'It's possible lightning can strike': Cannabis-focused congressman says legalization outlook cloudy short-term, bright long-term

Democratic Rep. Earl Blumenauer is one of the most prominent voices advocating for marijuana legalization in Congress, to the point that he became one of four founding members of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus. He took time last week to answer questions from The Nevada Independent about the outlook for marijuana legislation in Washington D.C. Here are some takeaways from the conversation.
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In effort to address drought, Dept. of Agriculture funds water conservation projects for farmers, ranchers

During the last legislative session, the Nevada Department of Agriculture received a $500,000 appropriation to fund conservation projects for farmers and ranchers across the state. Under the appropriation, the Nevada Department of Agriculture has funded 11 conservation projects to decrease demands on streams, rivers and aquifers throughout the state.
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Criminal Justice

Can better data help keep prison population down? Nevada's going to try

Clearer answers on why there’s an uptick in the prison population could be on the way now that the state has partnered with the Crime and Justice Institute. The organization’s staff will be spending about a year making large-scale data requests from courts, prisons and other agencies, interviewing people who work in the criminal justice system and helping Nevada leaders develop policy recommendations that could become law through the 2019 legislative session.
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            Megan Messerly
            August 10th, 2018 - 2:15am
            The Washoe County School District is poised to renew on Tuesday a contract with Renown Hospital and its insurance arm to provide health care to teachers and other district employees, but the hospital’s biggest competitor, Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center, is crying foul over the process, saying it can provide care more cost-effectively and wasn’t given a fair shot to prove it can do so.
            Two groups seeking to boost Heller spending combined $1.4 million in ad campaigns against Rosen
            Humberto Sanchez
            August 10th, 2018 - 2:00am
            Two groups aligned with Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell have unveiled a combined $1.4 million in Nevada ad buys against Democrat Jacky Rosen, including one that paints her as insensitive to Vietnam veterans suffering from exposure to Agent Orange.
            Laxalt using data firm supported by Koch brothers and seen as potential competitor to Republican Party's efforts
            Riley Snyder
            August 9th, 2018 - 2:15am
            According to campaign finance reports, Laxalt is one of only two candidates in Nevada to report making payments to a company called i360, a for-profit data services company with close links to the Koch donor network. According to a 2014 Politico report, the company combines publicly available voter rolls with consumer information purchased from credit bureaus and social network profiles, giving campaigns access to information ranging from estimated income and voting frequency to what kind of car they drive.
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            Megan Messerly
            August 9th, 2018 - 2:00am
            Three chambers of commerce in Southern Nevada are banding together to take advantage of a new Trump administration rule that makes it easier for small businesses to collectively purchase health insurance.
            Assembly candidate Dennis Hof loses Nye County brothel license; commissioners cite unresolved violations
            Michelle Rindels
            August 8th, 2018 - 11:44am
            Nye County authorities say workers at Republican Assembly candidate Dennis Hof’s Love Ranch Brothel surrendered their work cards, brothel license and liquor license “without a problem” Tuesday after commissioners voted not to renew the permits.
            As wildfires rage, lawmakers call for plans to protect the Tahoe forest, address realities of climate change on the lake
            Daniel Rothberg
            August 8th, 2018 - 2:15am
            At the 22nd Annual Lake Tahoe Summit in Incline Village on Tuesday, looming over the event was science that links climate change as creating a more extreme wildfires. For weeks, this challenge has loomed over the Tahoe Basin in the most literal sense, with visibility and air quality on the lake thickened by smoke from massive wildfires in Northern California.
            Indy Fact Check: Rooftop solar would change, but likely not be eliminated, if energy choice ballot question passes
            Riley Snyder
            August 8th, 2018 - 2:00am
            The Coalition to Defeat Question 3 (which has been almost entirely funded by the state’s incumbent utility, NV Energy) has seized the politically popular issue of rooftop solar as a possible casualty if the ballot measure were to pass in 2018.
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            August 7th, 2018 - 4:43pm
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            Indy Q&A: Amodei faults his party for punting too much to executive branch
            Luz Gray, Jackie Valley, Megan Messerly, Riley Snyder and Michelle Rindels
            August 7th, 2018 - 2:00am
            Mark Amodei, the outspoken lone Republican in the state’s House delegation, also told The Nevada Independent in a 90-minute editorial board-style interview on Monday that he would support some kind of a state-sponsored or state-run health insurance plan in lieu of the government assisting major companies such as Aetna or UnitedHealthcare, and that Nevada’s Sen. Dean Heller should have done a better job explaining his votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act last year.