Governor Signs Dark Skies Bill!
Senate Bill 52, a bill to help promote and preserve Nevada's uniquely dark skies, moved through the Nevada Legislature with bipartisan support and has been signed by the Governor! It was championed by Lieutenant Governor Kate Marshall and the new Nevada Office of Outdoor Recreation.
Thanks to all of you who logged on to the Legislature's website to voice your support for the bill - your action made a difference!
The new state program will complement the Dark Sky designations that are granted by the International Dark Sky Association (IDA). Nevada is already home to two IDA Dark Sky Places; Great Basin National Park is a Dark Sky Park, and the Massacre Rim Wilderness Study Area in far northern Washoe County is an International Dark Sky Sanctuary, one of only 14 in the world. Bill sponsors say the intent of the proposal is to amplify and celebrate the work of the IDA by creating a state-level dark sky designation, to educate the public about the value of conserving Nevada’s uniquely dark skies, and to promote stargazing to boost tourism in rural communities.
Governor Steve Sisolak signs SB52, the Dark Skies bill, with Lt. Gov. Kate Marshall and State Senator Donate Fabian looking on.
Now, keep reading for more information about the conservation agenda in the 2021 Nevada Legislature and bills and resolutions we urge you to support.
While the vast majority of publicly-owned lands in Nevada are managed by the federal government (the primary focus of Friends of Nevada Wilderness), the State government can also play very important roles in helping to conserve all public lands, state and federal. The Governor and legislators have a strong voice in reinforcing their constituents’ desire to conserve public lands, as they did with these resolutions and this letter opposing military expansions.
Here are some other highlights of the 2021 Legislative Session:
Nevada becomes 1st state to champion 30X30 Initiative
AJR3 (30x30 Initiative) - Urges various actions relating to the protection and conservation of land and water including protecting the Desert National Wildlife Refuge and establishing Avi Kwa Ame as a national monument.
AJR3 has passed the Legislature! According to the Nevada Conservation League "Nevada is the first in the country to pass legislation that commits to 30 by 30, paving the road for other states to adopt the conservation goal in response to scientific recommendations to address the current extinction, climate, and biodiversity crisis."
The international 30x30 Campaign is a global effort to conserve 30% of the planet’s land and water resources by 2030. On January 27, President Joe Biden issued an Executive Order addressing the 30x30 initiative, oil and gas leasing and renewable energy development.
Here are links to additional information about 30x30:
Other Bills and Resolutions that we supported that passed and were signed by the Governor:
AB378 (as amended) – Revises various provisions relating to public lands. This bill removes some inappropriate language in state statute regarding the state’s role in managing or acquiring certain public lands managed by the federal government and clarifies the role of the Nevada Division of State Lands and the State Land Use Planning Agency. It was signed by the Governor and goes into effect October 1, 2021.
AB211 – Establishes provisions relating to a plan to address impacts to wildlife. This bill requires tentative maps for subdivision of land for development be submitted to the Department of Wildlife and requires NDOW to submit comments on potential impacts on wildlife habitat that local jurisdictions must consider. It exempts jurisdictions that already have comprehensive wildlife habitat management plans (Clark). It passed on largely partisan votes and was signed by the Governor on June 4.
AB88 – Makes various changes relating to governmental entities. This bill requires school districts and other entities to adopt policies prohibiting the use of “certain racially discriminatory identifiers” and requires the State Board on Geographic Names to recommend changes to names of geographic features of places that are racially discriminatory. As amended, the bill also prohibits the sounding of sirens that are linked to historically discriminatory purposes. It passed with limited bipartisan support and was signed by the Governor on June 4.
AB72 – Revises provisions relating to the Nevada State Board on Geographic Names This bill adds a representative of the Nevada Indian Commission to the Board. It already includes a representative of the Intertribal Council. The bill had unanimous support in both chambers and was signed by the Governor in May.
AB95 – Revises the membership of the Legislative Committee on Public Lands. This bill adds a representative of the Intertribal Council of Nevada to the membership of the interim Committee on Public Lands. It passed the Legislature unanimously and was signed by the Governor in May.
AB171 - Providing certain protections for a certain population of Rocky Mountain Junipers. This bill makes it illegal to cut, destroy or remove plants known as “swamp cedars” that occur in White Pine County within the Bahsahwahbee Traditional Cultural Property without a proper permit. It received limited bipartisan support and was signed by the Governor in May.
- AJR4 - Urges Congress and the President of the United States to protect certain land containing swamp cedars in Spring Valley. This resolution received limited bipartisan support and passed the legislature. It does not require a governor’s signature.