Nevada lawmakers on Wednesday will take up a trio of bills aimed at clearing the barriers for children with autism to receive intensive and potentially life-changing therapy.
They will also consider banning products that have been tested on animals, discuss mandating that each public school have a library and explore a ban on hotels turning over customer data to immigration authorities.
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:
AB102: Stronger penalties for crimes committed against family members of first responders
Nevada law already allows for an extra prison term of one to 20 more years if someone commits a crime against a person for being a first responder. Members of the Assembly Judiciary Committee will consider AB102, which would extend that law’s provisions to the spouse and child — of any age — of a first responder.
It’s backed by Republican Assemblyman John Ellison.
The committee meets at 8 a.m.
AB221: Minors working at gaming companies
The Assembly Judiciary Committee will also discuss AB221, which would allow someone to work at a manufacturing or distribution company in the gambling industry if they are of the “age of majority” —18 in normal circumstances, or 16 if they are an emancipated minor.
Existing law limits gaming employment to people 21 and older.
The committee meets at 8 a.m.
Employment department budgets
Members of a joint Senate-Assembly budget subcommittee will review budgets from the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, including accounts for unemployment insurance and workforce development.
The subcommittee meets at 8 a.m.
SB252: House arrest for older offenders
The Senate Judiciary Committee will review SB252, a bill that would expand opportunities for older inmates to go on house arrest instead of remaining in prison.
It would allow the director of the Nevada Department of Corrections to assign inmates who are not imprisoned for life or sentenced to death, to house arrest if they are 60 years of age or older, haven’t been convicted of certain crimes such as a sex offense and have served at least a majority of the maximum term of their sentence.
The bill is sponsored by Republican Sen. Joe Hardy, who brought a similar, unsuccessful measure up last session.
The committee meets at 8 a.m.
Members of the Senate Education Committee will review two similar bills that would require K-12 public schools maintain a library and employ a librarian, with some exceptions for smaller schools.
The bills are sponsored by Democratic Sens. Joyce Woodhouse and Mo Denis and contain an unfunded mandate — the bills do not appropriate money for schools to carry out the measures.
A similar bill last session, backed by Republican former Sen. Becky Harris, died in a committee.
The committee meets at 1 p.m.
Members of the Assembly Commerce and Labor Committee will consider AB172, which specifies that when an insurer declares a vehicle is totaled, the insurer must pay the “full replacement value” for the car if the driver was less than 50 percent at fault.
They’ll also review AB173, a bill that would restrict the use of “aftermarket” parts when insurers call for a damaged car to be repaired. Aftermarket parts, sometimes called generics, are made by manufacturers other than the original carmaker.
The bill, backed by Democratic Assemblyman Richard Carrillo, requires insurers to get permission from the customer before using aftermarket parts to repair any vehicle less than five years old.
The Senate Commerce and Labor Committee will review SB197, which would prohibit manufacturers from selling any products in Nevada that were tested on animals. The bill is sponsored by Democratic Sen. Melanie Scheible.
They’ll also consider SB229, which would bar hotel operators from sharing information about customers with authorities for the purpose of immigration enforcement. The bill, sponsored by Democratic Sen. Mo Denis, comes after Motel 6 was sued for giving immigration authorities lists of customers who were then deported.
The committee meets at 1:30 p.m.
AB214: Museum at historic Nevada State Prison
Lawmakers on the Assembly Natural Resources Committee will discuss AB214, which provides $250,000 to do a study on whether it is feasible to launch a museum at the shuttered Nevada State Prison in Carson City.
The bill is sponsored by Carson City Republican Assemblyman Al Kramer.
The committee meets at 4 p.m.
The Senate Health and Human Services Committee will review a trio of bills aimed at ensuring more of the thousands of Nevada children who have autism can access the intensive therapy that could dramatically improve their chances of leading a productive life as they grow older.
The committee will consider Democratic Sen. James Ohrenschall’s SB174, which raises the reimbursement rate for registered behavioral technicians (RBTs) who provide direct behavioral therapy to children with autism from $31.30 per hour to $48 per hour.
Advocates for people with autism have long said that the current rate is not high enough to attract sufficient providers to offer the therapy, known as applied behavioral analysis (ABA).
They’ll also review SB202, a bill sponsored by Democratic Sen. Marilyn Dondero Loop and requested by the Grant a Gift Autism Foundation. The bill requires the Department of Health and Human Services to compile a report every 6 months on any barriers that people with autism and their families are experiencing as they try to access services.
It also requires the Department of Education to communicate with the health department about which students have autism, and then directs the state’s Autism Treatment and Assistance Program to reach out to those families and determine if they could benefit from services.
Advocates say many children with autism do not access therapy that could improve their lives because of logistical or insurance barriers.
“We had certain departments that weren’t necessarily in sync with each other and it wasn’t necessarily any one department’s fault, it’s just that we have a backlog of children who need more help,” Dondero Loop said about the bill.
A third bill, SB216, would elevate the existing Nevada Autism Task Force into the Nevada Commission on Autism Spectrum Disorders, and task it with monitoring government programs for people with autism. The bill also calls for a plan for treating people with autism after they turn 20 years old and thus age out of the Autism Treatment Assistance Program.