Hearings on Fallon leukemia cluster start second week of XGR | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Hearings on Fallon leukemia cluster start second week of XGR

BRENDAN RILEY, Associated Press Writer

CARSON CITY – Nevada lawmakers will open the second week of the 2001 session with hearings into a strange cluster of childhood leukemia cases in the small Navy and farming town of Fallon.

The Assembly Committee on Natural Resources, Agriculture and Mining is holding the hearings, which continue Tuesday and Wednesday, on 11 leukemia cases linked to the Fallon area.

Normally, the rate of such cases would be about three in every 100,000 people. About 25,000 people live in Churchill County, which encompasses Fallon.

The state Health Division last year began investigating the cases, and a computer analysis found that most of the children had lived in or around Fallon, 60 miles east of here, for some period between 1996 and 1999.

Health officials and Fallon residents have speculated about a wide range of potential causes, including agricultural chemicals, jet fuel dumping by planes at the nearby Fallon Naval Air Station, and high levels of arsenic in area groundwater.

Also Monday, Assembly Judiciary on Monday will review a state program designed to keep track of sex offenders once they’re released from prison.

Legislative money committees will open the week with more review of Gov. Kenny Guinn’s $3.85 billion budget, focusing on spending plans of elected officials including the attorney general, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, controller and treasurer.

Reviews of those offices, by the Assembly Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees, will continue on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Senate Judiciary’s agenda includes discussion of a measure dealing with visiting rights for grandparents and others who aren’t the actual parents in split-up families. And Assembly Judiciary will consider a bill restricting the use of laser pointers.

Also Tuesday, Senate and Assembly Taxation members will go over various bill drafts dealing with taxes. Guinn says he won’t support any new taxes this year, although Sen. Joe Neal, D-North Las Vegas, is continuing his push for higher taxes on major casinos.

Tuesday’s hearings also include reviews by Senate and Assembly budget subcommittees of various human services and public safety spending plans, including a family-to-family program that Guinn inherited from former Gov. Bob Miller.

The lawmakers also will review spending plans for family resource centers and aging services programs.

The budget subcommittees will continue their reviews on Thursday, looking at more human services programs dealing with communicable disease control, childhood immunization and uses of funds from a national tobacco settlement.

Also Thursday, subcommittees will look at conservation and resource budgets including the bistate Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and a program initially set up to help preserve Nevada’s wild horse herds.

The state’s Department of Information Technology is up for a budget review on Friday.

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