After a week dominated by debate and votes on a major gun background checks bill, state lawmakers are set to return to their normal schedule of bill hearings on Monday.
Legislative committees are considering measures amending the definition of robbery, changing collective bargaining law, raising Medicaid rates and recording jailhouse interrogations.
A budget subcommittee will hear details of some of the secretary of state and Public Utilities Commission budgets. Monday also marks the deadline for lawmakers to submit any final bill draft requests to the Legislative Counsel Bureau for drafting — March 18 marks the deadline for bills to be introduced by legislators.
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 Monday at the Legislature:
SB137: Redefining robbery
Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee are set to hear details of a bill that would amend the definition of robbery.
The current definition of robbery in state law is defined as the unlawful and forceful taking of property from another person against their will through targeting of a person, their family, anyone in their property or their personal property. If approved, SB137 would change the definition of robbery, so that threatening someone’s personal property would not qualify as robbery.
Crimes of robbery are punishable by a Category B felony, with a prison term between two and 15 years.
AB107: Recording interrogations
The Assembly Judiciary Committee is hearing a bill that would require police departments to make electronic recordings of jailhouse interrogations when a person is charged of a major crime such as murder and would require recordings of inmates signing any confessions.
A similar bill died in the 2017 session. That measure was backed by the Innocence Project, a group that seeks to exonerate people who are falsely accused of a crime.
At the time, Las Vegas police said they agreed with the underlying policy but didn’t want it codified in law because they feared it would put them on the hook for recording “gray area” situations, such as an inmate making a spontaneous confession outside a formal interrogation.
The committee meets at 9 a.m.
AB103: Collective bargaining changes
Proposed by Republican Assembly Minority Leader Jim Wheeler, AB103 would give labor organizations for local governments more flexibility if they allow an employee to take leave to perform duties or services for their union.
Currently, state law allows local government to provide leave for an employee to perform duties for an organized labor organization that they belong to, so long as the full cost of the leave is paid for or reimbursed by the union or is offset by the “value of concessions” offered in collective bargaining agreements.
If approved, Wheeler’s bill holds that if the leave was offered by a local government employer as of June 1, 2015, the labor organization shall be deemed to have effectively made concessions to offset “past, present and future” costs of leave for any local government employee union.
SB115: Donor breast milk
This bill, sponsored by state Sen. Scott Hammond, would require Nevada Medicaid to cover donor breast milk for premature babies born with a low birth weight or certain intestinal conditions. Mothers who deliver prematurely often struggle to produce breast milk, but replacement donor milk can cost thousands of dollars a month without insurance.
Nevada Medicaid has attached an $8.8 million fiscal note for the bill to pay for the donor breast milk, though Hammond told The Nevada Independent that he believes the price tag may be “exaggerated.”
“Really, if you can get mother’s milk into a baby earlier then you’re talking about shortening the time they’re in the hospital and you’re improving the health of the baby over their childhood which then reduces the cost as well,” Hammond said. “So we’re looking to put a little bit of money in the front end and save money on the back end for everybody, the taxpayers included.”
The bill will be heard during Senate Health and Human Services at 4 p.m.
AB116: Study to raise Medicaid rates to 90 percent of Medicare
This bill, brought forward by the Assembly Health and Human Services Committee, would require Nevada Medicaid to conduct an actuarial study to figure out how much it would cost the state to raise Medicaid reimbursement rates to 90 percent of Medicare. It proposes to appropriate $150,000 for the study.
Assemblyman Mike Sprinkle, who chairs the committee, said the bill is a byproduct of a request he made to fiscal staff over the summer to figure out how much it would cost the state to raise Medicaid rates. He said fiscal staff told him that it would be “almost impossible for them to just ballpark it” and that an actuarial study would need to be done.
“Something I’ve noticed over my last three sessions is that consistently with the budget woes [we’ve been] kind of picking and choosing who specifically at that moment needs increased rates and that’s really not solving the problem of all Medicaid reimbursement rates,” Sprinkle said.
The bill will be heard during Assembly Health and Human Services at 1:30 p.m.
SB99 & SB106: Customized teacher licenses and textbook spending minimums
Senators will consider SB99, which creates the Task Force on the Creation of a Career Pathway for Teachers, which would study the possibility of creating separate tiers of licenses or endorsements for teachers based on their experience and the scope of their work.
The eight-person committee would make recommendations to the Commission on Professional Standards in Education that are expected to have a beneficial effect on teaching and student achievement.
They’ll also consider SB106, which would allow schools and districts to request a reduction in the minimum amount they must spend on textbooks and instructional supplies.
The committee meets at 1:30 p.m.