85°F
weather icon Clear

Dina Titus slams Energy Department in Nevada Legislature speech

CARSON CITY — U.S. Rep. Dina Titus slapped Trump administration moves on plutonium shipments and nuclear waste storage in Nevada, congratulated state lawmakers on gun control efforts and criticized sheriffs who’ve said they won’t enforce them in remarks to the Legislature on Tuesday.

The five-term House Democrat and former state senator, in a 20-minute address to a joint session of the Senate and Assembly, also touched on marijuana banking laws, state criminal justice reform, health care initiatives and the importance of an accurate count in the 2020 census. But she returned frequently to policy and political disagreements with the administration on multiple fronts.

“Let me be perfectly clear: We’re not going to stand idly by and let the Trump administration treat Nevada as a dumping ground for the nation’s nuclear waste,” she said, referring to a White House plan to restart efforts to store nuclear waste at the Yucca Mountain site northwest of Las Vegas.

Titus also called out the Department of Energy’s shipment of plutonium into the state last fall, done under the cover of secrecy to protect the sensitive shipment but amid a court fight to block the move and without the apparent knowledge of state officials.

“I will say it again, and I have said it for a long time: You cannot trust the DOE when it comes to nuclear issues,” she said.

Beginning her remarks Tuesday, she called out the body’s history-making status as the first state Legislature to have a female majority. “This is the first time I have looked out at this chamber and seen mostly women looking back at me,” she said, to rousing applause. She also drew applause from the mostly Democratic body when she highlighted pending or approved gun control legislation, including last month’s passage of background checks for private gun sales.

And Titus sought to shame rural sheriffs who have said they will not enforce the law for “recklessly gambling with the lives of Nevadans.” “I just don’t think that the sheriff who’s supposed to uphold the law should take a position saying we’re going to ignore a law that the state Legislature has passed,” she said later in a meeting with reporters.

Senate Minority Leader James Settelmeyer, R-Minden, took issue with her characterization.

“The sheriffs are the highest ranking law enforcement in the county, and it’s up to them to determine how to spend their limited resources,” he said. “My sheriffs have basically said it’s unenforceable and they don’t have the resources to try.”

He also refuted Titus’s criticism on the federal plutonium shipment, saying, as Energy Department officials have maintained, that state officials chose not to participate in discussions about the shipment with DOE.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
IN SEASON: Okra, a southern favorite for your western garden

Okra may be considered a staple crop in the American South, but it also grows very well in our hot dry climate. As a member of the mallow family, it puts on a stunning display of delicate yellow flowers.

Special legislative session scheduled to open Friday

Gov. Steve Sisolak on Thursday issued the formal proclamation to call the Nevada Legislature into a special session beginning 9 a.m. Friday, July 31 to address significant policy issues that cannot wait until the regularly scheduled legislative session. This will be the 32nd special session in Nevada’s history.

Report chronicles massive decline in fish populations

With hydroelectric power, overfishing, climate change and pollution on the rise, monitored populations of migratory freshwater fish species have plummeted by 76% on average since 1970, according to the first comprehensive global report on the status of freshwater migratory fish issued this week by the World Fish Migration Foundation and Zoological Society of London.

AngloGold Ashanti gains exploration project permit

The administrator of the Division of Environmental Protection has decided to issue a reclamation permit for an exploration project to AngloGold Ashanti North America.

Immunizations remain required part of back-to-school routines

As parents continue to navigate what back to school looks like this year, one aspect of the ritual that hasn’t changed is making sure kids are up to date on their vaccines. Whether families choose in-person, hybrid or distance learning models for the fall 2020 school session, Nevada law requires immunizations for child care, school and university entry, with the exception of religious exemptions or a medical condition.

DMV will offer renewals online, by mail this fall

Nevada motorists who have been unable to make an appointment at DMV offices before their expiration date will benefit from two new initiatives announced Tuesday by the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Nye County Civic Center proposal presented

In 2016, when Valley Electric Association was aiming to sell a 200-kilovolt transmission line and needed a vote of approval by its members in order to do so, one of the selling points for that sale was the promise that if it went through, VEA would donate $5 million toward the construction of a new community center. It may have taken nearly three years after the transmission sale was executed but VEA did finally make good on that promise, offering the $5 million donation to Nye County, with the Nye County Commission voting to accept it in September 2019.

NCSD superintendent lays out school reopening plans

Earlier this month, the Nye County School District Board of Trustees approved the district’s COVID-19 re-entry plan, which laid out three models for returning students and staff to school safely.

Pahrump elementary schools to observe hybrid education model

With less than a month left before youth across Nye County are scheduled to begin the new school year, the Nye County School District has announced a change in its school re-entry plans, switching Pahrump area K-5 schools from the originally selected 100% in-person education model to the hybrid model that requires students to conduct their learning online three days out of the five-day school week.