Nevada Looks to OK Lane Splitting

A Nevada Sheriff’s and Chief’s Association official told lawmakers the chances of rear-end collisions would be “significantly less” with the passage of a bill to allow a motorcyclist to drive between lanes in traffic jams.  Bob Roshak of the association says he believes it would be safe as the bill is written.

The Nevada Senate transportation committee took up the measure on Friday that would allow the motorcyclist to drive up to 10 mph faster than slow-moving traffic, and up to a maximum of 30 mph. Lane splitting would only be allowed when there are at least two lanes going the same direction.

The Assembly passed the measure last week. Committee chair Democratic Senator Mark Manendo of Las Vegas said the bill will be brought for a vote before the next deadline.

Currently, the law only allows on-duty law enforcement staff to split lanes.

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Nevada Honors State’s Oldest Lawmaker

The oldest Nevada legislator paid lawmakers a visit to the Senate on Thursday, which passed a resolution commemorating him.  Wilbur Faiss is 101 years old and served two terms in the Senate from 1976 to 1984.

Faiss came to Nevada in 1944 and was a small business owner in what was then an unincorporated area of Clark County.  Faiss was also a volunteer firefighter and one of the first workers at the Nevada Test Site.

He said he’s especially proud to have voted for the federal Equal Rights Amendment in 1977.  Faiss helped the measure clear the senate, but it would die in the assembly, however he said it helped pave the way for many laws intended to prevent discrimination.

In addition to being a statesman, Faiss is known for having one of the longest marriages in America.  He and his wife, Theresa, were married for seventy-nine years, until she passed away in 2012 at 97.

Faiss said he hopes to pay the Nevada State Legislature another visit during the next session — he will be 103.

Assembly GOP Renews Opposition to Nevada Mining Tax

Assembly Republicans are renewing their opposition to a plan being pushed by some Senate colleagues to seek a 10 percent tax on Nevada’s gold and silver mine operators. Members of the Assembly GOP caucus say singling out the mining industry for more money would hurt rural economies and stifle job growth when the state is still recovering from the recession.

Six senators led by Republican Minority Leader Michael Roberson of Henderson are proposing a mining tax increase as an alternative to a 2 percent business tax that will be on the 2014 ballot. Senate Republicans said the plan would raise $600 million during the two-year budget cycle to be used to fund education.

Meanwhile, Nevada sales rose 4.2 percent in February, compared with the same month last year. The Department of Taxation claims, merchants sold nearly $3.4 billion in goods during the month, of which the state collected $265,000 in gross sales and use taxes.  Statewide, 13 of Nevada’s 17 counties reported increased taxable sales.

Sailor Who Provided Iwo Jima Flag Dies at 90

Allan Wood spend nearly five decades as a technical artist and public information officer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge, before passing away April 18th at his Sierra Madre home from congestive heart failure.

Born in Pasadena on May 3, 1922, he earned a bachelor’s degree in history at UC Berkeley and was a talented watercolorist, who studied at the Art Center in Pasadena before joining JPL in 1958. Wood, however played a critical role in one of World War II’s most important events.

It was on Iwo Jima, February 23rd, 1945, that five Marines and a Corpsman planted an American flag on Mt. Suribachi.  Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal captured a picture of that moment which would inspire monuments and made the flag-raisers instantly famous.

Although the 22-year-old Navy officer, wasn’t among them, it was Wood who provided the flag.

“The fact that there were men among us who were able to face a situation like Iwo where human life is so cheap, is something to make humble those of us who were so very fortunate not to be called upon to endure any such hell,” he wrote in a 1945 letter to a Marine general who asked for details about the flag.

A squad of Marine’s scaled the 500-foot peak and hoisted the flag from a length of blasted water pipe.  This was actually the second raising of a U.S. flag on the mountain, as Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal, who was witnessing the battle, asked for the first one as a memento.

Wood was in charge of communications on LST-779, a landing ship that moved tanks and heavy equipment onto Iwo Jima.  Beached near the base of Suribachi, his ship was boarded by a Marine looking for the biggest flag he could find and Wood handed over a 37-square-foot flag he had procured in a Pearl Harbor Navy depot months before.

Sixty-eight-thousand Americans died taking the eight square miles island.  Japanese losses included 21,844 dead.

“The raising of that flag on Suribachi means a Marine Corps for the next 500 years,” Forrestal would tell Marine commander, Lt. General Holland P. “Howlin’ Mad” Smith as Wood’s flag rose into sight.

Nevada Senate Looks at Candidate Residency Law

Nevada lawmakers are working to update candidate residency laws after a judge ruled a candidate for the Assembly didn’t live in the district he was running to represent. Assembly Minority Leader Pat Hickey of Reno presented AB 407 to the Senate Legislative Operations and Elections Committee Thursday.

The bill aims to clarify that simply owning a residence in a district does not alone qualify someone to run for that district’s seat.  It would mandate that candidates live in the district they seek to represent.

Lawmakers promised this bill after a judge ruled Assemblyman Andrew Martin of Las Vegas did not live in Assembly District 9. The judge said Martin owned a condominium in the district, but actually lived elsewhere.

It has already been approved by the Assembly.

Governors Meet over Lake Tahoe

Nevada’s Governor Brian Sandoval met with California’s Governor Jerry Brown to talk about Lake Tahoe and renewable energy, Thursday. The meeting comes under the cloud of Nevada’s threat to leave the decades-old Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, a bipartisan group that governs environmental controls and development in the scenic basin that straddles the two states.

A bill pending in the Nevada Legislature seeks to repeal the law passed two years ago. But officials in the Sandoval administration say keeping the threat alive to exit TRPA will make sure both states coöperate on Tahoe issues. Details of the meeting have not been released.

Nevada Considering Expansion of Scholarship Program

State lawmakers are considering expanding an annual scholarship meant to help future Nevada teachers finance their senior year of college from one recipient to two. Republican Senator Ben Kieckhefer of Reno presented SB 102 to members of the Assembly Education Committee Wednesday.

Currently, the Kenny C. Guinn Memorial Scholarship provides up to $4,500 to one Nevada college senior majoring in education. The bill allows a second Memorial Scholarship annually, with awards going to students from northern and southern Nevada schools that offer a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Education.

The scholarship is in honor of former Governor Kenny Guinn . It’s funded by donations received following Guinn’s death in 2010.

Guinn established the state’s Millennium Scholarship program that provides qualifying Nevada high school students with money to attend college.