The clock is continuing to tick for Nevada lawmakers, who have scheduled another busy day of committee hearings and votes with the next legislative deadline for bills to pass out of their second committee looming ever closer.
Legislators have scheduled hearings on measures that would automatically restore a person’s right to vote upon release from prison, cut back on some tax incentive programs and beef up state agencies that oversee and bring cases on pay discrimination based on gender. They have also scheduled a vote on a major criminal justice bill that would reduce penalties on many non-violent crimes and a hearing on a K-12 school funding bill.
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 Tuesday at the Legislature:
Members of Assembly and Senate budget committees have scheduled a slew of budget committee meetings on various state departments, including
- The Nevada System of Higher Education
- Office of the Military
- Department of Veterans Services
- Department of Transportation
- Department of Motor Vehicles
AB431: Automatic voting rights restoration
Proposed by Democratic Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson, this bill would remove Nevada’s existing scheme for the restoration of voting rights for any previously incarcerated person and instead require voting rights be restored for any person upon release from prison.
The bill also updates sections of state law requiring county clerks to cancel the voter registration if a person was previously incarcerated either in Nevada or another state. It’s estimated that up to 90,000 Nevadans were unable to vote in the 2016 election because of prior convictions.
The bill passed on a 32-9 vote in the Assembly on April 23.
It’s up for a hearing at 8 a.m. in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
AB376: Immigration enforcement reporting
Proposed by Democratic Assemblywoman Selena Torres, this bill would require local law enforcement agencies report to state lawmakers how often they transfer people to federal immigration authorities for non-felony crimes.
The bill requires police agencies to annually compile a list of how many undocumented people it transfers to the custody of a federal agency after being detained by a local agency, but specifies the information can only be used for research and statistical purposes and cannot identify any detained individuals. It also requires any police officer asking an individual about his or her immigration status to first inform the prisoner of the question’s intent.
The bill will be heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee at 8 a.m.
SB166: Equal pay
Sponsored by Democratic Sen. Pat Spearman, this bill gives the state’s Equal Rights Commission the power to levy fines — starting at $5,000 — for employers with more than 30 employees found to have willfully violated employment law, as well as giving the commission the ability to levy compensatory damages in cases of discrimination based on sex.
It also expands protections against gender discrimination to job applicants, as well as regular employees. It also clarifies reporting deadlines for when an unlawful discrimination complaint can be filed.
If a complaint is rejected, the bill also requires the Equal Rights Commission to send a letter to the complainant notifying them of their right to appeal the decision to a District Court. It passed on a 20-1 vote in the Senate on April 22.
It’s scheduled for a hearing in the Assembly Government Affairs Committee at 8:30 a.m.
AB236: Criminal justice overhaul
After a substantial amendment and delayed vote, members of the Assembly Judiciary Committee are finally preparing to vote out a substantial criminal justice reform bill reducing penalties for some lower-level crimes and increasing access to “diversion” programs that give offenders treatment instead of jail time.
The bill comes from a set of recommendations developed before the session by criminal justice leaders and the Crime and Justice Institute, amending the punishments for crimes such as burglary, theft as well as defining someone as a “habitual” criminal.
It’s scheduled for a vote in the Assembly Judiciary Committee at 9 a.m.
AB465: Expanded solar access
If approved, this bill would require NV Energy to create an “expanded solar access” program designed to provide solar energy and special pricing to low-income people and other individuals unable to access existing rooftop solar programs.
The bill, which is backed by Democratic Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno, would create a pilot program for special solar rates that would use a combination of large utility-scale solar projects and smaller “community solar” gardens to provide electricity for participants.
It’s up for a hearing at 1 p.m. in the Senate Growth and Infrastructure Committee.
SB57: Confidential school blueprints
Sponsored on behalf of the attorney general, this bill makes public school blueprints confidential. It also requires that the most current version of a blueprint be disclosed to a public safety agency upon its request and to certain other people or government entities.
This bill is up for a hearing in the Assembly Education Committee at 1:30 p.m.
AB400: Sales tax abatements for economic development
Proposed by Democratic Assemblywoman Teresa Benitez-Thompson, this bill would prohibit the Governor’s Office of Economic Development from granting tax abatements from the state’s Local School Support Tax and prohibit any “double-dipping” by companies applying for more than one abatement or incentive. The bill passed on a 35-6 vote in the Assembly on April 23.
This bill is up for a hearing in the Senate Revenue and Economic Development Committee at 1:30 p.m.
SB48: Work session on diesel fuel taxes
Brought on the behalf of the Nevada Association of Counties, this bill would allow all counties to impose a 5 cent tax per gallon of diesel fuel. Such taxes are already allowed in the state’s two urban counties, Clark and Washoe, but this bill would expand the legislation to also allow counties with a population under 100,000 to impose such a tax if two-thirds of the County Commission or a majority of voters approve.
The funds would be allowed to be used for road repairs or highway truck parking.
The legislation is up for a vote in the Assembly Taxation Committee at 4 p.m.
AB309: Some K-12 funding formula adjustments
Sponsored by Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson, this bill would state that it is the intent of the Legislature to pool all state financial aid to public schools — both on a per-pupil basis and per-program basis — in the Distributive School Account (DSA), the state’s K-12 funding account.
Right now, the state provides state financial aid in the form of a basic support guarantee per pupil and also so-called “categorical funding,” including weights through SB178 from the 2017 session, Zoom schools and Victory schools.
The bill would ensure that state funds restricted for a specific purpose would show up in the DSA when calculating the state’s per-pupil funding.
The bill will be heard in the Assembly Ways and Means Committee at 6 p.m.