Recent mass shootings spur long-running Congressional efforts for legislative response – The Nevada Independent


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Despite a history of inaction, the two US senators from Nevada hope Congress will pass gun control legislation following recent deadly shootings, including at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 children and two teachers were killed.

Optimism for a legislative response surged Thursday after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) endorsed bipartisan talks on a gun bill.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), recently returned from Uvalde, met with Senate Democrats, including Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), to begin talks on a compromise gun violence bill. The talks will continue through the Memorial Day holiday week.

Legislation under discussion includes a bill requiring universal background checks, which would extend checks to private and internet sales. Lawmakers will also explore ways to encourage states to enact so-called red flag laws, which allow law enforcement or family members to ask a judge to remove a person’s firearms. as a threat.

Despite a growing number of incidents of gun violence — a 98% increase in active shooter situations between 2017 and 2021, according to an FBI report — Congress has been unable to respond. Part of that is due to the filibuster in the Senate, which requires 60 votes to overcome.

Any bipartisan deal will require 10 GOP votes to thwart any stonewalling. But some Republicans, including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), have argued that no new gun laws are needed and that instead, schools should be toughened up to make it harder to entry of intruders.

In a recent interview, Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) said she hopes a deal can be brokered. She said she spoke with Murphy and cited Nevada as an example for the nation. It is a gun-friendly state where gun owners can openly carry guns without special permission. Gun owners may also have a concealed weapon, although a permit is required.

But the state also has a background check law that requires peer-to-peer gun transfers to be done through the Department of Public Safety. Under federal law, no background checks are required for private and Internet firearm sales.

The Silver State also has a red flag law and a ban on so-called “ghost guns,” which are homemade firearms without a serial number.

“It can be done,” Cortez Masto said. “We can find a way to really look at responsible gun ownership and at the same time make sure we’re keeping people safe, including children in schools.”

Voters approved Nevada’s substantive law as a ballot question in 2016, but barely. A margin of less than 10,000 votes out of over 1.1 million votes separated the initiative from defeat, losing in every county except the populous Clark County. The law was also only implemented in 2020, after the FBI refused to carry out the checks as originally planned.

The issue of gun violence strikes a chord with Nevadans. Cortez Masto (D-NV) said the shootings at a Buffalo grocery store, a Taiwanese church in Laguna Woods, Calif., and an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, are reminiscent of the Oct. 1, 2017 shooting at the Route 91 Harvest festival. in Las Vegas.

“It’s heartbreaking,” Cortez Masto said. “When I hear the term ‘family reunification centre’, it reminds me of all the grief I saw some of these families encounter on October 1.”

Nevada is still recovering from the trauma of the Route 91 Harvest festival shooting that left 58 people dead – the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history.

The problem is important for representative Dina Titus (D-NV), whose district includes the shooting site. She has made a habit of highlighting October 1 during the President’s State of the Union address. Each member of Congress is authorized to invite one guest to the speech. Since 2018, Titus has left his seat vacant in tribute to the victims of the shooting.

Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) also expressed cautious optimism that bipartisan legislation would pass.

“As a mom, I am heartbroken by the pain that so many parents and children are feeling right now,” she said in a comment provided by her office. “As a senator, I am determined to find a way forward for legislation to reduce gun violence. We cannot continue to be the only country in the world where this is happening.

Travel abroad is slow to recover

About 1 million foreign visitors came to Las Vegas last year, according to preliminary data from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. The tourism agency’s marketing director, Kate Wik, shared the figure during a House Homeland Security Committee hearing held at Harry Reid International Airport (LAS) on Tuesday.

The 1 million figure is significantly lower than the 5.7 million international visitors in 2019 before the pandemic.

“That’s about 20% lower than pre-COVID volumes,” Wik said. “Before the pandemic, Las Vegas consistently hosted more international overnight visitors than any other US city that is not a major port of entry, and ranked fifth among US destinations for international visitors.”

International travelers are crucial to the state’s economy as they tend to spend about 40% more than domestic travelers, Wik said.

She believes the number of international trips will increase with the advent of Las Vegas’ increased sports footprint, including hosting the Super Bowl in 2024 and Formula 1 races in 2023.

“The expanding scope of sports and entertainment will continue to attract visitors from around the world,” Wik said.

Titus, a member of the committee that invited the panel to Las Vegas, called on the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and US Customs and Border Protection (CPB) to work with the airport authority and airlines to improve the passenger experience. travelers and avoid delays. .

“As we try to get more international flights into Las Vegas, I think it will be important that we maybe look at these arrangements to see if we can improve them in any way,” Titus said.

Clark County Aviation Director Rosemary Vassiliadis, who also appeared before the panel, called on Congress to adequately fund the TSA and CPB to avoid delays due to understaffing as air travel continue to recover.

“We need a full complement of CBP and TSA personnel for Las Vegas to both recover and further develop its core economic base,” Vassiliadis said.

Auxin Solar tariff case

Rosen, Cortez Masto, Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) and Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) gave speeches in the Senate on Tuesday to pressure the Commerce Department to quickly get rid of a grievance trademarked by San Jose, California based on solar auxin.

“I again call on the Department of Commerce and the White House to use every resource at their disposal to expedite this process and get American solar power — well, let’s get back on track,” Rosen said in his speech.

The company is asking for tariffs on solar panels assembled in Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia with parts from China. Auxin argues that these panels circumvent tariffs on Chinese solar panels.

Rosen, who also opposes tariffs on Chinese panels, argued that Auxin’s petition is driving up the cost and scarcity of solar panels, causing projects to be suspended or canceled in Nevada and elsewhere, which resulted in layoffs.

“In my home state of Nevada, NV Energy, the state’s largest electric utility, said this investigation is massively disrupting several Nevada solar projects that would provide low-cost electricity to more than 114,000 homes.” , Rosen said.

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, the solar industry employs about 6,000 people in Nevada.

Cortez Masto pointed to the suspension of projects and the impact resulting from the postponement of climate change goals.

“Do it quickly, so we can move on,” she told the administration in her speech.

Cortez Masto introduced a bill, the Reclaiming the Solar Supply Chain Act, to bolster domestic solar panel manufacturing. The measure would authorize $3 billion in grants and loans over 5 years to finance the construction of new or refurbished facilities to manufacture solar components. Currently, manufacturers in the US can only meet 15% of US solar project demand.

For a full look at the measures delegates supported or opposed this week, see The Nevada IndependentCongressional vote tracking and other information below.

SEN. Catherine Cortez Masto

Legislation sponsored:

S.4329 – A bill requiring the Secretary of Energy to implement a grant and loan program to support and expand the domestic solar component manufacturing supply chain, and to others purposes.

Co-sponsored legislation:

S.4347 – A bill requiring group health plans and group or individual health insurance coverage to cover over-the-counter contraceptives.

SEN. Jacky Rosen

Legislation sponsored:

S.4341 – A bill requiring the Government Accountability Office to publish a report on not-for-profit pharmaceutical organizations.

S.4336 – A bill requiring the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, to annually review and, if necessary, update updates guidance for industry and Food and Drug Administration personnel on medical device cybersecurity, and for other purposes.

S.4330 – A bill to amend the Public Health Services Act to authorize a loan repayment program to encourage medical specialists to serve in rural communities experiencing a shortage of medical specialists, and to others purposes.

Co-sponsored legislation:

S.4347 – A bill requiring group health plans and group or individual health insurance coverage to cover over-the-counter contraceptives.

S.4331 – A bill requiring a plan for emergency military assistance to Taiwan and other support for Taiwan’s defensive capabilities, and for other purposes.


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