Las Vegas Sun

June 16, 2021

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Building a government project? Here, have a raise

The hourly wage for most workers on public construction projects will rise by a dollar or two on Oct. 1.

State Labor Commissioner Michael Tanchek has released the prevailing wage rates for nonresidential public construction projects based on information supplied by 635 contractors.

The amounts vary by county and job. For example, basic hourly rates for carpenters in Clark County will increase from $47.61 to 48.70; for electrician linemen from $50.02 to $51.95; for flaggers from $39.69 to $41.44; for truck drivers from $43.85 to $46.13; and for roofers from $30.08 to $31.83.

Though the state’s high unemployment rate would seem to put downward pressure on wages, Tanchek said wages will rise because they are based on a survey of what the contractors are paying. Clark County’s heavy union presence affects the average and such workers may have cost-of-living increases built into their contracts, he said.

The prevailing wage includes the basic hourly rate of pay and cost of benefits such as health coverage, pensions and vacations.

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The Nevada Highway Patrol’s six drug-sniffing dogs have during the past nine months found hundreds of pounds of narcotics and more than $2.5 million in cash.

Touting those results, the Highway Patrol went before the Legislative Interim Finance Committee this week to request permission to acquire eight more dogs — six for drug detection and two to search for bombs and explosive materials.

The committee on Thursday approved adding only three dogs to the team.

“It’s all at no cost to the taxpayer,” Jearld Hafen, director of the state Public Safety Department, said before the meeting.

Canine-related costs are paid with the seized money. The officers who handle the dogs receive an extra 5 percent, but are paid from the state highway fund, not the general fund.

The program was launched with $123,000 in donations and help from the Nevada Friends of K9s.

Of the six dogs now working for the department, four are in Las Vegas and two are in Reno. The three added dogs will be stationed in rural Nevada.

Gov. Jim Gibbons honored the canine officers for their accomplishments in a ceremony here Tuesday.

One dog located $1.6 million in cash in the Las Vegas Valley in the largest drug money seizure in Nevada history. Collectively they have uncovered 280 pounds of marijuana, 24.9 pounds of meth, 14.8 pounds of cocaine and 14.1 grams of heroin since December.

The dogs were kept in their vehicles during the ceremony out of fear they would knock over posters and sniff about looking for drugs. One was let out on a leash and Gibbons petted the dog.

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The Nevada Supreme Court has ruled that the defendant in a sexual assault civil case can question the alleged teenage victim about her sexual past.

In criminal cases the accused is prohibited from presenting evidence of previous sexual conduct by the alleged victim to challenge the victim’s credibility.

The Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision written by Chief Justice James Hardesty, said the rape shield law “is plain and unambiguous and applies only to criminal proceedings and not to civil actions.”

The decision did say, however, that the district court may limit discovery in civil sexual assault cases.

The civil suit was filed in Las Vegas in 2006 by the mother of a 14-year-old girl who accused 20-year-old Amir Ahmad of raping her daughter. The suit alleges the daughter continues to suffer physical, emotional and mental effects.

Ahmad admitted having sexual intercourse with the teenager but says it was consensual.

District Judge Elissa Cadish granted a defense motion to permit an independent medical examination to address the claims of emotional damages. The mother then filed a motion to prevent Ahmad and independent psychologists from questioning her daughter about her sexual past.

Judge Cadish allowed the Ahmad team to question the teenager and the mother appealed to the Supreme Court.

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