Gov. Steve Sisoak signed 46 bills into law Tuesday, including a bill to strengthen protections for the swamp cedars, an area in Spring Valley considered sacred to Shoshone tribes.
Assembly Bill 171 would make it illegal to cut or damage any of the Rocky Mountain junipers that grow in an area known locally as the swamp cedars without a permit.
The bill was supported by native organizers, conservation groups and tribes, including the Confederated Tribes of the Goshute Reservation. The bill, however, received some pushback from state agencies who argued that protection of the swamps would be better left to the Bureau of Land Management.
For tribes, the land serves as a ceremonial place to gather, pray and celebrate. The site also serves as a living memorial for massacres in 1859, 1863 and 1897, in which hundreds of Shoshone people were killed by the military and local settlers.
Sisolak also signed two criminal justice reform bills pushed by Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford, on the one-year anniversary of the killing of George Floyd.
Assembly Bill 58 authorizes the Attorney General’s office to investigate whether a state agency has displayed a pattern of depriving a person of certain rights, privileges, or immunities, regardless of policy at the federal level.
Sisolak also signed bills to bolster mental and physical health support for first responders, mothers and children.
Assembly Bill 96, helps nonprofits establish programs to offer peer support counseling for first responders who are experiencing mental health issues as a result of the nature of their work
Assembly Bill 119, requires the Maternal Mortality Review Committee to review disparities in maternal mortality based on race, ethnicity, age and geographic region, allowing the state to look at the issues and make policy recommendations to reduce disparities.
Senate Bill 146 requires coordination between the medical and mental health care providers for children in foster care in Nevada.
On Wednesday Sisolak signed 12 additional bills, including four pieces of legislation aimed at increasing services for veterans in Nevada.