It’s not often that the Nye County Commission holds a meeting with one particular topic as the common thread for nearly all of items on the agenda but that is precisely what will take place tomorrow when commissioners meet to discuss a variety of COVID-19 related items.
First on the agenda is a resolution that, along with declaring the county’s support for the local economy and businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, demands Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak lift the restrictions he has placed on businesses.
Rural counties resisting COVID restrictions
Resolutions relating to the COVID-19 pandemic and the emergency mandates issued by the governor have been in the headlines for the past several weeks, as county commissions in rural parts of the state move to take a stance against what they perceive as illegal actions by the governor.
White Pine County was the first to do so, approving a resolution in December, 2020 that declared a state of fiscal emergency in that county and asserting that it would no longer enforce the restrictions dictated by Sisolak’s office. The White Pine resolution also states that the county would be notifying government agencies such as OSHA and the Nevada Gaming Control Board that they would no longer be permitted to issue fines or warnings to businesses within White Pine County for violations of the governor’s emergency directives.
Not long after this, three other rural Nevada counties, Lyon, Elko and Eureka, also approved similar resolutions. In response, Sisolak’s office and the Nevada attorney general’s office recently issued a joint press release announcing that such resolutions are, “…mere statements and nothing more,” as detailed in the release.
That is not how some see it, however. White Pine County Commissioner Ian Bullis, who, along with White Pine County Commissioner Travis Godon, co-authored that county’s COVID-19 resolution, told the Pahrump Valley Times, “The governor does not have the authority to go making up laws. That’s what legislatures are for.” Bullis also stated that what he and Godon find most amusing about the situation is that the governor and AG issued a statement at all, remarking that this shows that the counties have “rattled their cage.”
Nye County’s take on a COVID resolution
Now, Nye County is poised to address its own COVID-19 resolution but rather than following the example set by the other four counties and becoming embroiled in that particular conflict, Nye County is taking a slightly different tack.
Nye County’s resolution does not state that the county will no longer enforce or follow the governor’s mandates. Instead, the resolution demands in no uncertain terms that Sisolak do away with the COVID-19 restrictions that have had such severe impacts on businesses in Nye County. The resolution goes even further than this, also declaring that Sisolak has broken his oath of office and usurped the role that should be filled by the Nevada Legislature.
The resolution reads in part, “…the Nye County Commission concludes that Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak has failed to uphold his solemn pledge to ‘support, protect and defend’ the U.S. Constitution and urges him to correct his course by removing his orders restricting our local businesses and limiting the size of peaceful gatherings; and… that the Nye County Commission demands that Governor Sisolak remove the current restrictions before another business is lost, as every business lost is jobs lost and a loss to the tax base of this state and county…”
The resolution is a four-page document that provides a multitude of reasons for the demands put forth and concludes with a final statement reading, “Be it further resolved that Nye County recognizes its right, as stated in our Declaration of Independence, to confront the government when it has subjected its citizens to a ‘long train of abuses and usurpations’ and our solemn duty to seek that those abuses are corrected.”
Attendance and participation encouraged
Word of Nye County’s resolution being included in the upcoming special meeting of the Nye County Commission is spreading and one Nevada organization, Battle Born Patriots, is urging the community to take part and make their voices heard.
“We need you and anyone else you know that has been struggling due to Sisolak’s illegal COVID directives,” Pahrump resident Dee Mounts, Battle Born Patriots Director of Marketing and Media, stated in announcement sent out Tuesday, Feb. 2. “This includes but is not limited to: small business owners, independent contractors, hair stylists, mani/pedicurists, musicians, etc. Also, parents who want their kids to return to school… This is our chance to get rid of all these ridiculous directives and get you all back to recovery.”
Additional agenda items
The COVID-19 resolution is far from the only item on the agenda, with a total of eight other pandemic-related items up for discussion during tomorrow’s special meeting.
These include a basic overview of the county’s COVID Relief Program as well as items specifically addressing the small business working capital program, small business personal protective equipment reimbursement program, small business rent and mortgage assistance program, public rent and mortgage assistance program, public assistance administered by nonprofits program and direct utility assistance program.
There will also be an item regarding the possibility of adding or creating other types of assistance programs as well.
The Nye County Commission meeting is set to begin at 2 p.m. tomorrow, Thursday, Feb. 4.
Those interested in attending can do so at the commissioners’ chambers in Tonopah, 101 Radar Road, or Pahrump, 2100 E. Walt Williams Drive. Public attendance in both locations is limited to first-come, first-served and masks are required.
Residents can also participate in the meeting via teleconference by calling 888-585-9008 and entering conference room number 255-432-824.
Those wishing to speak must dial *9 to notify staff that they would like to make a statement during the public comment periods.
To view the agenda visit www.nyecounty.net and click on the “Meeting Center” link at the bottom of the page.
Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at firstname.lastname@example.org