July | August 2017



Nevada Community Colleges to Adopt Merit Pay System

Nevada colleges and universities will change the way they award pay raises for faculty starting July 1, 2014, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported in late July.
Both community colleges and four-year institutions in Nevada will begin using merit pay systems for faculty instead of the current system of raises based on experience and education. The state’s four-year colleges and universities have frozen merit pay raises since 2009 due to budget cuts, but will resume them at the start of next fiscal year.
The Nevada legislature this year approved more than $7 million for merit pay in 2014-15. Many community colleges are in the early stages of developing merit pay systems and determining performance-based measures. The structure will differ at each college, Great Basin College President Mark Curtis told the Review-Journal.
“It’s going to be merit-focused and how that merit is going to be established and decided upon will also be different from institution to institution and is yet to be decided,” Curtis said.
Some institutions, such as the College of Southern Nevada, are working with consultants to help with the development process, according to the Review-Journal. The College of Southern Nevada has established a committee to work on its merit pay policy. The policy will be sent to the faculty senate for approval and onto President Michael Richards for final approval.
Daniel Klaich, chancellor for the Nevada System of Higher Education, believes the new merit pay system will help put community colleges more in line with four-year institutions.
“I think this is just a matter  of changes in the way colleges and higher education are run and bringing faculty at community colleges more in line with (four-year) college and university faculty,” Klaich said.
The California Air Resources Board in July unanimously passed regulations to increase pollution controls on most new off-road vehicles, U-T San Diegoreported. The regulations crack down on emissions from gas lines and fuel tanks rather than tailpipes. The rules go into effect with 2018 vehicles and could add 4 to 9 percent to the cost of the vehicles.
The Arizona Secretary of State’s office in July announced a 2,300 increase in voter registration numbers since April, according to The Associated Press. Numbers for the major political parties decreased, while the number of nonaffiliated voters increased slightly. The state’s more than 3.2 million registered voters are comprised of 1.1 million Republicans, around 973,000 Democrats and more than 1 million independents. 
A Washington state law allowing those who have been wrongfully convicted of a crime to file a claim for damages against the state took effect in July, The Associated Press reported. Under the law, an unjustly convicted person would receive $50,000 for each year of imprisonment and $25,000 for each year on parole, community custody or as a registered sex offender.  
The number of Coloradans applying for concealed carry permits in 2013 increased by 87 percent over 2012, according to The Denver Post. The Colorado Bureau of Investigation processed 31,518 background checks for concealed carry permits from January to June 2013. During the same period last year, the bureau processed only 16,886 background checks.
Supporters of a referendum to repeal Alaska’s new oil tax cuts collected enough signatures to put the measure on the 2014 ballot, the Anchorage Daily News reported in July. The state Division of Elections announced 31,673 qualified voters—slightly more than the 30,169 required—signed petitions to place the referendum on the 2014 primary ballot. The new oil tax cuts place a cap at 35 percent of net profits, a departure from the old system based on tracking oil prices, according to Reuters.