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Measure advances push to leave Tahoe compact

CARSON CITY — Nevada lawmakers have a message for California: The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency has to change its ways or the Silver State may withdraw from the 1969 compact.

Approved minutes before the Legislature’s deadline to complete the session’s business by 1 a.m. Tuesday, Senate Bill 271 lays out a series of conditions the agency has to meet to keep the state from walking away.

Among the requirements: that TRPA update its decades-old regional development plan to take regional economic conditions into account and adopt the update by 2015. Failure to do so would give Nevada an out, unless the governor decides to extend the partnership through 2017.

The bill also requires a shift in the voting structure to give Nevada a greater say in the area.

Lawmakers and residents have complained TRPA, created by Congress, overwhelmingly tilts in California’s favor and drowns out Nevada’s development proposals. The agency oversees environmental protections and development in the Lake Tahoe Basin.

“This is not a casino bill, a rich bill or a poor people’s bill,” Assemblyman Kelly Kite, R-Minden, told the Assembly as Tuesday’s deadline neared. It is “a means of getting Nevada a voice it deserves.”

SB271 calls for an end to the existing voting structure the 14-member TRPA governing board needs to approve measures. California and Nevada each have seven members, and approvals require at least four members from each state to pass rules, regulations and regional plans. Development projects require nine votes, five from members in the state the project is located.

SB271 would change the voting requirements to nine members total to approve regulations and nine for projects with at least four members from the affected state. The bill also requires a legislative committee to review the financial and other ramifications Nevada would face if it withdrew from the agency and regulated its side of the land on its own.

The bill is now with the governor.

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