and state, a continuing debate. An 8-foot high cross that was
erected beside U.S. Highway 50 in memory of murder victim Krystal Steadman,
was recently removed by the State. The State of Nevada is planning hearings
in 2004 to establish a policy on roadside memorials, meanwhile the Nevada
Dept. of Transportation had the cross removed because they were informed
by a Reno attorney that they might face legal action regarding whether
the cross violated the separation between church and state.
Bonds to finance new local schools. The Washoe County school board unanimously voted in favor of issuing $55 million bonds to fund construction and improvement costs of educational buildings. Precisely how the money is to be spent has not been decided, but Trustees have some tough decisions to make before their January meeting, when the allocation of these funds is likely to be agreed.
Nevada Legislature Votes to Reform Medical Liability. Both houses of the Nevada State Legislature approved two measures designed to lower malpractice insurance premiums for Nevada doctors. The Senate voted 13-8 for a doctors-backed bill limiting lawyer fees and removing two exceptions from Nevada's cap on pain-and-suffering jury awards. The Democrat-controlled Assembly unanimously passed an insurance reform measure that would prevent insurers from raising their premiums in certain circumstances. Both bills are likely to need significant amendments in order to stand a chance of becoming law.
Douglas County cleared to purchase BLM land. Carson City's protest over the proposed sale of BLM land to Douglas County for commercial development has been rejected by Assistant Interior Secretary, Rebecca Watson. Carson City officials had argued that the Douglas County proposal was flawed since it did not address economic and environmental impacts on the capital, in particular, loss of sales tax revenue. They are also concerned that the plan does not adequately address the impact of increased traffic and housing needs. Douglas County has been working with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management for more than four years to acquire the 146-acre site on the county line for commercial development.