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Washoe County Lines up Legislative Priorities (Subscriber Content)

By Carla O'Day
Published: Last Updated on
Washoe County Manager John Slaughter gives the 2016 state of the county.
Washoe County Manager John Slaughter.

Several issues of local significance being considered at the state level were outlined Tuesday by Washoe County, which took positions on some bills being considered by the Nevada Legislature.

County staff recommended commissioners support Senate Bill 279, sponsored by Sen. Ben Kieckhefer, R-Reno, and Assemblywoman Lisa Krasner, R-Reno.  It would require general improvement districts to follow the same processes as local governments when disposing of property.  Such districts are taxing bodies created for providing and maintaining services in an area.  

Marsha_Berkbigler
County Commissioner
Marsha Berkbigler.

“I think this is a good start, but there’s a great deal more that needs to be done with GIDs,” Commissioner Marsha Berkbigler said. 

County Manager John Slaughter suggested commissioners oppose Senate Bill 287 as written but to work with state lawmakers on adjustments.  Primary bill sponsors are Sens. Ira Hansen, R-Sparks; David Parks, D-Las Vegas; and Pat Spearman, D-North Las Vegas.

Slaughter said there’s apprehension about the bill’s section on making crime records available to the public.

“What was brought to my attention wasn’t so much the transparency issue,” Commission Chairman Vaughn Hartung said to Slaughter.  “If we have a victim of a crime, any of those records could be made public at request of a news agency or anyone, even an offender, potentially.  Am I correct in that?”

“That ’s my understanding, “Slaughter said. “That’s one of the concerns related to this bill.  This is a large ominous kind of bill… Our hope, in the end, is that we support a final amended bill.”

County Commissioner
Kitty Jung.

Commissioner Kitty Jung said there were several legislative proposals that Jung said housing and asked Slaughter about the county’s position.  She also asked to meet with a subject-matter expert to discuss them. 

“Are we supporting the fair housing bill draft request that Mr. (Kent) Ervin from Peavine Mountain is also helping to support?” Jung asked.  “What it is is a covenant.”

Jung said there’s a covenant on some older homes, including hers from 1947, that states it can’t be sold to African Americans. Such edicts should be removed, she said.

“I know there’s a bill statewide going in that would strike all that out to ensure fair housing,” Jung said. “I’d like to see where we are on that.”
Hartung agreed.

“It’s interesting what’s buried in old covenants and laws,” he said. 

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