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The outside of the Nevada Legislature, seen on March 18, 2019. (David Calvert/The Nevada Independent)

With just three days remaining until the deadline for bills to pass out of their second committee, lawmakers have teed up a slew of votes and hearings.

Legislators have scheduled hearings on measures that would reverse changes made by the Republican-controlled 2015 Legislature on prevailing wage for school construction projects and rules around construction defects lawsuits. They’ve also scheduled the first hearing on one of Gov. Steve Sisolak’s top legislative priorities — creation of a Patient Protection Commission — as well as taking a vote on a bill to expand drug pricing transparency for asthma drugs.

For more information on the status of bills working their way through the Legislature, check out The Nevada Independent’s bill tracker. And for the bills in committee today, check out the Legislature’s website for committee times and links to watch live committee meetings and floor sessions.

Here’s what to watch for on Wednesday at the Legislature:

Budget Closings

Budget committees in both chambers are set to review appropriations for a handful of executive departments or programs, including:

  • Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs
  • Department of Taxation
  • Commission on Ethics
  • Department of Health and Human Services
  • Governor’s Office of Economic Development

AB421: Construction Defects

A bill to reverse major changes made in 2015 to construction defect lawsuits — a serious contention point between home developers and trial attorneys — is again up for a hearing.

If passed, the measure would extend from six to eight years to period of time after home construction where a defect lawsuit can be brought, or for an indefinite period of time if the defect was intentional and fraudulently concealed. It also removes requirements that recovery of damages in a lawsuit be limited to construction defects, and allows common-interest communities to bring defect lawsuits if it pertains to a common portion of multiple dwellings.

The bill passed on a party-line 27-13 vote on April 23.

It’s up for a hearing at 8 a.m. in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

SB103: Affordable Housing (Work Session)

Sponsored on behalf of a committee tasked with studying affordable housing in Nevada, SB103 aims to spur the development of affordable housing by allowing local governments to reduce or subsidize existing impact fees — often blamed as a barrier to the construction of new affordable housing.

If passed, SB103 would allow governing bodies reduce or subsidize impact fees, building permit fees or “fees imposed for the purpose for which an enterprise fund was created” only if certain requirements are met, including that the project meets affordability requirements; that the governing body in question has set forth criteria for affordable housing projects; that the fee reductions wouldn’t impact existing bond obligations; and that the governing body holds a public hearing on the economic effect of such reductions.  

The bill was passed unanimously in the Senate, and the Assembly Committee on Government Affairs is set to vote on the measure at 9:30 a.m.

AJR2: Same-Sex Marriage in the Constitution

First proposed and passed during the 2017 legislative session , AJR 2 would include same-sex marriages under the constitutional definition of marriage, doing away with the “one man, one woman” prevision and enshrining those marriages — the law of the land under a 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling — in the state Constitution.

As a proposed constitutional amendment, AJR2 must be passed twice by the Legislature and once by voters at large before taking effect. In 2017, it passed through both chambers by a wide margin, 19-2 in the Senate and 27-14 in the Assembly.

The Senate Committee on Legislative Operations and Elections is scheduled to hear the resolution upon adjournment of Wednesday’s floor session. If passed by the full Senate, the measure will be placed on the 2020 ballot.

SB197: Banning the sale of cosmetics tested on animals

Proposed by Democratic Sen. Melanie Scheible, this bill would ban the sale and import of any cosmetic item or product tested on an animal.

If passed, it would prohibit the sale or import of any cosmetic item which was tested on an animal on or after Jan. 1, 2020, but wouldn’t apply to any product which was tested on an animal prior to that date. The bill creates several other exemptions for any testing required to comply with federal state or foreign regulatory requirements and authorizes district attorneys to prosecute any violation of the bill. It passed the Senate on a 14-7 vote on April 18.

It’s up for a hearing in the Assembly Commerce and Labor Committee at 12:30 p.m.

AB136: Prevailing wage rollback (Work Session)

Members of the Senate Government Affairs Committee have scheduled a vote on this bill by Democratic Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson, which would reverse a 2015 change to the state’s prevailing wage law and require payment of full prevailing wage on school construction projects.

The measure removes current requirements that school construction projects pay only 90 percent prevailing wage — a sort of average wage for laborers that varies by the type of work the laborer is doing and by region — and lowers the threshold for prevailing wage projects from $250,000 to $100,000. It passed the Assembly on a party-line vote on April 29.

It’s scheduled for a vote at 1 p.m. in the committee.

SB262: Asthma drug price transparency (Work Session)

If approved, this bill would expand a landmark diabetes drug transparency bill passed by the 2017 Legislature to cover asthma drugs. It requires manufacturers of essential asthma drugs to submit information to the state related to the cost of the pricing of the drug and, if the drug has increased by more than a certain amount in the past year or two, explain to the state why the price of the drug increased.

It also would require pharmacy benefit managers, who operate as middlemen in the drug pricing process, to submit certain information to the state on the rebates they keep and profits they make on the sale of essential asthma drugs.

It’s up for a committee vote in the Assembly Health and Human Services Committee at 12:30 p.m.

SB544: Patient Protection Commission

One of Gov. Steve Sisolak’s top legislative priorities —  creating a Patient Protection Commission — is scheduled for a hearing just a day after it was introduced on the Senate Floor.

SB544 implements a campaign promise by Sisolak to create a Patient Protection Commission to do a top-down review of health care in the state. The commission will initially be advisory and be allowed to request two bill draft requests in the next legislative session, and will be composed of 11 industry representatives and patient advocates appointed by the governor. It’ll be given the power to establish subcommittees and review major health-care topics such as prescription drug affordability and access to care.

It’s scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee at 4 p.m.


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