it is beginning the tedious paperwork process to finally do something to prevent the devastating wildfires that have plagued the Great Basin region in recent years. The notice states the BLM will create two Environmental Impact Statements (EIS)— one will analyze the effects of constructing fuel breaks that clear flammable material along a swath of land to curb the spread of wildfire and another to study the effectiveness of restoring rangeland to counteract the spread of invasive species such as cheatgrass and conifers that burn too easily. The states involved include portions of Nevada, Idaho, Oregon, California, Utah and Washington. According to the National Interagency Fire Center, wildfires consumed nearly 10 million acres in 2017. In September Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, whose responsibilities include the BLM, promised, “This Administration will take a serious turn from the past and will proactively work to prevent forest fires through aggressive and scientific fuels reduction management to save lives, homes, and wildlife habitat. It is well settled that the steady accumulation and thickening of vegetation in areas that have historically burned at frequent intervals exacerbates fuel conditions and often leads to larger and higher-intensity fires.” The EISs, which are required by federal law, mark the beginning of fulfilling that promise. Comments may be submitted in...

Read More

Why Nevada Must Hit the Brakes on Taxes

It’s called voting with your feet. A remarkable number of well-heeled Americans are doing just that, and it should serve as a warning to Nevada voters and candidates as we enter an election year. Though Republican governors in recent years have shepherded through the Legislature record-high tax increases, Nevada still fares fairly well in comparison to other states when it comes to the tax burden borne by citizens of the Silver State. According to the Tax Foundation’s analysis of state and local tax burdens per capita for fiscal year 2012 — which is after Gov. Kenny Guinn’s billion-dollar tax...

Read More

It’s Time to Reopen

The Lincoln Country Record reported that the popular swimming hole at the Ash Springs hot springs north of Alamo was shut down because of possible safety hazards. Someone had noticed a child playing near a wall of rocks that looked as if it might collapse any moment and a local law enforcement officer brought it to the attention of the Bureau of Land Management. Victoria Barr of the Caliente BLM office told the newspaper, “The structural instability as well as bank erosion and undercutting has caused a concern for public safety.” The report said the repairs might move slowly due to the presence of two federally protected fish — the Pahranagat roundtail chub and the White River springfish. “The amount of time needed for repairs is uncertain at this time, but Barr thinks it could be, ‘weeks at this point,’” the paper recounted. “She said their plan is to go through an official closure, and then start a collaborative planning process with the stakeholders and other federal agencies. ‘We anticipate public meetings,’ she said, and when those meetings get scheduled, will be able to inform the public.” Lincoln County Commissioner Adam Katschke said, “We miss having it open, especially the businesses in Alamo and Pahranagat Valley.” Those “weeks at this point” have turned into four and half years. That report was published in July 2013 and the ol’ swimming...

Read More

What Evidence Is Pertinent in Bundy Trials?

Pardon us plebs, but we are a tad bit confused about just what is admissible evidence in the Bunkerville standoff trials. This past week, about a month into the second of three scheduled trials, the judge declared a mistrial because the prosecution had failed to timely turn over potentially exculpatory evidence to the defense. Federal Judge Gloria Navarro listed six instances in which prosecutors willfully withheld evidence — including information about an FBI surveillance camera, documents citing the presence of snipers, certain maps, FBI logs, threat assessments that showed the Bundys weren’t violent and internal affairs documents detailing possible...

Read More