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2-Minute Preview: Requiring all hospitals to take Medicare and Medicaid, residential confinement for older inmates on deck

Megan Messerly
Megan Messerly
Riley Snyder
Riley Snyder

With only 36 days to go before the end of session, Nevada lawmakers are continuing to push through their docket by scheduling hearings on measures requiring all hospitals to accept Medicaid and Medicare, allowing older inmates to transition to residential confinement and giving free college tuition to Purple Heart recipients.

Legislators have also scheduled hearings on bills changing rules around community-based living arrangement homes and a proposed constitutional amendment removing language declaring marriage to be between a man and woman (overruled by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v Hodges)

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:

SB14: Removing gubernatorial appointments

If approved, this bill would clarify under state law that the governor has the ability to remove appointed members to all state boards and commissions for misconduct, negligence or incompetence.

The bill requires the governor give the appointee 45 days notice of the removal, unless the governor determines that circumstances require the immediate removal of the appointed individual. The bill passed unanimously out of the Senate on April 16.

It’s up for a hearing in the Assembly Government Affairs Committee at 9 a.m.

SB252: Residential confinement for older offenders

This bill by Republican Sen. Joe Hardy would allow the director of the Department of Corrections to transfer certain inmates over the age of 65 to serve the remainder of their prison sentence under residential confinement.

The measures sets forth certain additional requirements, including requiring that offenders have served at least the majority of the maximum term of their sentence, have not been sentenced to death or life in prison and are not incarcerated for certain crimes committed against children, sexual offenses, vehicular homicide, driving under the influence or certain violent crimes. It passed on a 19-2 vote out of the Senate, but a similar concept was vetoed by former Gov. Brian Sandoval in 2017 amid public safety concerns.

It’s up for a hearing in the Assembly Judiciary Committee at 9 a.m.

AB427: Free tuition for Purple Heart recipients

If passed, this bill would require the Nevada System of Higher Education to waive any tuition or registration fees for students who have received the Purple Heart, after first applying any federal educational benefits. It was passed unanimously out of the Senate on April 23.

The bill will be heard in the Senate Education Committee at 1 p.m.

SB235: Protections for people with pre-existing conditions

Sponsored by Democratic state Sen. Julia Ratti, this bill would codify the Affordable Care Act’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions into state law. Among other things, the ACA established protections so that insurance companies couldn’t deny insurance coverage, exclude coverage of a benefit or charge a higher premium based on someone’s pre-existing condition.

The legislation attempts to enshrine those protections into state law in the event that the federal health-care law is eventually struck down. A federal court judge ruled in December that the entire law is unconstitutional following Congress’s repeal of the ACA’s individual mandate to purchase health insurance, but the case is now up on appeal.

The bill will be heard by the Assembly Commerce and Labor Committee at 1:30 p.m.

SB454: No hunting, harassing wildlife with drones

Proposed by the Senate Committee on Natural Resources, this bill clarifies that the state’s prohibition on hunting or harassing wildlife from an aircraft or helicopter also applies to unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones. It passed unanimously out of the Senate on April 9.

It’s scheduled for a hearing in the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources, Agriculture and Mining at 4 p.m.

AB232: All hospitals must take Medicare and Medicaid

This bill, sponsored by four Democratic lawmakers, would require essentially all Nevada hospitals to accept Medicare and Medicaid. The legislation is directed at a single hospital, Elite Medical Center, which has catered to tourists since it opened in July and does not accept any health insurance plans.

The hospital has argued that it decided not to take Medicare and Medicaid as part of its business model because of the “inherent burdens” of accepting government health insurance. But other Nevada hospitals argue that Elite is siphoning off privately insured patients at their expense and that the burden of treating Medicare and Medicaid patients should be on the community as a whole.

The bill is up for a hearing in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee at 4 p.m.

AB252: Community-based living arrangement home changes

Sponsored by Democratic Assemblywoman Teresa Benitez-Thompson, this bill makes a number of different changes to community-based living arrangement homes in the wake of an audit last year that revealed deplorable conditions in many of the homes.

Many of the changes in the legislation directly address the results of the audit, including a section of the bill that requires employees who work in the homes to be proficient in the language spoken by a majority of the people to whom they provide services. The legislation also bars children under the age of 18 from living in the homes after the audit discovered that one of the clients living in the home was providing childcare for one of the workers in the homes.

Another change would no longer allow people with developmental disabilities to be treated at CBLA homes and instead would require them to be treated by a provider that holds a certificate to provide supported living arrangement (SLA) services.

The bill will be heard by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee at 4 p.m.

AJR2 of the 2017 session: Same-sex marriage in the Constitution

This proposed constitutional amendment would remove the “one man, one woman” marriage provision from the Nevada Constitution. Same-sex marriage has been the law of the land since the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in 2015, but this measure would codify that in the state’s Constitution.

The measure needs to be approved twice by the Legislature and once by voters before taking effect. It was approved the first time by lawmakers in 2017, with the Senate voting 19-2 and the Assembly 27-14.

This year, the Assembly passed it 37-2, with only Republican Assemblymen John Ellison and Jim Wheeler in opposition. Republican Assemblyman Chris Edwards, Al Kramer, Robin Titus, Jill Tolles changed their votes from 2017 to support the legislation and were joined by fellow freshmen Republicans Gregory Hafen, Melissa Hardy and Tom Roberts. (Assemblywoman Lisa Krasner was the lone Republican to support it in 2017 and did so this year as well.)

With the Senate’s approval, the measure will head to the ballot in 2020.


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