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BDR seeks POST cert for BLM, forest rangers

A bill that would require U.S. Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service rangers from out of state to be certified under Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) has been requested by State Sen. Pete Goicoechea, R-Eureka.

Legislators were required to submit their first group of bill draft requests for the 2015 state Legislature by Aug. 1. The requests are usually only a brief sentence, details are generally worked out when the bill is drafted.

Goicoechea is the state senator who represents the Pahrump region of Nye County. The BDR was submitted after a confrontation over the seizure of rancher Cliven Bundy’s cattle in Bunkerville last April.

Goicoechea said he will also reintroduce a bill granting home rule to counties that was introduced as Senate Bill 2 in the last session. Currently counties have to get state approval for a lot of things under Dillon’s Rule.

The senator said he also introduced a bill revising how rural electric cooperatives are governed, in the event another bill is introduced to place rural electric cooperatives like Valley Electric Association under supervision of the Public Utilities Commission. Assembly Bill 391, introduced in the 2013 legislative session, would have done just that, but it was vetoed by Gov. Brian Sandoval. AB 391 was introduced by Richard “Skip” Daly, D-Sparks, who said VEA was going outside their service territory and acting like a private utility company in signing contracts with federal facilities.

“I’m just trying to prevent all the co-ops from ending up under the PUC. If they don’t bring a bill, it will go nowhere,” Goicoechea said. But speaking of VEA, he warned, “They are a rural electric co-op and they need to act like one.”

Nevada District 36 Assemblyman James Oscarson, R-Pahrump, asked for a bill that would revise provisions governing public administrators. Nye County commissioners discussed using their sole bill draft request to authorize a salary for the public administrator, which is how that office is funded in Clark and Washoe counties.

Oscarson said he will be working with Nye County Manager Pam Webster, Fifth District Judge Kimberly Wanker, even auctioneer “Ski” Censki, about tightening up requirements by public administrators that are ambiguous or unenforceable.

When it comes to paying the public administrator a salary, Oscarson said, “certainly I’d look at that if that’s something they want to bring forward. I’d certainly be willing to take a look at that to see how it fits with the current or the proposed legislation going forward.”

Another bill draft would revise provisions governing the investigation of fires in rural counties.

“Right now it’s my understanding that the state fire marshal is pretty much the de facto fire marshal in counties under 100,000. I’d like to tighten that up, make it so counties under 100,000 don’t have to have their own fire official but could if they wanted to,” Oscarson said.

Currently Nye County relies on the state fire marshal to investigate fire, but Oscarson said Pahrump Fire Chief Scott Lewis sometimes does investigations. The bill would save money for counties with small budgets, he said.

Another Oscarson bill draft would revise provisions governing community para-medicine programs. He said it would allow paramedics in some instances to treat patients in rural communities. The last session Oscarson said he introduced a bill to form a study group on para-medicine, but it’s already gone far beyond that.

“Where there’s no home health care or it’s not covered by insurance, that in fact there would be an opportunity for paramedics that know a lot of these patients, because they’re in and out of the hospital a lot, would be able to follow Mr. Smith,” Oscarson said, using an example. It’s to provide follow-up care to try to ensure the patients don’t get readmitted into the hospital, he said.

Oscarson filed another bill designating special license plates for military silver and bronze star recipients.

State legislators already requested 203 bills for the upcoming session. In the 2013 legislative session there were 1,252 bill drafts submitted. Some BDRs are mundane, like a request already submitted to designate Picon Punch as the official state drink. In the 2013 session there was a bill requested to designate the Blue Weimaraner as the official state dog.

Among the BDRs already submitted was a bill by State Sen. Justin Jones, D-Las Vegas, to establish financial services cooperatives for medical marijuana businesses who aren’t able to use banks. The Senate Committee on Judiciary has asked for changes to the medical marijuana law in general.

The Senate Committee on Judiciary also requested a bill that would create slot parlors as a new category of gaming license besides restricted and unrestricted, for business with 15 or less slot machines whose primary business is gaming. The bill would hike the gaming tax rate on those businesses to 15 percent. It appears aimed at the success of Dotty’s casinos.

Another bill would urge the federal government to support the management of certain birds to reduce the impact of predators on the greater sage grouse. Nye County passed a resolution declaring the raven a nuisance, which is a predator of the sage grouse. State and local officials are trying to stave off placing the greater sage grouse on the endangered species list.

State Sen. Don Gustavson, R-Sparks, who represents northern Nye County, reintroduced a bill to raise the maximum speed limit on certain highways, which died last session.

Oscarson said he works with Goicoechea and will work with him on his federal peace officer training and the home rule bills.

“I like to brag about the fact Pete and I talk twice a day about what’s going on in our district and I’m very proud of that,” Oscarson said.

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