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With the next legislative deadline for bills to move out of their second house only 10 days away, Nevada lawmakers have another packed agenda on Wednesday.

Legislators are set to discuss a wide variety of topics, including a constitutional amendment raising the minimum wage, allowing for physician-assisted suicide and codifying parts of the Affordable Care Act into state law,

Here’s what to watch for on Wednesday:

SJR6: Minimum Wage constitutional amendment

After several months of inaction, legislators are scheduled to hear a proposal that would raise the state’s minimum wage through constitutional amendment.

SJR6 would immediately make the state’s minimum wage $9 an hour, and require the wage be increased by $0.75 starting in 2022 until it reaches $12 an hour. It also expressedly allows state lawmakers to raise the wage even higher, and requires the wage floor to be raised if the federal minimum wage exceeds the state.

It also removes existing constitutional provisions allowing collective bargaining agreements to waive the minimum wage requirement, and authorizes employees to enter into a class action lawsuit against employers who violate the requirement and for a prevailing class of employees to be paid three times the amount of wages they would have been paid.

Like all other proposed constitutional amendments, the proposal would need to pass in both this session and the 2019 Legislature before heading to voters in 2020.

SB261: Physician-assisted suicide

After being pulled from a hearing last month and exempted from legislative deadlines, a bipartisan bill backed by Democratic Sen. David Parks and Republican Sen. Ben Kieckhefer will receive its first hearing today.

Nevada law currently allows patients who have been diagnosed with a terminal condition to refuse treatment that would keep them alive or bring them back to life. SB261 would authorize a physician to prescribe a controlled substance to end the life of a patient under these circumstances.

A patient would need to be at least 18 years old, have been diagnosed with a terminal condition by at least two physicians, be a Nevada resident, make an informed and voluntary decision to end his or her life and be competent. He or she would also be required to make two verbal requests and one written request for the controlled substance to end his or her life, to be signed by two witnesses.

The legislation also places certain requirements on physicians to inform the patient of his or her right to revoke a request for the controlled substance at any time, determine and verify the patient meets the requirements, refer the patient to a consulting physician to confirm the diagnosis or prognosis and the competence of the patient and recommend the patient notify his or her next of kin.

Physicians would be exempted from professional discipline for assisting with the suicide, and health care facilities would be allowed to prohibit a physician, psychiatrist or psychologist from being involved with physician-assisted suicide.

Watch the hearing in Senate Health and Human Services at 3:30 p.m.

AB163: Payday lending changes

After a number of amendments, state lawmakers are set to hear a proposal designed to curb abuses in the high-interest, short-term lending industry.

Democratic Assemblyman Edgar Flores’s AB163 would for the first time require so-called “payday lending” businesses to determine whether or not loan applicants have the ability to repay the loan by determining factors including income, employment, credit history and other loans. It also seeks to set limits on what kind of extended payment plans a person can enter into for an outstanding deferred deposit loan, and prohibits so-called “grace periods” on loan repayments that are contingent on entering a new loan agreement or having more interest charged.

The measure also requires title loans, which are loans involving use of a car’s title as collateral for securing a loan, to only be granted to the legal owner of a vehicle. It also prohibits title loan companies from issuing a loan without determining the ability of the vehicle’s legal owner to repay the loan.

Another measure that would have implemented an ambitious overhaul of payday lenders, including interest rate caps on loans that can often exceed interest rates of 521 percent failed to make it through a legislative deadline, but Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson said in April that he plans to introduce an emergency measure addressing high-interest lending.

Watch the hearing on the bill at 8 a.m. in the Senate Committee on Commerce, Labor and Energy.

AB120: School Construction Taxes

A Senate panel is set to take up a proposal that would allow county commissioners to levy a construction tax on new developments near schools.

AB120, which is sponsored by Democratic Assemblyman Skip Daly, would authorize all school districts in the state to petition the appropriate county commission for imposition of a tax on new construction or development to pay for remodeling or upgrading school buildings. School districts would be required to submit impact statements to the commission, which could then approve taxes capped at $1,600 per each “residential development unit,” mobile home or suite in an apartment complex.

The bill, which passed out of the Assembly on a 24-18 vote, was amended to exempt construction of low-income housing and to clarifies what the tax revenue can be used for. The tax currently exists in every county with a population under 55,000, which excludes Clark County, Washoe County and Carson City.

Watch the hearing on the bill at 1 p.m. in the Senate Committee on Government Affairs.

AB249: Codifying contraceptive coverage from Affordable Care Act into state law

Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson’s bill to codify a requirement from the Affordable Care Act that insurance companies cover contraception for patients free of charge in state law is up for its second hearing today.

The bill also expands upon the Affordable Care Act to require that patients be allowed to receive a 12-month supply for contraception at once. The legislation passed the Assembly 40-2 in April, with Republican Assembly members John Ellison and Lisa Krasner opposed.

Another bill (SB394) that would prohibit insurers from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions and setting caps on certain essential health benefits, as well as require health insurers to cover adult children of insured individuals up to 26 years old is also up for a work session in committee today.

Watch the hearing in Senate Health and Human Services at 3:30 p.m.

 

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