of the

ASSEMBLY Committee on Government Affairs


Seventy-First Session

April 26, 2001



The Committee on Government Affairswas called to order at 8:20 a.m., on Thursday, April 26, 2001.  Chairman Douglas Bache presided in Room 3143 of the Legislative Building, Carson City, Nevada.  Exhibit A is the Agenda.  Exhibit B is the Guest List.  All exhibits are available and on file at the Research Library of the Legislative Counsel Bureau.





Mr.                     Douglas Bache, Chairman

Mr.                     John J. Lee, Vice Chairman

Ms.                     Merle Berman

Mr.                     David Brown

Mrs.                     Dawn Gibbons

Mr.                     David Humke

Mr.                     Harry Mortenson

Mr.                     Roy Neighbors

Ms.                     Bonnie Parnell

Mr.                     Bob Price

Mrs. Debbie Smith

Ms.                     Kathy Von Tobel

Mr.                     Wendell Williams




Mrs.                     Vivian Freeman




Senator Dina Titus, Senate District 7




Eileen O’Grady, Committee Counsel

Dave Ziegler, Committee Policy Analyst

Linda Utt, Committee Secretary




Michael Stewart, Senior Research Analyst, Research Division

Michael Tigert, Teacher, Orovada School

Tess Harrer, Student, Sixth Grade, Orovada School

Danielle Black, Student, Sixth Grade, Orovada School

Zach Teichert, Student, Sixth Grade, Orovada School

Amber Griggs, Student, Sixth Grade, Orovada School

Noelle Whipple, Student, Seventh Grade, Orovada School

April Wilson, Student, Sixth Grade, Orovada School

Jim Dexter, Student, Sixth Grade, Orovada School

Jacob Anderson, Student, Orovada School

Doug Busselman, Executive Vice-President, Nevada Farm Bureau

Richard Pawlowski, Tartan Designer

Mike Steele, Private Citizen

Edgar Carnahan, Private Citizen

Sharon Chandler, Private Citizen

Bill Ward, Private Citizen

Ann Posner, Private Citizen



Chairman Bache opened the hearing S.B. 152.


Senate Bill 152:  Designates Orovada series soil as official state soil. (BDR 19‑722)


Michael Stewart, Senior Research Analyst, Research Division, testified he was the lead staff member for the Legislative Committee on Public Lands during the interim session.  He explained S.B. 152 was developed by the committee and stemmed from a presentation of several sixththrough eighth grade students from the Orovada School located in Humboldt County about 50 miles north of Winnemucca.


Mr. Stewart called attention to Mr. Michael Tigert, teacher, and his students from Orovada, who informed the interim committee about their soil findings during their presentation in Carlin, Nevada, on May 12, 2000.  The presentation described Orovada soil as being the unofficial state soil for 25 years and noted 15 states had an officially recognized state soil.  As a result, the class pursued the formal adoption of Orovada soil as the state soil for Nevada.  According to Mr. Stewart, the committee was quite intrigued and supportive of the class’s efforts to establish a state soil and was the reason they presented S.B. 152 to this committee.  The class provided the same information given to the Committee on Public Lands last year and provided the background of the soil, the composition of the area, location and agricultural values.


Michael Tigert, teacher, Orovada School, stated he taught sixth grade and conceded to the children in his classroom to introduce themselves and tell about Orovada soil.


Tess Harrer, a sixth grade student at Orovada School, explained why soil was important.  She said students liked dirt but in Orovada they preferred to call dirt “soil.”  One of the most important natural resources was soil.  It played a unique role in the maintenance of our air quality, and stored water and nutrients for plants along with filtering contaminants from surface water. 


Tess explained that people who lived in urban areas had very few opportunities to be in contact with soil.  As a result, many people did not recognize the importance of soil to life.  A poll was taken in Europe of children between 10 to 12 years of age as to the origin of food and most answered “from the supermarket.”


Tess continued, saying if it were not for soil, wildlife, as we know it, would cease to exist.  A declaration called the “Nitty Gritty” was signed by the teachers in Orovada and stated the importance of soil to life.  Tess said everything depended on soil, including the state birds and state flowers.  Dirt brought back from the moon or any other part of the solar system lacked several nutrients and organics necessary for plant growth.  Only earth had a thin layer of soil with nutrients and organic matter necessary to support life.  This organic matter was essential for healthy soil as it provided 13 essential nutrients necessary for plant survival and helped store water necessary for plant survival acting as a filter for water.  Most of the water in Nevada was pumped out of the ground.  The organic matter in soil was necessary for this cleaning process. 


Danielle Black, sixth grade student at Orovada School, said Nevada needed a state soil because when most people think of Nevada they thought first of casinos, nightlife, and deserts.  Every state in the U.S. had selected a state soil and 15 of them have been legislatively established.  She said it was the hope of her class that Orovada soil would be officially designated the state soil so people of Nevada were aware of this precious resource.


Zach Teichert, sixth grade student at Orovada School, had a riddle he told to the committee.  “What do you get when you cross a farm animal with soil.”  The answer was “food.”  The class wanted people around our great state to develop an understanding about farming and soil, which put food on our tables.  When you go to McDonald’s, remember it was wheat for the buns, potatoes for the fries, onions for the toppings, tomato for the ketchup.  Soil was what made the dinner.


Amber Griggs, sixth grade student at Orovada School, gave an explanation of how civilization depended on the quality of soil to grow food and noted areas known for great soils.  If the areas used poor conservation techniques they could do irreversible damage to the soil.  There were some groups today that accused farmers and ranchers of abusing their land.  She said the students at Orovada School thought many farmers and ranchers used the latest technology and scientific information and made better decisions about their soil.


Noelle Whipple, seventh grade student at Orovada School, explained to the committee how farmers eliminated soil erosion.  She also explained types of irrigation, which helped with soil erosion.  The faster water moved across the surface of the soil the more water it held.  She showed slides of farmers working to slow the flow of a creek to protect the streambeds downstream.


April Wilson, sixth grade student at Orovada School, told how farming and ranching benefited wildlife.  She pointed to a “cow pie” and said most people held their nose and thought they were disgusting.  As a result, many people tried to ban cows from public land.  Her class believed cows were “soil-making machines.”  Some mining operations fed cows on tailing piles.  The cows pushed seeds into the ground and the cows laid a thick layer of manure all over the hillside.  One year later the side of the hill where the cows had been fed was covered with green grass.  The manure the cows left behind was also beneficial because it was a fertilizer that rejuvenated the soil.  The chukar thrived and had actually increased more than ten-fold in the last 150 years.  The farm ground had increased the food supply for much of the state’s wildlife. 


Jim Dexter, a sixth grade student at Orovada School, explained Nevada had a huge rural area but the majority of the population lived in urban areas.  Nevada had a higher urban population per capita than any other state in the United States.  Many cities expanded and built on land that was once prime farmland.  Jim said people forgot without farmers and ranchers their cities would not exist.  The class hoped they had demonstrated that farmers and ranchers really did care about the environment.  They were doing everything they could voluntarily to make the world a better place to live.  That was why the class felt this project was so important and why they wanted the committee to know the importance of soil, especially Orovada soil.  The class project received letters of support from around the state.  Jim said, “healthy soil gave us healthy food and as a result we will have healthy people.”


Jacob Anderson, student, Orovada School, showed the committee some Orovada soil they took from the farmers’ fields in Orovada.  A chart displayed the layers of soil and volcanic ash.  He thanked the committee for allowing them to talk about their soil in Orovada.


Assemblywoman Gibbons asked about the consistency of the “cow patties.”  She was given one from their class and had sprayed and shellacked the patties but the shellac kept soaking in and wondered if the same thing happened with the soil. 


Mr. Tigert explained the Orovada soil consisted of 50 percent sand, 20 percent silt, and 11 percent clay.  The consistency was permeable as far as the water levels but the lower levels contained the volcanic ash and that was what slowed down the infiltration and made it more suitable for plant growth.  He saw sagebrush as tall as eight feet in this type of soil.  There were 360,000 acres with this type of soil located in Nevada.


Assemblyman Humke stated he was born and raised on a farm in Iowa, and was not aware of the rich soil in this part of the country that was displayed today.  He was very encouraged.


Assemblywoman Smith thanked the group of students for their fine presentation and for the supportive parents, teachers, and grandparents who came today.


Assemblyman Price echoed Mrs. Smith and praised their presentation and information on “dirt.”


Doug Busselman, Executive Vice President of the Nevada Farm Bureau, provided a brief history of the process used to lobby for the official Nevada soil.  Every year the Nevada Farm Bureau went through a policy development process, which was the basis for the testimony.  Last fall, from Humboldt County, the bureau received a policy resolution, which was eventually adopted and became part of the Nevada Farm Bureau policy in supporting this bill and designated Orovada soil type as the state soil.  He noted the students were not only involved in terms of influencing the legislative process but also worked with the agricultural organizations in the state to gain support of their soil.  Mr. Busselman stated the Nevada Farm Bureau stood in support of this bill.






Assemblyman Mortenson asked what the name Orovada meant.  He questioned if it was “organic” Nevada.  Mr. Tigert responded that Oro meant “gold” and Nevada meant “mountain.”  Originally gold was discovered along the Sawtooth Mountain range and that was how they came to choose the name of Orovada.


Assemblyman Humke disclosed S.B. 152 was a good “earthy” bill that was much needed.




Chairman Bache opened the hearing on S.B. 347.


Senate Bill 347:  Designates state tartan. (BDR 19-749)


Senator Dina Titus, Senate District 7, introduced her bill that would create a state tartan and urged the committee members to look in their bill book at the bill because the bill copy was only the second time any bill was printed in color.  The first time was with the adoption of the new Nevada Seal. 


Senator Titus explained the designer of the tartan was located in southern Nevada and his name was Rick Pawlowski.  She thought the committee members would be impressed when they realized the kind of work that went into designing the tartan and also knew what all the different colors stood for in relation to Nevada themes:  north and south, rural and urban.  Since S.B. 347 passed the Senate, arrangements were made with a weaver in Scotland to weave the tartan and provide it to bands and different groups here in Nevada.  The tartan would be registered in Scotland as an official tartan at no charge to the state. 


Richard Pawlowski, the tartan designer, testified from Las Vegas.  The Nevada Tartan would be a symbol of pride for the state.  Mr. Pawlowski gave a description of the tartan and said it was a woven cloth of strips of varied widths, crossing right angles of each other to form a pattern or set.  These sets in continuing pattern formed a plaid known as a tartan.  The different colors and different widths of the strips and the layout of the striping made each tartan unique.  The tartan identified clans, families and districts throughout Scotland, and also extended into Ireland and Wales.  It took the form as a kilt dress, sachet and shawl, and in modern times had been presented as blazers, trousers, and even ties.  The color and thread counts of the weave made distinctive patterns that were unique to a particular district, organization, clan, family or event.  Mr. Pawlowski explained the tartan was not limited to Celtic regions of the world.  Many countries, including the United States, had tartans that were registered with the Scottish Tartan Society.  Regions of the world, providences, and states had their own unique tartan.  At present, there were 21 states that had official state tartan; two states had an unofficial tartan, and three states currently had legislation pending to adopt a state tartan.  The Scottish Tartan Society had the most comprehensive record of public, private, and registered tartans in the world.


Mr. Pawlowski said a tartan for Nevada would be used in official business as well as the public domain as a symbol of pride that could be worn as clothing.  The tartan expressed the cultural and diverse history and would be unique to Nevada.  Many groups throughout Nevada had shown interest in the official tartan for Nevada.  The Nevada Tartan would be used as dress for pipe bands, color guards and civic organizations.


Governor Miller introduced a proclamation for the State of Nevada making April 6th Nevada Tartan Day during the Sixty-Ninth Legislative Session in 1997, which was now NRS 236.055.  Nevada had a Tartan Day but still had no tartan.  Mr. Pawlowski explained that was why he created a Nevada State Tartan and had worked during the last two years to make sure his design was visually pleasing and unique to symbolize Nevada.


Mr. Pawlowski described what the colors and patterns meant because they were chosen for specific reasons.  The blue represented one of the state colors, the pristine waters of Lake Tahoe, and the Mountain Blue Bird, Nevada’s state bird.  The silver represented one of the state colors, the state mineral silver; the color also represented the granite composition of the Sierra Range that ran up the western part of the state, and the silver country of northern Nevada.  Red indicated one of the state’s stones, the fire opal and was representative of the red rock formations in southern Nevada.  Yellow was the color of the state flower, the sagebrush, and symbolized the great region of central Nevada.  White signified snowcaps, which were the translation of the word Nevada.  The crossing of yellow and red represented the different colored sandstones of Nevada.  Sandstone was the state rock.  The white intersection of the field of silver stood for the snow-capped peaks of granite, which made up the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range.  The four blue lines represented the four main rivers of Nevada:  The Colorado River, Truckee River, Humboldt River, and Walker River.  The intersecting blue in the silver field represented the Colorado River as it met Hoover Dam and created Lake Mead.  The small solid boxes of silver and blue, numbered 8x8 or 64 and were the number that represented the year 1864 when Nevada was admitted into statehood.  The 13 solid intersections of small strips represented Boundary Peak, the highest point of Nevada at an elevation of 13,143 feet.  The 16 solid silver intersections and the 1 solid white intersection in the center of the tartan represented the 16 counties and the 1 consolidated independent county of Nevada.


Mr. Pawlowski said he worked with Bill Ward and others in making sure the tartan was unique.  Margaret Struth of Burnett’s and Struth Scottish Regalia Limited, Ontario, Canada, had been very helpful in guidance for the project.  Her help and the help of Mr. Ward placed him in contact with Lochcarron Mills of Scotland, the world’s largest manufacturer of authentic tartans.  Both were family-owned businesses and absorbed the cost of registration for the tartan with the Scottish Tartan Society or the Scottish Tartan Authority, the official record of tartan.  Once the proposed tartan was registered, it would be copyrighted as public domain for the state of Nevada.


Mr. Pawlowski said there would be no legal ramifications for the use or display of the tartan.  Organizations like the Nevada National Guard, the Nevada Society of Scottish Clans, the Nevada Firefighter’s Association, Sierra Highland Pipe Band, Desert Sky Pipes and Drums, the Scottish-American Military Society, the Reno-Scottish Highland Dancers, and the Caledonian Society of Nevada would likely adopt this tartan as their official tartan, continuing the legacy that was Nevada.


Senator Titus explained to the committee the tartan was a wonderful representation of many things Nevada stood for and should therefore be used officially.


Mike Steele, private citizen, testified from Las Vegas and told the committee he had been a resident of southern Nevada for approximately 40 years and had watched Mr. Pawlowski painstakingly work on the tartan design.  He witnessed Mr. Pawlowski contact members in all parts of the state to make sure the design incorporated the entire state.  He was proud of his Scottish heritage but testified as a Nevadan and felt all Nevadans regardless of their national heritage could support the state tartan.


Assemblyman Neighbors asked why there was no green in the plaid.  Mr. Pawlowski replied his original research allowed only five colors and two were primary colors with three as accent colors.  The two solid colors used in the background were blue and silver representing the state of Nevada.  The three accent colors were white for Nevada’s white peaks, gold and red for the regions of Nevada.  That was a reason green and brown were not chosen.


Edgar Carnahan, private citizen, testified from Las Vegas and stated he was born and raised in Scotland and came to the United States in 1950 with his wife.  He and his family enjoyed Nevada and were members of the Scottish Club in Las Vegas.  He said he proudly wore the kilt and felt it would be most appropriate for Nevada to have their own kilt and be together as a family.


Sharon Chandler, private citizen, testified from Las Vegas and said her family had a long Scottish heritage.  She thought since the state recognized Scots by initiating Tartan Day on April 6th thereneeded to be a tartan to go with it.  Ms. Chandler was proud of the tartan design Mr. Pawlowski had developed and wanted to express her support.


Bill Ward, private citizen from Las Vegas, stood before the committee and modeled his kilt the McGregor Tartan.  Mr. Ward traced his roots back to 1769, just a couple of generations short of Rob Roy McGregor.  Mr. Ward said when people asked him what his tartan was he said he explained with pride his family history.  He stated he would wear the Nevada State Tartan with equal pride along with many other descendants from Scotland that wore tartan kilts and ties. 


Ann Posner, private citizen, explained she was a member of the Desert Sky Pipes and Drums Band in Las Vegas and her group considered adopting the Nevada State Tartan if S.B. 347 passed.  Ms. Posner hoped to have her band wear the tartan from Nevada both internationally and in national and statewide competitions.


Assemblyman Lee asked who sponsored the bill and was told Senators Titus and O’Donnell both sponsored the bill.








Chairman Bache adjourned the meeting at 9:25 a.m.






Linda Utt

Committee Secretary









Assemblyman Douglas Bache, Chairman