Live updates: Nevada Legislature’s first house passage deadline

The Nevada Independent Staff
The Nevada Independent Staff

Amid lengthy Assembly and Senate floor sessions prompting impassioned speeches and cross-party dialogue, lawmakers voted on dozens of bills and amendments throughout last week and the start of this week ahead of the session’s second major bill passage deadline.

Tuesday, April 25, marked the deadline for bills to be voted out of their first house, meaning lawmakers have had to vote on hundreds of bills that made it through the last deadline, first committee passage, earlier this month.

Last week saw Democratic lawmakers push forward several contentious bills, including measures that would protect access to abortion and reproductive care, and limit access to firearms.

Monday and Tuesday also saw a marathon of additional votes as lawmakers worked to pass legislation before the deadline. As of Tuesday morning, there were 70 measures up in the Assembly and 82 in the Senate that had not received a vote and were not exempt from the deadlines.

Throughout Tuesday, lawmakers advanced 35 bills in the Assembly, kicking 32 others with a financial impact on the state to the Assembly Ways and Means Committee for a hearing. In the Senate, lawmakers passed out 72 bills, while granting exemptions to just four other bills.

A handful of bills were left to die through being placed on each chamber’s respective clerk’s desk, a parliamentary procedure that prevents a vote on a bill, effectively killing the measure if no action is taken before the deadline. That includes SB318, a bill that would have authorized cities to establish an annual sewer surcharge to raise funding dedicated to supporting homeless services.

Unlike the committee passage deadline, which saw nearly 240 bills die from inaction, Tuesday’s deadline resulted in the death of only a few bills. Last session, just seven bills failed at the first house passage deadline. Even among the dozens of bills that have not received a full house vote by Tuesday, the vast majority have received exemptions, which are typically granted to measures that would impact the state financially and are not subject to deadlines.

Here’s a look at major policies that passed out of floor sessions last week and through Monday and Tuesday. The updates below reflect votes on major policies voted out of the Assembly and Senate ahead of the deadline.

TUESDAY (as of 9:45 p.m.)

Increased penalties for fentanyl trafficking

Lawmakers approved a pair of high-profile bills seeking to increase felony penalties, including greater fines and sentence lengths, for those guilty of trafficking fentanyl in amounts upward of 4 grams. Both bills (SB35 and SB343) were approved by 15-6 votes, with six Democratic lawmakers in opposition.

In a floor speech, Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro (D-Las Vegas) said the bills are intended to address drug traffickers without punishing low-level drug users. Criminal justice advocates had previously opposed the bill, arguing they would unnecessarily criminalize those who struggle with substance use and may buy drugs laced with fentanyl.

She noted that possession of fentanyl is already a felony in Nevada — a comment that comes as Nevada’s 17 sheriffs recently signed onto a letter incorrectly stating that possession of up to 100 grams of fentanyl is only a misdemeanor. That letter expressed support for Gov. Joe Lombardo’s omnibus crime bill, SB412, which would increase penalties for possession of fentanyl in any amount but has not yet been scheduled for a hearing.

Sen. Jeff Stone (R-Henderson) said he would support the bills, but said he was worried that they may unnecessarily target users of the drug because of drug mixtures that may weigh only 4 grams but contain just 1 milligram of fentanyl. Nevada’s drug lab testing capabilities are limited from detecting how much of a drug is in such a mixture.

Stone argued the state should use funds recovered from litigation with opioid companies (which must be expended in accordance with a statewide plan for remediating the opioid crisis) to purchase machines for the state crime labs that could be used to conduct such testing.

Elections bills

  • Earlier bill counting — Senators split down party lines on SB404, a bill that, in part, would allow county clerks to begin counting ballots during the early voting period rather than waiting for election day. However, Minority Leader Heidi Seevers Gansert (R-Reno), criticized another provision allowing for what she called a broad scope of documents that, under the new bill, would satisfy challenges to voter residency requirements, including utility bills and paychecks. 
  • Election worker safety — Lawmakers in the Senate unanimously passed SB406, a bill from Secretary of State Cisco Aguilar that would criminalize threats, intimidation and violence against election workers. It comes in response to a recent surge in threats against election workers, contributing to a high level of turnover among Nevada election administrators since 2020.
  • Criminalizing fake electors — SB133, a bill sponsored by Sen. Skip Daly (D-Sparks), would criminalize fake presidential elector schemes, like the one led by the Nevada GOP in 2020, which saw six Republican electors seek to pledge the state’s electoral votes to then-President Donald Trump, despite him losing the popular vote in the state to President Joe Biden. Senators voted 11-10 to pass the bill, with Sens. Melanie Scheible (D-Las Vegas) and James Ohrenschall (D-Las Vegas) joining Republicans in opposition. Scheible said she believed in holding people accountable but took issue with the bill not allowing probation for the crime, noting other crimes that allow for probation, such as battery with deadly weapon.

Other highlights:

  • Charter school limits draws dueling floor speeches — SB344, sponsored by Sen. Dina Neal (D-North Las Vegas), spurred a back-and-forth debate between Neal and Sen. Carrie Buck (R-Henderson), over a specific provision limiting cities and counties from diverting funding toward sponsoring or operating charter schools. The Senate still advanced the bill on a party line vote, 13-8. 
  • Banning sundown sirens — Following a heated and heart wrenching discussion, Senators voted 17-4 to pass SB391, a measure that aims to close loopholes in a ‘sundown siren’ law passed during the 2021 session. “I want folks to understand that although the ordinance was dropped in 1970, this is not history,” Sen. Dallas Harris (D-Las Vegas) said ahead of the vote, revealing that she received a racist email in April that in part said, “too bad they abandoned the sirens to make people like you leave town.” She said it is incumbent upon lawmakers to put these kinds of laws in the history books. 
  • Legislative oversight of tax abatements — Senators voted 14-7 to pass SB394, a bill from Sen. Dina Neal (D-North Las Vegas) that would require legislative approval for any tax abatements totaling more than $500,000 — removing the power from the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED). Most Republican senators were opposed, as Sen. Heidi Seevers Gansert (R-Reno) argued in favor of the existing structure, which she said allows GOED to work quickly to advance economic development. Sen. Ira Hansen (R-Sparks) joined Democrats in support, echoing Neal’s arguments in calling for greater legislative oversight of the tax abatement process and said they may not be necessary to bring large companies to the state.
  • Heat exposure in the workplace — In a 13-8 party line vote, Senators passed SB427, a bill that would create new occupational safety standards for high heat or poor air quality conditions, including a requirement to give water to workers when temperatures reach or are at above 105 degrees. Though Democrats, including bill sponsor Sen. Edgar Flores (D-Las Vegas), touted the need to address worsening outdoor working conditions, Republicans criticized the measure as regulatory overreach. 
Assembly Speaker Steve Yeager (R-Las Vegas) watches voting for AB330, a restorative justice repeal measure written by Governor Joe Lombardo's office, inside the Legislature on Tuesday, April 25, 2023 in Carson City. (David Calvert/The Nevada Independent)

TUESDAY (as of 6:06 p.m.)

‘Right to Try’ bill passes Assembly with bipartisan backing

After a last-minute move from the chief clerk’s desk to general file, members of the Assembly voted 33-9 to pass AB188, a bill that would expand access to experimental medical treatments for terminally ill patients.

The bill’s sponsor, Assemblywoman Heidi Kasama (R-Las Vegas), said the legislation is aimed at giving terminally ill patients the ability to access potentially life-saving treatments.

However, several lawmakers opposed to the bill said doctors can already request approval to try experimental drugs from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) through the administration’s expanded access program. They also voiced concerns that the bill would undermine the FDA’s approval process, potentially jeopardizing the health of Nevadans.

“Under this bill, doctors could provide experimental treatments without FDA approval. Unfortunately, that's bad for patients,” Assemblyman David Orentlicher (D-Las Vegas) said. “If we want to safeguard patient health, we need to ensure that Nevadans always receive the protection that FDA oversight provides.”

Kasama pushed back against the criticism, saying that the Right to Try legislation does not grant carte blanche to any and all experimental treatments such as the use of stem cells. She said the law has guidelines and limitations that protect patients and the integrity of medical research.

“The research and treatment is highly controversial and heavily regulated area of medical research,” Kasama said. “The intent of this legislation is to offer hope and possible solutions for patients who have exhausted all other available treatment options.”

Other highlights: 

  • Voting in jails — Members of the Assembly voted 39-3 (with three Republican lawmakers in opposition) to pass AB286, a bill meant to ensure eligible voters held in local jails as they await trial still have the ability to vote by requiring county and city jails to establish a policy allowing those detained to vote. Assemblyman Brian Hibbets (R-Las Vegas) spoke in support of the bill on the Assembly floor, highlighting the constitutional right of being innocent until proven guilty and the right to vote for those who have not yet been convicted of any crime.
  • Gun reform bill — The final gun reform legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Sandra Jauregui (D-Las Vegas) passed out of the Assembly on a party-line vote (28-14) with all Republicans in opposition. The measure, AB354, would criminalize bringing a gun within 100 feet of an election site and clean up legal definitions of “unfinished frame or receiver” as part of the state’s attempt to ban so-called “ghost guns.” Opponents of the legislation cited concerns about the potential issues presented by people with concealed carry permits who inadvertently find themselves within 100 feet of a polling location such as a grocery store or mall.
  • Summary eviction reform — Members of the Assembly voted along party lines (28-14) to pass AB340, which aims to shift the burden of the initial summary eviction process to the landlord rather than the tenant, mirroring other civil procedures. As amended, the bill would not apply those changes to tenants of commercial properties.
  • Health care subsidies for subs — The Assembly voted 31-11 to pass AB282, a bill that would require school districts to provide monthly subsidies of at least $450 for long-term substitute teachers so that they can purchase health insurance. The vote saw some bipartisan support, with three Republicans breaking from their caucus and voting to advance the bill. 
  • Assembly almost splits on substitute teacher licenses — The Assembly nearly voted down AB182 — a bill that would require a baccalaureate degree for certain teaching licenses — in a 21-21 vote. That tally lasted only a minute, however, before Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno switched her vote from “nay” to “yea,” pushing it over the finish line. The 22-20 vote still counts as legislative scorigami
  • Train safety bill goes down party lines — Republicans balked at a bill aiming to limit the length of trains passing through Nevada to just 7,500 feet, down from an average of 3 miles, in the wake of the devastating derailment in East Palestine, Ohio earlier this year. The 28-14 vote in the Assembly comes after the bill, AB456, was amended twice, including a last-minute amendment Tuesday adding back language limiting train length after it was removed last week. 
Copies of bills inside the Legislature before the start of the Senate floor session on Tuesday, April 25, 2023 in Carson City. (David Calvert/The Nevada Independent)

Dozens of bills kicked to budget committees

Though both houses appear likely to leave few bills behind at Tuesday’s deadline, many bills escaped without a vote from a house floor after being referred to one of the Legislature’s budget committees — where bills granted exemptions because they carry a financial impact on the state go for consideration.

The more than 30 bills sent to a budget committee included:

  • University tuition fee waivers — AB150, sponsored by Assemblywoman Natha Anderson (D-Sparks), would appropriate $900,000 to help cover the costs of existing fee waivers for Native American students. AB226, sponsored by Assemblyman Reuben D'Silva (D-Las Vegas), would allow students with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status or in the U.S. on temporary protected status (TPS) to receive in-state tuition at Nevada public colleges and universities. 
  • Ballots in Chinese in Clark County — AB246, sponsored by Assemblywoman Selena Torres (D-Las Vegas), would require county election officials to make ballots available in another language for a given minority group if there are at least 5,000 “voting age citizens” in the county who are members of that minority group and are of “limited-English proficiency.” That would include limited-English speaking Chinese residents in Clark County. The secretary of state’s office projects it will cost about $200,000 annually.
  • Higher ed, K-12 sexual misconduct policy — AB245, sponsored by Assemblywoman Selena Torres (D-Las Vegas), would expand on a campus sexual misconduct omnibus bill from the 2021 legislative session, in part by eliminating an existing higher education task force and replacing it with a new legislative commission. 
  • Regulating student loan servicers — AB332, sponsored by Assemblywoman Sarah Peters (D-Reno), would create a wide range of new regulations, functionally regulating student loan servicing companies like banks and other financial institutions. 
  • Cameras in special education classrooms — SB158, sponsored by Sen. Scott Hammond (R-Las Vegas), would require public schools to, at the request of a parent or guardian, install cameras in a classroom in which a majority of students receive special education services, and require notice for students who are in such classrooms and their parents.

TUESDAY (as of 2:53 p.m.)

School safety bills pass with bipartisan support, some Democratic defections

Two bills rolling back key elements of the state’s 2019 law creating “restorative justice” school discipline regimes cleared the Assembly on Tuesday. That includes AB285, a bill sponsored by Assemblywoman Angie Taylor (D-Reno), and AB330, a bill proposed by Gov. Joe Lombardo’s office. 

The moves come as lawmakers have faced public pressure to address rising classroom violence from administrators, teachers (including a major teachers union) and parents. But the pair of bills have emerged as a point of contention as Democrats have sought to avoid abandoning their 2019 efforts designed to address the “school to prison pipeline” entirely. 

Two Black lawmakers, Assemblywoman Clara Thomas (D-North Las Vegas) and Assemblywoman Shondra Summers-Armstrong (D-Las Vegas), also raised concerns during floor remarks that the measures could disproportionately affect minority students.

“I honor and appreciate the work of [Taylor] and those in this room who have worked diligently to try and find middle ground,” Summers-Armstrong said. “But I cannot overcome that we will have an opportunity to suspend children as young as 6 years old, and we have no plan, no solid plan, for what we will do with those children when they are expelled from school.” 

Those concerns could yet lead to additional bill changes — Taylor recently told The Nevada Independent she’s open to possible changes to her bill to allow school officials more time to address that issue.

But the Assembly Democratic supermajority still largely sided in favor of advancing the bill. In floor remarks, Assemblywoman Selena Torres (D-Las Vegas), one of the architects of the 2019 measure, argued that the new language proposed by AB285 filled major holes left in the original legislation. 

“At the crux, restorative justice is about holding students accountable,” Torres said. “It’s about restoration or remedies to the behavior, it’s about relief to the victim, and it’s about changing the behaviors of students. All of this is in this phenomenal piece of legislation.”

Both AB285 and AB330 passed 38-4, with all four votes against from Democrats. 

Jacob Solis and Rocio Hernandez

Assemblywoman Shondra Summers-Armstrong (D-Las Vegas) inside the Legislature on Tuesday, April 25, 2023 in Carson City. (David Calvert/The Nevada Independent)

Other highlights

  • Medicare drug pricing bill – Members of the Assembly voted 27-15 to pass AB250, a measure that would ensure the state piggybacks off of future Medicare-negotiated prices of a prescription drug once the federal insurance program for people 65 and older sets those prices. Assemblywoman Bea Duran (D-Las Vegas) broke party ranks to vote against the measure, alongside all Assembly Republicans.
  • Right to Try — Lawmakers in the Assembly moved a bill that would give terminally ill patients access to experimental medical treatments, AB188, from the chief clerk’s desk to general file. The bill is expected to get a vote later this afternoon.
  • Tenant protections — Senators voted 14-7 (with Sen. Scott Hammond (R-Las Vegas) joining all Democrats in support) to pass SB78, the return of an unsuccessful 2021 bill seeking to expand tenants’ rights. The bill, which has faced opposition from the politically powerful Nevada Association of Realtors, would require a grace period for late rent payments and require advance notice of fee increases.
  • Licensing sidewalk vendors — SB92, sponsored by Sen. Fabian Doñate (D-Las Vegas), would provide for the licensing and regulation of sidewalk food vendors in Clark and Washoe counties. Doñate argued the bill would help provide economic equity for those vendors. Sen. Jeff Stone (R-Henderson) was the lone Senate vote in opposition to the bill.
  • Diversionary programs for homeless individuals — Senators voted along party lines, 13-8, to pass SB155, a bill that would allow someone charged with a misdemeanor homelessness offense to be assigned to certain diversionary and specialty court programs. An initial version of the bill was heavily amended and had sought to prevent local governments from banning homeless individuals from sleeping outdoors.
  • Train bill gets another last-minute amendment — After a provision in AB456 that would have limited the length of trains in Nevada to limit the running of so-called “monster trains” was cut last week, Assembly lawmakers moved Tuesday to add the provision back in with a last-minute amendment. AB456 remains slated for a Tuesday vote, following a suspension of rules earlier in the day.
A Legislative Council Bureau staff member delivers copies of bills to the public bill room inside the Legislature on Tuesday, April 25, 2023 in Carson City. (David Calvert/The Nevada Independent)

MONDAY (as of 6:40 p.m.)

Machine voting bill

Lawmakers voted along party lines, 28-14, to pass AB242, a bill that would require the use of mechanical voting machines and prohibit the use of paper ballots for in-person voting. Proponents of the measure pitched it as a way of ensuring individuals with disabilities have access to voting, but the bill faced pushback from Nye County Clerk Mark Kampf, who last year implemented the use of paper ballots for the large majority of in-person voters in his county.

Septic tank bill advances, but not without bipartisan concerns

A sweeping omnibus water bill backed by the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) was passed by the Assembly in an unusual 30-12 vote that saw two Democrats join 10 Republicans in voting “no,” while another four Republicans joined the Democratic majority. 

AB220, sponsored by the Committee on Natural Resources, would give water regulators the ability to curb excessive water usage under federally declared shortages. It would also look to regulate groundwater in Las Vegas, as well as curbing water lost to septic tank systems, in part by requiring certain septic tank owners to connect to community sewers by 2054. 

Assembly members Sabra Newby (D-Las Vegas) and Gregory Hafen (R-Pahrump) expressed concern that the bill only requires county agencies to help cover as much as 85 percent of the cost for a homeowner abandoning their septic system and connecting to community sewers, rather than the full cost. 

Rent caps for seniors

Members of the Assembly voted 36-6 to pass AB298, a measure sponsored by Assemblywoman Sandra Jauregui (D-Las Vegas) that would cap rent increases at 10 percent for existing tenants who are older than 62 or who rely on disability insurance benefits. The bill would be in effect from July 1, 2023, through Dec. 31, 2024.

Assembly members Rich Delong (R-Reno), Jill Dickman (R-Reno), Danielle Gallant (R-Las Vegas), Gregory Hafen (R-Pahrump), Alexis Hansen (R-Sparks), Richard McArthur (R-Las Vegas) voted against the measure.

Traditional regalia at graduation
In a unanimous vote, members of the Assembly passed AB73 which would establish the right of public school students to wear traditional tribal regalia or other recognized objects of cultural or religious significance at school graduation ceremonies.

MONDAY (as of 2:22 p.m.)

Expansion of North Las Vegas city council 

Despite a pledge from Gov. Joe Lombardo to veto a measure that would expand the size of the North Las Vegas city council from four to six members, members of the Senate voted 13-8 along party lines, with Democrats in support, to advance the bill, SB184.

In a fiery floor speech, Sen. Pat Spearman (D-Las Vegas), who brought forward the bill, argued the measure addresses a civil rights issue caused by a lack of adequate representation by the city council. She pointed to the city of Reno, which has council six wards despite now having fewer residents than North Las Vegas, which has seen its population rise rapidly in recent years.

“If you have more than 275,000 people who live in the city of North Las Vegas, you ought to have enough sense to know that more than four people [should be] required on the city council,” Spearman said.

Sen. Pete Goicoechea (R-Eureka) spoke in opposition to the bill, echoing the reasoning behind Lombardo’s position against the bill by arguing that the Legislature should not disregard the city charter committee. North Las Vegas officials have similarly opposed Spearman’s bill, saying it was brought forward without input from the city’s charter committee, though some members of the charter committee have individually expressed support for the bill.

A resolution calling on Congress to deschedule marijuana 

Lawmakers in the Assembly voted 37-5 to approve AJR8, a joint resolution that would urge the US Congress to deschedule marijuana as a schedule I drug. Though the bill received bipartisan support, all five “no” votes came from Republican lawmakers. 

The measure has broad bipartisan support, with 36 sponsors and co-sponsors across the Assembly and Senate, but comes as federal efforts to decriminalize pot have largely stalled, even as individual states have embraced a mix of medical and recreational marijuana legalization. Most recently, President Joe Biden mass pardoned thousands of federal marijuana convictions in October of last year.


Medical aid in dying

A contentious measure that would allow terminally ill patients to self-administer life-ending medication prescribed by a physician (SB239) passed out of the Senate on Wednesday on a narrow 11-10 split vote where Sen. Dina Neal (D-North Las Vegas) and Sen. James Ohrenschall (D-Las Vegas) joined Republicans in opposition.

2023 marks the fifth legislative session where Nevada lawmakers have debated a measure to legalize life-ending medication for terminally ill patients. Recent polling conducted by  Susquehanna Polling & Research and sponsored by a pro-medical aid-in-dying organization indicated that 82 percent of Nevada voters support this legislation.

Abortion care

As debates over abortion rights rage across the country, senators voted 15-6 on Wednesday to pass SB131, a bill aimed at protecting out-of-state residents seeking abortions in Nevada. Two Republicans joined Democrats in support — Sen. Heidi Seevers Gansert (R-Reno) and Sen. Carrie Buck (R-Henderson). 

Seevers Gansert said the Dobbs decision allowed for states to decide what they’re going to do around reproductive health care. She added that members of the Senate had shared testimony about challenges they faced surrounding reproductive health care decision-making and that process is personal.

“Given the hodgepodge of laws across the U.S., the one thing that jumps off the page to me is: Women who face these difficult choices, we need to give them our support and our prayers, but we don’t need to give them jail time,” Seevers Gansert said.

Earlier that week on Monday, senators also voted along party lines (13-8), with Republicans in opposition, to pass SJR7, a measure that would enshrine abortion protections and other reproductive rights into the Nevada Constitution, where they would be more difficult to repeal than they are now. The vote prompted emotional and personal stories about abortion from both sides of the aisle.

The measure now heads to the Assembly and, if passed out of the Legislature, it must return to lawmakers in 2025 before it goes in front of voters during the 2026 general election.

Gun restrictions

Lawmakers voted along party lines (13-8), with Democrats in support, to advance SB171, a bill that would prohibit a person from purchasing or possessing any firearm if the person had been convicted of committing or attempting to commit a hate crime in the past 10 years.

Though Republican Sen. Jeff Stone (R-Henderson) voted against the measure, he voted to pass a similar measure while he was serving in the California Legislature.

In the Assembly, legislators also voted on party lines (26-14), with two excused absences, to advance another major gun bill, AB355. Sponsored by Assemblywoman Sandra Jauregui (D-Las Vegas), the measure would ban the sale of semi-automatic shotguns or certain rifles to anyone younger than 21.

Another gun bill proposed by Jauregui, AB354, that would seek to ban guns around polling places and tighten language in the state’s ban on so-called “ghost guns,” has not yet appeared on the Assembly floor agenda despite passing through committee earlier this month. 

Ending daily room cleaning

Legislation that would remove pandemic-imposed daily hotel room cleaning requirements was passed out of the Senate on an 18-3 vote Friday, with three Democrats, including the committee chairman who oversaw the contentious hearing on the measure, voting in opposition of the bill.

Culinary Workers Local 226 opposed SB441, saying the practice was a good policy. Nevada’s major hotel-casino operators said daily room cleaning is a burden and should no longer be required. In a statement released after the vote, union Secretary-Treasurer Ted Pappageorge expressed disappointment and called on the Assembly to oppose the measure. 

Sen. Fabian Doñate (D-Las Vegas), who chaired the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services Committee that sent SB441 forward without a recommendation, said in a floor speech there are provisions of the bill that have merit and should “have been termed out once the emergency declaration ended.

However, Doñate cited family members, including his grandmother who worked as a housekeeper on the Strip and told him of the challenges she faced. He added that his office had received calls from district residents asking to make revisions to SB441.

“Considering that this bill may fall short on that request, I'm casting my opposition to this bill,” Doñate said. Sen. Edgar Flores (D-Las Vegas) and Sen. James Ohrenschall (D-Las Vegas) also voted in opposition.

SB411 now moves to the Assembly.

STI testing for minors

Sen. Heidi Seevers Gansert (R-Reno) joined Democrats in support of SB172, bringing the vote total to 14-7. The bill would allow a minor without parental permission to consent to receive services that would prevent a sexually transmitted disease, including access to contraception. 

Gansert cited growing rates of sexually transmitted infections (STI) in adolescents (15-24 years of age). She noted that though 15-24 year olds only make up about 25 percent of the population, they account for approximately half of the new STIs in the country every year. 

She said children do not always go to their parents to ask for birth control or STI prevention methods and it is vital to make sure they can be protected.

“As a parent, and given the experience that I've had and others, and given the rate of infection for STDs or STIs, and given the difficult decision women may face if they do become pregnant at very early age, I'll be supporting this legislation,” Seevers Gansert said.

Repealing a constitutional lottery ban

Democratic lawmakers voted to move forward with AJR5, a proposed constitutional amendment to repeal the state's 159-year-old ban on lotteries. But two Democratic lawmakers, Assembly members Shondra Summers-Armstrong (D-Las Vegas) and David Orentlicher (D-Las Vegas), joined Republican lawmakers in opposition, leading to a 26-15 vote. (Assemblyman Bert Gurr’s (R-Elko) vote was recorded as yes, but he later said that he intended to vote no.)

Some opponents of the bill have criticized it for including no mention of youth mental health funding, which sponsor Assemblyman Cameron “C.H.” Miller (D-North Las Vegas) hopes a state lottery would support that funding. Though the proposed amendment would repeal a ban on lotteries, separate legislation would have to come later to establish a state lottery and allocate its revenue.

Expanding urban school boards gets another haircut

Legislators voted 29-11 (with four Democratic and seven Republican lawmakers in opposition) to advance a bill that would add four nonvoting members to the Clark County School Board — a move that has come only after multiple passes at narrowing the scope of the bill. 

In its original form, AB175 would have sought to create a hybrid elected-appointed school board in Clark and Washoe counties, amid long-running concerns over the efficacy of the fully elected boards.

But that language was largely rolled back before the bill’s first hearing, which instead pivoted to adding the new, nonvoting members to those same school boards. The inclusion of Washoe County in the bill has since been amended out. The bill’s bipartisan sponsors argued during a hearing last month that the move would add professionalism and expertise to K-12 governance. 

Local power over rent control

Senate Democrats voted to advance a bill, SB371, that would allow local governments to create affordable housing measures — and in so doing, explicitly give those governments the ability to impose rent control. But in a rare 12-9 split, Sen. Skip Daly (D-Sparks) broke with his fellow Democrats and opposed the measure in an otherwise party-line vote. 

Other highlights

  • Wild mustangs — Lawmakers voted 18-3 to pass SB90, a bill that would designate the wild mustang as the official state horse. Sen. Ira Hansen (R-Sparks) expressed his opposition to the measure in a lengthy floor speech, highlighting the negative impacts, including public safety issues, caused by wild horses on some rural communities.
  • Temporary addresses — The senate unanimously voted to pass SB317, a bill that would allow a provider of homeless services to allow a person experiencing homelessness — as long as they are a Nevada resident — to use their address as a “temporary mailing address.”
  • Landlord fees — Lawmakers also voted unanimously to pass SB381, a bill prohibiting landlords from charging a tenant for maintenance and other upkeep costs.
  • Ethics test for justices of the peace — SB354, passed in a 20-1 vote with Sen. Robin Titus (R-Wellington) in opposition, would require any justice of the peace who is not licensed or admitted to practice law in the state to pass a test about the duties of the position, including judicial decorum, within 18 months after taking office.
  • Disabilities bill of rights — Lawmakers voted 17-4 to pass SB315, which would establish a ‘Bill of Rights’ for people with disabilities and people who are aged (65 years or older) receiving Medicaid-covered waiver services. It would also establish a ‘Bill of Rights’ for students with disabilities in Nevada’s K-12 education system.
  • Banning car tracking devices — In a unanimous vote with two excused absences, lawmakers passed AB356, a bill that would make it a misdemeanor to unlawfully install a mobile tracking device on a vehicle. The bill comes in response to the placement of a GPS tracking device on local government leaders’ vehicles.

— Tabitha Mueller, Sean Golonka, Jacob Solis and Howard Stutz


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