Behind the Bar: COVID in the Legislature, pot for pets, cuts to tobacco prevention and revisiting welfare reform – The Nevada Independent

Behind the Bar is The Nevada Independent’s newsletter devoted to comprehensive and accessible coverage of the 2021 Legislature. 

In this edition: A positive COVID test comes right as the mass vaccination campaign inside the building begins. Plus, details on the “pot for pets” bill, ending a 90s-era ban on people with drug charges from accessing state welfare programs, and concerns over cuts to tobacco prevention funding. And, the return of fan-favorite feature “Carson City Restaurant Spotlight.”

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I suppose it was only a matter of time before COVID-19 came (again) to the Legislature.

If you missed the news yesterday, a person inside the Legislative Building in Carson City tested positive for the virus earlier this week. Contact tracing is underway, and there wasn’t any additional identifying information in the email sent to Legislative Counsel Bureau staff on Wednesday morning.

Even with lobbyists and members of the public still not allowed in the building, there’s still somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 to 400 people between legislators, staff and the small press pool spending hours and hours inside the building. That’s a lot of people to keep track of, especially with many lawmakers flying back to Las Vegas on weekends.

I would be surprised if legislative operations are significantly affected by the positive test — committees are already held virtually, so someone who needs to quarantine could still theoretically participate in meetings. There’s also rapid COVID testing available in the legislative parking garage, with people in the building required to be tested as least once a week.

Lawmakers have also adopted

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