In their 2021 session, our lawmakers in Carson City passed Bills governing all areas of the law even during the pandemic they were focused on the issues facing our State. Many of these laws focused on our public lands and natural resources here in Nevada. In fact, there were so many Bills passed in this area that this topic will be two blogs, and this is part two of two. Our legislature was busy addressing many issues regarding wildlife and endangered species on our state. From protecting trees to ancient burial grounds, from saving water to saving the public from wild animals, our legislature was hard at work tackling these issues. The following is one of two of a summary of the Bills regarding Natural Resources that were passed by our Nevada legislature during the 2021 session.
Natural resources (Part 2)
Assembly Bill 103: This bill changes the rules for digging on private land where a prehistoric Indian burial site is located. Permits will be issued for digging as long as it is not in areas of a property that contain a burial site. Which, practically, who would want to dig up a gravesite. However, for commercial business and utilities, it will take some research to determine if a known burial site exists on the property. This bill provides, instead, that such a permit is not required to engage in a lawful activity on such private lands if: (1) the activity is exclusively for purposes other than the excavation of a prehistoric Indian burial site; and (2) the activity occurs only on a portion of the private lands that does not contain the known prehistoric Indian burial site. Typical government verbiage is contained in this statue. Practically, it is likely unknown where many of these sites are located.
Effective October 1, 2021.
Assembly Bill 171: This bill protects Rocky Mountain junipers also known as swamp cedars in the Bahsahwahbee Traditional Cultural Property in White Pine County. Effective July 1, 2021. Section 1 of this bill declares that it is the policy of this State to protect the Spring Valley population of Rocky Mountain junipers, known as “swamp cedars,” that occur in White Pine County within the Bahsahwahbee Traditional Cultural Property. Sections 1 and 2 of this bill make it unlawful for any swamp cedar within that property to willfully or negligently be cut, destroyed, mutilated or removed without first obtaining a special permit from the State Forester Fire warden. Section 2 also revises the existing exemption for Indians native to Nevada who gather flora for certain reasons to remove the requirement that such Indians be “native to Nevada. “ And in case you are wondering, below is a Rocky Mountain Juniper:
Assembly Bill 200: This is another bill drafted to address the needs of the pandemic and permits veterinary telemedicine. Veterinary telemedicine” means the use of medical information exchanged from one site to another via electronic communications regarding the health status of an animal or a group of animals and includes, without limitation, communication via telephone, video, a mobile application or an online platform on an Internet website.” Imagine your pet is feeling ill and you are in compromised health or quarantined. Your Vet can now see your pet virtually and speak with you to diagnosis and issue prescriptions for your pet.
Effective October 1, 2021.
Assembly Bill 356: This bill requires the Southern Nevada Water Authority to Develop a plan to identify and facilitate the removal of existing nonfunctional grass within the service area of the Southern Nevada Water Authority on property that is not zoned exclusively or a single-family residence. This means that the Southern Nevada Water Authority can now have policing authority to require businesses to remove unnecessary grass. Clearly this bill is aimed at combatting the severe drought facing our city. The plan must, without limitation:
(1) Establish phases for the removal of nonfunctional turf based on categories of water users; and
(2) Establish deadlines within the service area of the
Southern Nevada Water Authority for existing customers to remove nonfunctional turf on property that is not zoned exclusively for a single-family residence before December 31, 2026.
Effective immediately for purposes of implementation.
Senate Bill 52: Creates a program to award a dark sky designation to locations where stargazing isn’t affected by lights to localities, parks, reserves and other state entities. A dark-sky designation is an area, generally surrounding a park or observatory, that restricts artificial light pollution. The primary purpose of the dark-sky movement is generally to promote astronomy. It is often referred to in different terms and describes areas that national organizations have worked to have designated as “Dark Sky” areas. In fact, the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) uses International Dark Sky Reserve (IDSR) and International Dark Sky Park (IDSP). A third designation, International Dark Sky Sanctuary, was introduced in 2015. This is an entire movement that I had never heard of, and many states have made “dark sky designations.” This is one of the reasons I enjoy writing blogs is to learn new things. I have never heard of “Dark Sky Designation” and there is actually an entire organization dedicated to this movement.
Sections effective May 10, 2021, October 1, 2021.
Senate Bill 344: This bill bars people from letting wild animals come into direct contact with others. I can note imagine that somewhere in our vast statutes that this was not already illegally. If you own a tiger, it cannot get loose. (this is where I need some emojis) Section 7 of this bill prohibits a person from allowing a dangerous wild animal, as defined in section 4 of this bill, to come in direct contact with a member of the public. “Dangerous wild animal” means any of the following live animals held in captivity:
1. All elephants from the genera Elephas and Loxodonta.
2. All species of aardwolves and hyenas.
3. All species of primates, except humans.
4. The following species from the family Canidae:
(a) Gray wolves (Canis lupus).
(b) Red wolves (Canis rufus) that have been bred in captivity.
5. The following species from the family Felidae: (a) Cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus), including hybrids thereof.
(b) Clouded leopards (Neofelis nebulosa and Neofelis diardi),
including hybrids thereof. (c) Jaguars (Panthera onca), including hybrids thereof.
(d) Leopards (Panthera pardus), including hybrids thereof.
(e) Lions (Panthera leo), including hybrids thereof. (f) Mountain lions (Puma concolor) that have been bred in
captivity, including hybrids thereof.
(g) Snow leopards (Panthera uncia), including hybrids thereof.
(h) Tigers (Panthera tigris), including hybrids thereof.
6. The following species from the family Ursidae: (a) American black bears (Ursus americanus) that have been
bred in captivity.
(b) Asiatic black bears (Ursus thibetanus).
(c) Brown bears (Ursus arctos).
(d) Giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca).
(e) Polar bears (Ursus maritimus).
(f) Sloth bears (Melursus ursinus).
(g) Spectacled bears (Tremarctos ornatus), including hybrids thereof.
(h) Sun bears (Helarctos malayanus)
So, in short, keep your polar bear locked up!!!!
Effective July 1, 2021.
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