Valley Electric’s board considers changes to net metering policy

Hundreds of Valley Electric Association Inc.'s members that take advantage of the co-op's net metering program could see a change in the current rates that are paid. Valley's board will consider a tiered system at the co-op's next board meeting.

By Jeffrey Meehan ~ Pahrump Valley Times

June 21, 2019 - 7:00 am

Valley Electric Association Inc.’s board of directors is set to mull over potential changes to the co-op’s current net metering policy.

The new policy, set to be taken up at Valley’s June 26 board meeting, would lower the current rate of 100 percent, or 11.9 cents per kilowatt-hour, to a tiered system where those with solar would get 75-95 percent of the current rate, “depending on when the member-generator interconnected with the VEA grid,” according to a news release from Valley.

That comes out to 9 cents a kilowatt hour under the 75 percent bracket, according to Interim Chief Executive of Valley Electric Association Inc. Dick Peck.

According to the co-op, the new policy would mirror Assembly Bill 405 on net metering, which was signed into law in 2017 by then-Gov. Brian Sandoval. Net metering is where those with rooftop solar get a credit for the excess energy they return to the grid.

Valley is exempt from the law but offers the program to local customers wanting to install solar, according to a news release from the co-op.

The co-op currently offers 100 percent, or 11.9 cents per kilowatt-hour for the excess energy it sends back to the grid.

Tiered system

Under the proposed net metering policy, VEA policy No. 136, members of Valley installing solar will follow a tiered system, which will be “tied to the date that a completed application to install a net-metering system was received,” according to Valley’s news release.

According to Valley, the first solar generator interconnected to the co-op in 2006 and has grown into the hundreds since that time.

Overall, the system is set that the earlier an application was put in, the higher the reimbursement rate.

For Tier One, where members who interconnected with Valley prior to the generation amount exceeded 1.25 megawatts, those members will receive 95 percent of the full retail rate of 11.9 cents per kilowatt hour. The 1.25 megawatt threshold was crossed in 2015, according to Valley’s release.

Tier Two includes those members that brought the generation from 1.25 to 2.5 megawatts, which occurred in 2017. Under that tier, members will be paid 88 percent of the full retail rate.

Tier Three will be paid 81 percent of the full retail rate for excess energy. This group brought the generated amount from “2.5-3.75 megawatts” in 2019.

Members falling under Tier Four will be reimbursed 75 percent of Valley’s full retail rate.

“The majority of VEA’s generation of renewable energy by members comes in the form of solar, but some members generate power with wind turbines,” Valley’s release stated. “Since the total number of applications in house would bring the system size to nearly 6 megawatts, virtually all new applications would be reimbursed at 75% of the retail rate.”

“With these revisions, Valley Electric will be in line with state law, which serves to encourage the development of solar generation,” Peck said in a news release. “The wholesale power rate is approximately 4 cents per kilowatt-hour, but we had been paying our member-generators 11.9 cents for their excess power. We have to always remember that members who do not generate renewable energy are subsidizing those who do.”

According to Peck, the number of member-generators has grown significantly in the past couple years, which is prompting the need for revisions to the co-op’s policy.

In a news release, Peck estimated that Valley paid $230,000 for power under its net metering program in 2018.

Valley currently has over 600 generators that participate in Valley’s net metering program, equating to approximately 3 percent of the membership, according to Valley’s release.

The number of generators did not pass 100 until 2014, according to Valley’s release.

The topic will be taken up at Valley’s next board meeting at the co-op’s administrative offices in Pahrump. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. at 800 E. Highway 372.

Source: Valley Electric’s board considers changes to net metering policy


Briefing in Pahrump water order appeal filings complete

The briefing in the appeal case regarding Nevada State Engineer Order #1293(A) has reached its conclusion.

The documents for all parties involved are now undergoing the process of screening by the Nevada Supreme Court, which will decide whether or not to move the case forward and hold a hearing to allow for oral arguments.

In addition to the Nevada State Engineer’s Office, which is the appellant, and Pahrump Fair Water, the respondent, a third party has joined the battle as well. The Nevada Groundwater Association requested leave to file an amicus brief, taking the side of Pahrump Fair Water in the argument, and the Nevada Supreme Court has granted that request.

The water order has been the source of much contention since it was originally issued in December 2017.

The order restricts the drilling of new domestic wells in the Pahrump Valley unless two acre-feet of water rights have been relinquished in support of the well. For some Pahrump property owners, water rights were already relinquished when their parcels were initially created. However, for many others, this is not the case and the order requires these property owners to first purchase water rights and relinquish them back to the state before they can drill a domestic well on their land.

Pahrump Fair Water, an organization composed of local property owners, well drillers and real estate agents, filed suit to put a stop to the water order. After several months of legal maneuvering, a judge with the Fifth Judicial District Court rendered a ruling in November 2018 in favor of Pahrump Fair Water and overturned the water order.

That was far from the end of the matter, however, as the Nevada State Engineer’s Office took its opportunity to file an appeal, which is the case now before the Nevada Supreme Court. While the case is being considered, the Supreme Court has issued a stay on the ruling that overturned the water order, meaning at the moment, the order is still in effect.

The basic argument between the engineer’s office and Pahrump Fair Water stems from the question of just how far the state engineer’s authority extends when it comes to domestic wells.

Pahrump Fair Water asserts that the engineer does not have the power to regulate domestic wells except in very specific circumstances, which the organization argues do not exist in the given situation. The state engineer, conversely, proclaims that the engineer’s office can, in fact, restrict domestic wells and withdrawals from such if the engineer finds that it would be in the best interest of the health of the overall water basin to do so.

There are several other points argued by both sides in the briefs filed in the case, including those regarding due process requirements and whether potential new domestic wells constitute a vested property right or protectable interest.

Now the case has reached a “wait and see” point, as there is no definite schedule for when the Nevada Supreme Court might decide to hold a hearing in the matter.

“There is really no way to tell,” David Rigdon of Taggart and Taggart, LTD, the law firm representing Pahrump Fair Water, stated when asked about a possible time line for the case. “I’ve seen the screening process take as few as 45 days and as long as seven to eight months. It all depends on their workload. In the order approving the stay, the court stated that they wanted expedited briefing… However it’s not clear whether the court will expedite its screening and review.”

The appeal is filed under Case No. 77722. All associated documents can be reviewed online at www.nvcourts.gov

 

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

Call to action on AB 95

The Nevada Legislative Session is has just three weeks remaining until it comes to a close and the fate of hundreds of bills depends upon the decisions made in these final days.

In a email sent out May 14 to area residents with a deep interest in local water resources, Nevada Assemblyman Greg Hafen II urged the community to reach out to Nevada Senators and ask them to vote “no” on one particular bill, Assembly Bill 95.

The bill calls for changes to Nevada water law that many have been pushing back against. It would require the Nevada State Engineer, “…to continue to allow withdrawals of groundwater from domestic wells under certain circumstances in groundwater basins where withdrawals have been restricted to conform to priority rights,” according to the bill language.

The bill dictates that domestic wells would be allowed to continue pumping half an acre foot of water it times of curtailment but only if the owner installs a water meter. The idea of water meters is something Pahrump residents have been extremely resistant to for years. Many have also argued that the state engineer does not have the authority to curtail domestic wells at all, a belief that is current under debate in a lawsuit between the engineer’s office and Pahrump Fair Water.

A bill very similar to Assembly Bill 95 was before the Nevada Legislature in 2017 and after the public outcry, it ultimately failed to pass.

“I rise today in opposition to Assembly Bill 95. Assembly Bill 95 tramples over 100 years of Nevada water laws to the detriment of all water users,” Hafen stated from the Assembly Floor on May 14. “We heard from many Nevadans during the bill’s hearing about the negative effects of the bill. There was not one person or organization in support.”

“Currently, domestic wells in my district are already only using an average of half an acre foot per year,” Hafen continued. “Conservation is the key to solving Nevada’s water issues and this bill does nothing to promote conservation, but does have a financial burden to well owners by requiring them install a meter. I urge my colleagues to vote ‘no’ on Assembly Bill 95.”

Details on the bill and a list of all Nevada Legislators along with their contact information can be found online at www.leg.state.nv.us

— Robin Hebrock, Pahrump Valley Times

Source: Briefing in Pahrump water order appeal complete


Household hazardous waste disposal event set for May 18 in Pahrump

May 8, 2019 - 7:00 am ~ Pahrump Valley Times

Nye County and U.S. Ecology are teaming up for the county’s very first Household Hazardous Waste Collection event, and residents will want to mark May 18 on their calendars.

Members of the Pahrump community and the surrounding area will be able to pack up all of the household waste that they cannot dispose of for curbside trash pickup and haul it to the Pahrump landfill to have it properly disposed of by U.S. Ecology.

Old paint is just one of the many items that will be accepted at the Household Hazardous Waste Collection event set for May 18.

“The Hazardous Household Waste Collection event is something that has been talked about for years but never executed,” Nye County Public Information Officer Arnold Knightly said of the effort.

“U.S. Ecology does these events with its community partners around the country. This event came out of a site tour of their facility last year. Nye County Manager Tim Sutton placed the event as a priority, and Nye County Public Works Director Tim Dahl has been in close contact with U.S. Ecology representatives, who live here in Pahrump, in organizing the event.”

Knightly said events of this type are important to communities as they provide a safe, proper method of disposal for all sorts of products used in the home, ensuring they do not harm the environment.

Electronics, including computers and cell phones, can be taken to Nye County's upcoming household hazardous waste event so it can be properly disposed of by U.S. Ecology.

“There is always a concern that hazardous household waste will end up in our beautiful desert through illegal dumping and will damage the ecosystem. Whether it is animals digesting items, killing or slowing the growth of plants, or waste that ends up in the groundwater, this event is to give an outlet to people to get rid of those items in their garage they don’t know how to get rid of,” Knightly detailed.

U.S. Ecology will have large trucks on site which will run continually throughout the day, with all hazardous waste bound for disposal at the U.S. Ecology site just south of Beatty.

Acceptable waste

Many of the items commonly found stockpiled around homes, awaiting disposal, will be collected as part of the household hazardous waste event.

One of the most common household products and something that generally should not be thrown in the regular trash is batteries. Those made from lead-acid, nickel-cadmium, lithium metal, lithium ions, mercury, and alkaline will be gathered and disposed of properly.

Hazardous liquids will be taken as part of the event as well, including used oil, antifreeze and paint-related materials, such as latex or water-based paints, oil-based paints, lacquers and thinners, and lead-based paints.

Pool chemicals can also be disposed of, so long as they are in their manufacturer’s original packaging and contain a legible label.

Aerosols, both flammable and non-flammable, will be taken, along with electronic waste such as televisions, computers, printers and cell phones.

Mercury and sodium bulbs will also be accepted, as will equipment containing mercury, such as thermometers and thermostats.

Unacceptable waste

There are a variety of items that cannot be accepted at the upcoming disposal event.

Propane cylinders, fire extinguishers and smoke detectors will not be collected, and residents may not dispose of fireworks, flares or flammable liquids. Household cleaners are also on the unacceptable list, along with acids, bases, oxidizers, pesticides or herbicides.

Medications, both prescription and over-the-counter, are unacceptable waste products, as are illicit drugs. Epoxies and resins, appliances, home furnishings, and explosives will not be accepted either.

The Household Hazardous Waste Collection event will take place from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 18 at the Nye County Landfill, 1631 E. Mesquite Ave. in Pahrump.

Source: Household hazardous waste disposal event set for May 18 in Pahrump


VEA Board Calls Special Membership Meeting

Valley Electric Association’s board of directors has called a special member meeting to address concerns over the board’s fiduciary responsibilities and the process of recalling members of Valley’s board, according to a news release from Valley.

The special meeting, pegged to occur following Valley’s annual meeting on April 27, is set to answer questions that have arisen on these topics, following the announcement by a members’ group on its intentions to recall Valley’s current board of directors in February, said Ken Derschan, president of Valley’s board of directors, in the news release.

“We have heard member concerns, and we are listening to what members say,” said Derschan in the news release. “Questions and comments revolving around the board’s fiduciary responsibilities and how a recall can occur have come up. Members have a right to elect board members, and they have the right to recall them. That process is spelled out in the bylaws. We want our members to hear firsthand about what being a fiduciary means and how a recall needs to be conducted in accordance with the bylaws and the articles of incorporation.”

The special meeting is set to occur at approximately 2 p.m. on April 27, following Valley’s annual meeting, at the high school. Registration for the annual meeting begins at 11 a.m. with that event getting underway at 1 p.m., also at the high school, according to Valley’s news release.

According to Valley’s release, it takes three board members to call for a special meeting, though all six of the current directors signed a notice to call for a special meeting at the end of April, following the annual meeting.

On another front, hundreds of area member-owners have signed a petition being circulated by organizers of VEA Members for Change, a members’ group that is working to remove several of Valley’s board of directors.

That action could occur at a special meeting that the group is working on calling via a petition of Valley’s members.

According to organizers for the group, new directors can be voted in by Valley’s members at the special meeting if any of the current directors are voted out at that meeting.

Members for Change was launched amid increased rates announced by Valley earlier in 2019 for its broadband customers and on energy rates for residential customers. The members’ group saw an influx in people signing the petition in light of allegations of a financial cover-up of sexual harassment at Valley and embezzlement.

Ken Johnson, an organizer for Members for Change and a former executive of Valley, said in prior interviews with a reporter from the Pahrump Valley Times that the group has put efforts into finding replacements for the current board should they be voted out during a special meeting.

Members for Change has not publicly named any potential replacements of Valley’s board of directors should the group be successful.

Organizers of VEA Members for Change have commented that Valley is not following the bylaws by not calling a special meeting of the membership following the group’s obtainment of a signature requirement under the bylaws.

The group surpassed what it said is a required number of signatures equating to 5 percent of Valley’s members and has asked Valley to schedule a special meeting, according to Johnson.

To start the process on removing any of the directors, VEA Members for Change has to obtain enough signatures equating to 10 percent of the membership; the 5 percent marker is to call the special meeting, according to organizers of Members for Change.

According to the Members for Change’s Facebook page, the effort has amassed just under 1,600 signatures. The group needs to collect enough signatures to match 10 percent of the membership. According to Members for Change’s social media page, that number is approximately 18,750.

Kathleen Keyes, who ran unopposed in Valley’s District 4 (Fish Lake Valley), for a seat on the board, is not listed on Members for Change’s petition.

A reporter from the Pahrump Valley Times reached out to Michael Hengel, vice president of corporate communications for Valley, on the upcoming special meeting, not connected to any action by Members for Change, that was recently called by Valley’s board and on other topics.

Hengel said Dick Peck, Valley’s interim chief executive, “has gone on record as saying that we have one interpretation of the bylaws. You’d have to ask them (VEA Members for Change) about their interpretation. According to our interpretation of it, there’s still some work to do.”

In Valley’s news release, Derschan was noted stating that Valley’s independent auditor, Lubbock, Texas-based Bolinger, Segars, Gilbert &Moss LLP will make a presentation on Valley’s 2018 audit. Representatives for the firm will also discuss the board’s fiduciary responsibility, according to Derschan.

Valley’s corporate counsel, Tammy Peterson of Peterson Baker PLLC, also plans to make a presentation on Valley’s bylaws and the “intricacies of a recall election,” Valley’s release stated.

“The bylaws and articles of incorporation are there to protect the cooperative and the members,” said Peck in Valley’s release. “If members wish to go down that road, that is their right. Everyone needs to follow the bylaws, however, or little will be accomplished.”

Lunch is set to be served prior to the annual meeting at the high school starting at 11:30 a.m. until the annual meeting begins at 1 p.m.

Several vehicles and items currently held by Valley will be auctioned off following the conclusion of the special meeting, according to the news release.

Vehicle auction

Valley Electric Association is planning to auction off 13 vehicles and two trailers following a special meeting at the end of April.

The auction will occur following the conclusion of Valley’s annual meeting and a subsequent special meeting at Pahrump Valley High School at 501 E. Calvada Blvd. on April 27.

“We have too many vehicles in our fleet, so it’s time to move them out,” said Valley’s Interim Chief Executive Dick Peck. “If a member needs a vehicle like one of the ones we have, this will be a good opportunity to get one at a good price.”

Valley is scheduled to start its annual meeting at 1 p.m. at the high school with a special meeting pegged to begin at 2 p.m. Following those meetings, the auction will get underway.

The auction includes late models cargo vans, along with vehicles from the mid-2000s and prior: trucks, SUVs and other “articles from Valley’s warehouse” will be included in the list of auction items, according to a press release from Valley.

Source: VEA board calls a special meeting


“One Nevada lawmaker’s journey from silence to action” does not mean it’s Good Law.

An April Fools day article by Colton Lochhead in the Las Vegas Review-Journal perhaps, by many, could be considered an Aprill Fools Prank if it were not so serious to everyone attending the joint Assembly-Senate hearing in Carson city on AB291, introduced this session by Nevada Assemblywoman Sandra Jauregui.

The article, chronicles, Nevada Assemblywoman Sandra Jauregui’s journey from Route 91 as a participant in the most horrific mass shooting in our countries history.  It was a horrific and tragic night for those that died, those that were injured, everyone who was there, their friends, their families and everyone else that learned of/or watched any of the media and images about the incident.

“Vegas Strong” became the mantra of everyone everywhere as victims, friends, families, neighbors, emergency personnel and everyone else that was touched by the incident, whether they were there or not.

Las Vegas Metro is still slowly releasing documentation from the incident over a year later.

I do not know anyone that was Not horribly impacted as a result of that event. However, what we do with those feelings and emotions is important too.

Writing and passing a law, that nowhere within its text, purpose or understanding, does one additional thing that could prevent such a horrific event from happening again in the future, is not productive use for all of our emotions of this incident.

Please don’t let all of these very real legitimate emotions cause us to do things that won’t help our community and in fact actually will complicate our lives.

“BumpStock”,  a legally acquired accessory for sport shooting, was part of what was used by the shooter that night.  Basically, a tool that lets the forces of the firing of the gun continue the firing via the shooter’s finger without the shooter squeezing the trigger over and over again.  Many believed that automatic weapon/s were being fired that night.

The device is scary to many people both as an observer and many as actual shooters also.  AB291 starts as a state law making “BumpStock” accessories illegal without clearly defining what they are and how they do it.

In spite of the fact that the Federal Government has already made these devices illegal through regulation that became effective just two weeks ago, there is no amendment to take this language out of the bill. This language is unnecessary and redundant in intention as the current federal law.  The vague and dangerous method of defining what was used has great potential to impact good honest citizens unintentionally.  This part of the bill has absolutely no additional benefit to the people of Nevada and their safety.

The next issue with the bill is not clear to anyone without a bit of knowledge about Nevada state gun law history.  Current Nevada laws referred to as preemptive are on the books that have removed the power of local government, cities, and counties, to make gun-related law or ordinances that are not codified in state law.

The reasons and intentions of the Nevada Legislature were very practical and important then as they are today. They made it so that the very mobile population and tourists could move about through the whole state and know that they are not accidentally violating gun laws when they move from city to city or county to county or between a city and unincorporated county.

The language above and beyond the unnecessary “BumpStock” related restrictions discussed above are intent on one purpose and one purpose only, to add more confusion and bureaucracy to the daily lives and gun laws of our state by removing the current preemptions.

I urge our state legislators to amend, removing such language before any consideration of the bill ab291.

Last but not least. a third aspect of the new law being put forth here is changing the Blood Alcohol Level restriction to be the same as they are in motor vehicle DUI laws, 0.08. The only aspect of this bill ab291 that has any practical credibility or value to the population of Nevada.

Selling this legislation to the people of Nevada as an effective hinderance above and beyond any of the currently enacted Federal Regulations on “BumpStocks”, is not only unjust, deceiving and purely unethical, but dishonors everyone that was killed, injured or impacted by the events of 1 October.


Autopsy Results – Dennis Hof, Nevada brothel owner, died of heart attack

Brothel owner Dennis Hof, who won a Nevada Assembly seat after his October death, died of a heart attack, according to his autopsy.

Hof, 72, suffered a heart attack due to atherosclerotic and hypertensive cardiovascular disease, the Clark County coroner’s office report said. Other significant conditions in his death included diabetes and obesity.

Hof also had marijuana chemical compound THC and sildenafil, which can treat erectile dysfunction, in his system at the time of his death, the report said.

The autopsy was released by the Nye County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday afternoon, several months after his Oct. 16 death.

In November, Hof won a seat representing District 36 in the Nevada Assembly.

Source: Dennis Hof, Nevada brothel owner, died of heart attack


Rick Perry agrees to provide timeline on removing plutonium from Nevada

By Colton Lochhead ~ Special to the Pahrump Valley Times ~ March 27, 2019 – 7:00 am

Earlier this month, Cortez Masto pledged to hold up nominees for the U.S. Department of Energy until she received a commitment from Perry that no more plutonium would be shipped into the state and a time frame for when the half-metric ton that the Energy Department already shipped to a federal site roughly 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas last fall would be removed.

Rick Perry, during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017.

Cortez Masto, speaking to reporters in Carson City after addressing a joint session of the Nevada Legislature, said Perry called her earlier this month to voice his concerns with her hold on his department’s nominees. She said she wanted his commitment in writing before she would lift her hold.

“We had a very good, cordial conversation. He said he would give me that commitment, so we left that conversation with both of us agreeing to have designated staff to work on the written letter, and we’ll go from there,” Cortez Masto said March 20.

The state’s senior senator said they discussed a three- to five-year time frame, but she added she’s “waiting to see what I have in writing.”

In August, the Energy Department sent a letter to Nevada officials, notifying them of plans to ship half a metric ton of weapons-grade plutonium from South Carolina to the Nevada National Security Site in Nye County.

The state filed an injunction in late November asking a federal court to block the Trump administration from shipping the radioactive material.

But weeks after the case was argued in federal court, the Energy Department disclosed that it already had shipped the plutonium into the state sometime before November, which drew rebukes from Gov. Steve Sisolak, Cortez Masto and Nevada’s other federal delegates.

U.S. Sen. Cortez Masto, D-Nevada, was one of 10 Democrats to support Rick Perry’s nomination as energy secretary in 2017.

Cortez Masto was one of 10 Democrats to support Perry’s nomination as energy secretary in 2017.

Last week, she said she regrets that vote because of the way he and the Energy Department handled the plutonium shipment and Perry’s push to revive Yucca Mountain.

“The conversations we had in private in my office at the time there in the Senate turned out to be very different than what his commitment is now,” Cortez Masto said. “What I was looking for was somebody who was willing to work with me and with the state of Nevada and be candid. What I saw here, just shipping this plutonium here, they weren’t even candid with the federal court.”

“I think it was outrageous and unconscionable that not only would the Energy Department disregard the governor and governor’s staff, but then lie to a federal court about it,” she said.

Source: Rick Perry agrees to provide timeline on removing plutonium from Nevada


Editorial: No need for murky water law changes

 

Two bills proposing to alter water use policy are pending in the Nevada Legislature. They are at best problematic.

Assembly Bill 30 appears to give the state engineer greater leeway in the use of monitoring, management and mitigations — known in the jargon as 3M — to resolve conflicts in water rights. The language is rather vague and subject to interpretation.

Assembly Bill 51 appears to give the state engineer more flexibility in what is called conjunctive management of water. While current law treats surface water and groundwater as interchangeable in a basin in the scheme of allocations, AB51 tells the state engineer to adopt regulations that mitigate conflicts between the two water sources.

Nevada water law is based on the concept of prior authorization, in other words the first one to use a water resource has priority or senior water rights. Those who come later, if there is enough water available, have junior rights that must yield to the senior rights if supply becomes inadequate for any reason.

The Great Basin Water Network, an organization that has been fighting attempts for years by the Las Vegas Valley water provider to tap groundwater in eastern Nevada basins, suspects these two bills are intended to give the state engineer the flexibility needed to allow the project to reach fruition.

GBWN says the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s $15 billion groundwater importation plan would pump 58 billion gallons of groundwater annually in a 300-mile pipeline to Las Vegas. They say the Bureau of Land Management has estimated the project would irreparably harm 305 springs, 112 miles of streams, 8,000 acres of wetlands, and 191,000 acres of shrub land habitat.

A federal judge has so far blocked the water grab from Spring, Cave, Dry Lake and Delamar valleys, saying the state engineer failed to establish any objective criteria for when mitigation — such as halting pumping — would have to be initiated. The engineer plans to appeal that ruling, but a change in state law could moot that.

GBWN questions the effectiveness of the two bills’ calls for monetary compensation and water replacement to make whole senior water rights owners.

Abby Johnson, GBWN’s president, says in an op-ed she has penned for area newspapers, “From ranchers to environmentalists, there is a consensus that we don’t need to fix what isn’t broken. Nevada water law has served Nevadans well for more than 100 years and continues to serve the public interest. That success, however, has stymied a select few.”

The select few, Johnson says, include real estate developers and the Southern Nevada Water Authority, which has “not had much luck in recent years getting what they want under the current legal and regulatory framework. Why? Because what they want is to facilitate unsustainable over-pumping of the state’s fragile, limited groundwater resources.”

She adds, “ The problem –– for all of us –– is that they want water that either doesn’t exist or already belongs to someone else.”

Johnson further charges that the change in law would grant the state engineer “czar-like powers to unilaterally choose winners and losers without regard to senior water rights holders’ existing property rights … which would mire Nevada water rights owners and the state government in complex and unpredictable litigation for years.”

Assemblyman John Ellison of Elko released a statement saying the bills would constitute an unconstitutional “taking” of water rights and said a recent hearing saw a consensus of opposition from industry, ranchers and farmers and not one person testifying in support of either bill.

“We cannot allow an unelected bureaucrat to wield this much power over one of our state’s most precious resources. I’m reminded of the famous Mark Twain quote, ‘Whiskey is for drinking; water is for fighting over.’” Ellison said. “I will never stop fighting for the rights of senior property rights owners in my district and throughout Nevada.”

Though Twain probably never said that, it sounds like something he would say and is apropos to the current situation. AB 30 and AB51 need to be sent down the drain.

A version of this editorial appeared this week in some of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel,  Sparks Tribune and the Lincoln County Record.

Source: Editorial: No need for murky water law changes


Nye County Sheriff says she won’t enforce background checks law on most private gun sales

NYE COUNTY, Nev. – The controversy continues weeks after Governor Steve Sisolak, D-Nev. signed a bill requiring background checks on most private party gun sales.  However, Nye County’s sheriff said Thursday that she will not enforce the Senate Bill 143 when it takes effect in about 10 years.

Nye County Sheriff Sharon Wehrly sent a letter to Governor Sisolak saying in part:

“As sheriff of Nye County, I agree with Sheriff Watts: I will not participate in the enforcement of this new law…”

One of the supporters who helped with the efforts to pass the measure reacted to the sheriff’s letter during a taping of Politics Now.

Patrick Walker, Politics NOW host: “What do you think?”
Annette Magnus, Executive Director of Battle Born Progress: “I think that’s hilarious, and they’re going to enforce it eventually. We’ll take it to the courts, that’s fine, but at the end of the day, it’s going to get enforced, whether they like it or not.”

Wherley’s decision is much like the sheriffs of Pershing, White Pine, and Eureka counties. They say the new law creates a burden on law enforcement officers.  Plus, they feel the citizens don’t want it.

“And vote no on question 1,” said a 2016 NRA political ad featuring Washoe County Sheriff Chuck Allen.

He like many other rural sheriffs were not on board with Senate Bill 143 also known as Question 1, so it failed in the rural counties. However, the massive amount of support Question 1 received in Clark County allowed the measure to pass by less than a percentage point.

Former Attorney General Adam Laxalt put the bill on hold due to a requirement that the FBI perform the background checks.

Last month, lawmakers re-wrote and passed a revised version of the bill.

“It’s time to get serious about gun violence,” said Anne Germain, 1 October survivor.  “It’s time to enact the measure that Nevadans voted for.”

“Prohibited persons do not subject themselves to background checks,” said Steve Johnston, a licensed firearms dealer. “This law will not change that.”

Both Governor Sisolak and Attorney General Aaron Ford, D-NV responded to Sheriff Wehrly’s letter, saying they look forward to working with the sheriffs to review ways to enforce the law.

“My office and that of the attorney general are aware of the letters from multiple rural Nevada sheriffs regarding SB143,” Gov. Sisolak said. “While the law will not take effect until January 2020, I look forward to working with Attorney General Ford and local law enforcement over the next several months to review ways to enforce this law, as is the case with all other Nevada laws that elected officers are sworn to uphold.”

“As Nevada’s top law enforcement officer, I have a constitutional obligation to uphold the laws of the state,” Ford said. “That includes a law passed in 2015 by then-Senate Majority Leader, Republican Michael Roberson, to prevent counties from passing their own ordinances that conflicted with state gun laws. Republican Governor Sandoval signed this bill into law. In 2016, voters approved a ballot question requiring background checks on most firearm transfers. Just last month, the Nevada Legislature passed a similar law that closed the background check loophole. That law is set to go into effect in January, 2020. Between now and the effective date, I look forward to sitting down with sheriffs and other local law enforcement officials to discuss the best way implement the laws we have sworn to uphold.”

8 News NOW reached out to the Nye County Sheriff’s office for a follow-up interview with Sheriff Wehrly or to ask further questions, but our calls went unreturned.

Source: Nye County Sheriff says she won’t enforce background checks law on most private gun sales

Why a Republic and How do we Keep it?

By Doug Knowles ~ February 28th 2019

Why did our forefathers, give us a republic?

It was not easy for them to agree on the best form of government for the newly liberated nation.  They did much research, analysis, and debate to come to the final definition of our Constitutional Republic.

A large portion of the consideration was to the understanding of the failures of other efforts both currently and in history, and how those failures would be prevented.

The types of governments they had to consider at that time, were vulnerable to and ended in rebellion and chaos.  They looked at the failures of the ability of the ruled to rule themselves.  Their ultimate goal became the concept of Governoring by those that are being Governed.

Chaos, being the absolute enemy of any government, how could they keep chaos in check. Balance the powers of the governing and the governed.

From this, the concept of a Constitutional Republic was born.  A form of government for the people and by the people. Throughout history, the attempts at pure democracy also ultimately failed in chaos — the inability to control the leadership by the governed.

The separation of powers with checks and balances allowing for organized intervention when the balance of power or control becomes detrimental to the republic was what would be attempted.

The branches of Government were organized to define not only responsibility but also accountability.

The legislature would be the body by which laws and fine tuning of the government would take place as well as the control of the spending.

To control chaos, they created a House of Representatives and a Senate. Each state would have two senators elected by the people. Each state would have an equal number of representatives to the population divided into equal districts of the population.

This was done to balance the legislative branch of government, between the two types of representation — equality of the states and the separate equality of the population as a whole. Last but not least, the decisions approved by both bodies have the President as a check and balance to veto.

The executive branch was created to operate the functions of governing based on the rules put in place by the legislature. It includes a President and Vice President elected by the states through a process called the electoral college. The today electoral college consists of 538 electors each having a vote. An absolute majority of 270 electoral votes is required to determine the President and Vice President, team.

Electors are chosen by a method provided in each state’s constitution, and a number of electors equal to the representatives and senators combined representing the state in the legislature.

A national election for the President and Vice President team is held in each state. However, the members representing the state may be chosen by other methods.  It is presumed, that the votes of the electoral college members will represent the results of the state’s election but is not required; it is based upon each state’s constitution.

A third, branch of the government, the Judicial, was created to be an arbiter between not only the Executive and Legislative branches, but between the government and the people as well as between the people.

Power and Control

In our Constitutional Republic, anything not covered in the constitution is left to the states. However, the states must yield to the constitution of the republic in the constitution of the state.

As the States, Counties and Cities were formed; they were encouraged to follow a similar approach for the same reasons that a republic was chosen.

The Model from the republic was separately elected branches and something similar to a legislature or commission or council.  Most states have an Executive Branch; A Governor and a successor, a Judicial Branch; an Attorney General and a Legislature; Assembly and Senate.

At the county levels things change, the legislature is replaced by a council or commission, but in most cases, the judicial, and law enforcement are still elected by the people making them a separate branch elected by the people.

The county, being the closest government to the people, has the ultimate jurisdiction and constitutional protection for the people.

The sheriff has the authority to stand between the people and any of the governments any issue of natural rights protected or not by the constitution of the republic.

Why and How are we the people losing the Power and Control

The only way we as individuals lose Power and Control is either delegating it or allowing to be taken. The constitution protects your ability to vote in or out the folks that you are delegating the power and control to.

Simple process until we allow it to be changed.

So far we have described what is referred to as the Layer Cake Republic. Each layer of government has controls that define them, and each layer has power and controls that are defined by the layers above or below.

Then comes what we call the Marble Cake Republic. This concept describes what we are seeing happen in the structure of government today.

Examples that turn the Layer Cake Republics to Marble Cake Republics

Starting in the legislatures, we find that they are delegating the power and controls we have given them to executive branch bureaucracies. When this happens, we as voters lose our power and control as our elected officials have delegated those powers to non-elected bureaucrats.

Anytime one of our Powers and Controls gets delegated to a non-elected official we lose our power and control of our vote.

Now comes the regional Boards and Commissions.  An example would be a regional water board. The member cities agree to create a board/commission for the purpose of making decisions and rules about water issues. This transfers the power and control of an agency. They appoint representatives to the board from each member city/county.

There go the powers and control of electing those that represent your interests on those matters.

Bad court decisions applied globally are another culprit.

A court decision, Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533 (1964), forced western states like here in Nevada to change how senators are elected and allocated to the counties.  The legislature in Nevada was originally set up like the federal government, with a senator allocated for each county and the assembly members elected by district based on population. Now the senators are determined by districts created based on population.

This change had the effect of giving a majority of senators and assemblymen to the largest populated county in the state.  My county here in NYE shares both an assemblyman and senator with five other counties districts.  The Rural counties are no longer represented fairly.