Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval signs AB374 – Streamlining permitting process for Burning Man event

Governor Sandoval signing AB374 into law
Governor Sandoval signing AB374 into law. Seated: Gov. Brian Sandoval
Standing from left to right: Adam Belsky, Counsel for BRC LLC; Robert Shirley; Tom Clark, Lobbyist for BRC LLC; Shannon Hogan, Lobbyist for BRC LLC; Jim Shirley, District Attorney for Pershing County; Sen. David Parks; Assemblyman & bill sponsor David Bobzien; Marian Goodell, Founder, BRC LLC; Raymond Allen, Government Affairs Representative for BRC LLC

CARSON CITY, NEV., June 5, 2013 — Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval today signed AB374 into law, a bill sponsored by Assemblyman David Bobzien that streamlines the permitting process for events like Burning Man held on federal lands.

“This is a huge victory for the Burning Man event,” said Raymond Allen, Government Affairs Representative for Black Rock City, LLC. “The law ensures local permitting requirements won’t infringe upon the First Amendment rights of Burning Man participants. It also ensures the continued right of assembly for the entire event.”

The new law gives counties the right to opt out of state permitting requirements for events held on federal land that already undergo a comprehensive federal permitting process. As a result of collaborative negotiations involving Burning Man representatives, Pershing County officials and the Nevada Association of Counties, Pershing County commissioners already passed a resolution exempting Burning Man from county permitting requirements in perpetuity.

“It’s a win-win for everyone and a testament to the benefit of collaboration,” Allen said. “Our goal has always been to adequately compensate Pershing County for the services it provides to our event. This law ensures compensation occurs through a contract with the County per the requirements of our Bureau of Land Management permit.”

The bill passed unanimously in the Nevada Assembly and Senate, and goes into effect on July 1st.


About the author: Megan Miller

As Burning Man's Director of Communications, Megan oversees the organization's year-round communications team, which facilitates the flow of information to and from Burning Man’s founders, Board of Directors, volunteers, the media, and the broader public. Before joining the Burning Man staff in 2012, Megan spent ten years in the public and non-profit sectors working for environmental protection, HIV/AIDS prevention, political campaigns, and the United States Senate. Born and raised in Juneau, Alaska, Megan earned a Bachelor’s degree in English & Art History from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. On playa she’s known as ‘Juno’ and can be found at Media Mecca.

25 thoughts on “Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval signs AB374 – Streamlining permitting process for Burning Man event

  • Does this mean the 50,000 population cap will finally be lifted? I would love to be actually be able to go the event without it selling out every year!

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  • I believe the 50k cap is a federal stipulation in order to protect the preservation land. I also think it’s closer to 60-65k now.

    All of this is great news… I just wonder how this will affect Pershing County law enforcement presence. Since they aren’t receiving as much revenue as they wanted through the Burning Man Association, are they going to end up harassing burners even more than they have in the past in order to make their numbers?

    I ask because I’ve been a victim of this harassment, and while I played my cards right and RIGHTFULLY had all the charges dropped, this is an increasingly worrisome issue for all Burning Man attendees. Many people don’t know how to protect themselves from harassment and end up wrongfully charged and imprisoned due to loopholes that the Pershing County officers use to get their money’s worth from the festival every year.


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  • Does this address any other the other licensing issues like food distribution, county permits etc, etc.

    I guess the question is how broad a stroke is this for the participants of Black Rock City?

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  • Jewbilee – On a basic level, It just means that BM won’t have to deal with local and county licensing and bureaucracy, only the same old federal stuff.

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  • but what about the policing of the event by pershing county? and the billed cost of public services to the BMORG? or imposition nudity laws?

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  • Huzzah! Thanks Ray and everyone else involved (including NV lawmakers!).

    Sean, this does not affect the cap/population limits (which has been higher than 50K for a while now). Capacity will likely continue to be an issue for years to come.

    Urban, you would still need to have a health permit for serving food to the public, or operate a kitchen that prepares meals for 125 people or more.

    Jewbilee – it protects Burning Man from counties that would enact their own special rules and regulations, requirements, etc that would affect the event.

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  • Trilo, that still doesnt answer the question of the nudity laws, i have been hearing that the counties are trying to halt it and that IF Someone objects to males being nude infront of children, they run the risk of arrest as well as Sex offender label (what about those pesky nude women as well as Transgendered people?) i find it somewhat annoying that if i wish to express myself, i wont be able to do it freely for fear of not only arrest, but the SO Label/Classification.just my .02 worth (with inflation of course ;) )

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  • This seems like really great news! I’m sure as a little time passes, the details will become clearer.

    I know last year it was reported that BMorg paid the Pershing County inflated fees under protest to keep the plans moving. I would hope that money come back to the event.

    It would be nice if there were less Pershing County vehicles roaming the grounds. The org may have more control over how many are there, as opposed to Pershing County just added as many as they think they can stuff in there.

    My guess is that since this is a closed event, nothing will change as far as dress code there. It’s always been that nothing lewd or obscene can be done out in the open, but nudity has been fine.

    All in all, it looks like Pershing County made a move to hinder this event and possibly drive it out of the area, but instead shot itself in the foot and may have lost some serious dollars in the process.

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  • It is a great day for open-minded individuals who are selfless in their quest to take our planet Earth back to a more wholesome lifestyle.
    A place where we can be more civil towards one another and enjoy the very short time we spend on the timeline of eternity.
    As one who enjoyed the lifestyle and feeling that accompanied road trips of the Grateful Dead I totally embrace the culture, community and principals’ of our Burningman culture.
    ; – )

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  • @Kilted Freedom: BRC knows of no law–federal, state or local–preventing nudity in the Black Rock City. We are also unaware of any arrests or citations for nudity at Burning Man. There are, however, state laws against obscenity, lewdness and indecent exposure. See Chapter 201 of the Nevada Revised Statutes at Nudity is not, however, the same as these crimes.

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  • Wow ! You guys went to the mat to insure that BRC will be here for years to come ! Great work and thanx ! If other legal problems should arise it is great to know that we have the right team working on it.. Bravo ! See you at the burn !

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  • Does this new law mean that BMorg will now be able to refund unused tickets with all the money it is saving by not being extorted by Pershing County? Never have been able to discern the difference between BMOrg profiting from the non-refundability policy and scalpers profiting from reselling (unused) tickets.

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  • This is actually really great. The extortion that was occurring from various county officials will stop since they have no law to back their perceive right to extort Burning Man. The only way they could go after Burning Man is when the permit is renewed by putting up a fight, but if Burning Man signs a contract with them, then all the fees are know up front and are established.

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  • Quote*****Does this new law mean that BMorg will now be able to refund unused tickets with all the money it is saving by not being extorted by Pershing County? Never have been able to discern the difference between BMOrg profiting from the non-refundability policy and scalpers profiting from reselling (unused) tickets. *****
    I don’t think this has anything to do with unused tickets in any way. If you did order tickets that you can’t use, you can put them into the STEP program and in effect get a refund on your tickets. Also, with the event sold out, you should have no trouble whatsoever finding a person who would buy your tickets for face value. This would also, effectively be giving you a refund for the tickets you bought.

    I think if you look at virtually every other ticketed event in the entire world, you will see that tickets are non-refundable. Just imagine the havoc that would take place, if an option to get a refund were available now. Half the burners would not show up and just send the tickets in for their money back. “Hey man, my cat got sick”!

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  • Speaking of Nevada, rumor has it Nevada just passed new medical marijuana legislation that includes a reciprocity provision recognizing licensed/permitted medical marijuana users from other states. Does anyone know if this is true and if so when it takes affect?

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