Live updates: Nevada Legislature’s second house committee passage deadline

The Nevada Independent Staff
The Nevada Independent Staff

In the face of growing tensions between Democratic legislative leadership and Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo, lawmakers advanced hundreds of bills over the first weeks of May ahead of Friday’s deadline to pass bills out of committee in their second house.

Since the start of last week (May 8), legislators have voted more than 300 bills out of their second house committee ahead of the deadline — including more than 100 bills that were voted out of their committee on Friday.

The pressure to move bills comes as legislative timelines are squeezed by the impending sine die, the constitutionally mandated end of the 120-day session, which lies just two-and-a-half weeks away on June 5.

As of Wednesday, through the 101st day of the session, lawmakers have passed less than two dozen bills and resolutions out of both houses — a tiny fraction of the nearly 800 measures left alive in the Legislature.

Though many of those continue to move through the 18 policy committees across the Assembly and Senate, the powerful budget committees have also begun lengthy, often twice-a-day hearings on many budget implementation bills and others that have been exempted because of their potential financial impact on the state.

But even if lawmakers get a complete budget passed by June 5, Lombardo may keep the group of 63 in Carson City later into June — his chief of staff said this week the governor could veto the budget if his priorities are not passed.

Whether or not the governor’s bills will clear the Legislature still remains unclear with less than 18 days left in the session. Lombardo’s school safety bill, for instance, appeared all but dead this week until a late Friday announcement from his office that not only had the bill been granted an emergency waiver by Democratic leaders — but that he would veto a Democrat-backed school safety bill without “significant changes.”

The Legislature wrapped up Friday’s committee passage deadline at 7:36 p.m. The next deadline is the second house passage deadline, which comes just a week later on Friday, May 26.

Here’s a look at which bills have passed (and failed) ahead of Friday’s deadline.

FRIDAY (as of 8:23 p.m.)

Lawmakers raise proposed thresholds for fentanyl trafficking penalties 

During one of the final meetings of Friday’s deadline, lawmakers on the Assembly Judiciary Committee voted to advance just one of a pair of high-profile Democrat-backed bills that would increase penalties for the sale and distribution of fentanyl and lower trafficking thresholds. 

The bill approved Friday, SB35 from Attorney General Aaron Ford, came with a wide-reaching conceptual amendment that seeks to establish severe penalties for anyone who knowingly sells items laced with fentanyl to an unknowing buyer, target those who create and distribute counterfeit fentanyl compounds and establish greater protections for those who unknowingly possess drugs containing fentanyl.

Under the proposed amendment, the bill would also direct the Legislature’s interim judiciary committee to study the cost and benefits of upgrading the state’s crime labs to be able to conduct qualitative testing in order to determine amounts of fentanyl contained within a mixture of drugs. It would also mandate medication-assisted treatment programs in prisons and jails.

Signs of a rushed process to finish the last-minute amendment included language directing law enforcement to report to the interim judiciary committee with “the following information: (insert data to be requested).”

Assemblywoman Erica Mosca (D-Las Vegas) and five Assembly Republicans on the committee voted against the bill. Assemblyman Ken Gray (R-Dayton) and other Republicans said they were voting no because the amendment had not been written and they had only just received the conceptual amendment before the vote.

The committee did not vote on SB343, a bill from Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro (D-Las Vegas), originally intended to work in tandem with SB35 by establishing penalties for low-level fentanyl trafficking. Because it did not pass out Friday, the bill died.

Under the original pairing of the two bills, the threshold for low-level trafficking would have been set at 4 grams and punishable as a category B felony, but under the amended version of SB343, the thresholds for low-level trafficking would be set at possession of 28 to 42 grams of fentanyl and punishable by one to 10 years imprisonment.

Some Democratic lawmakers had previously not supported the bills over the proposed thresholds, siding with criminal justice advocates who criticized the increased penalties for possession as reinstigating the war on drugs of the 1980s and 1990s, during which aggressive policies meant to tackle the drug crisis triggered harsh mandatory minimum sentences for possession of a substance. In the Senate, the bills each passed with 15-6 votes, with half of Senate Democrats in opposition.

Extreme heat legislation fails to advance

Legislation to protect workers facing extreme heat and poor air quality received a last-minute hearing in the Assembly Committee on Commerce and Labor on Friday, but did not advance after the committee adjourned without a vote.

SB427, which was sponsored by Sen. Edgar Flores (D-Las Vegas), aimed to create baseline requirements for businesses that employ workers exposed to extreme heat and poor air quality, an increasingly resonant issue as climate change pushes up temperatures across the state. 

The legislation passed the Senate in a party-line vote but stalled in the Assembly after business groups and trade associations expressed significant opposition. They argued that the new rules would be hard to implement, that certain terms in the legislation were vague and that most employers already provide protections, including water and shade, for their workers. 

In recent days, environmental justice organizers and labor advocates urged Democrats in the Assembly to schedule a hearing on SB427, but the bill ultimately died Friday without passing out of committee.

Bill proposing ban on paper ballots amended to only require counting by machine

The Senate Legislative Operations and Elections Committee voted to pass AB242, a bill amended Friday to require all ballots cast in an election be counted by a mechanical system. Sen. Lisa Krasner (R-Reno) was the lone vote against the bill.

An original version of the bill would have prohibited the use of paper ballots for in-person voting,  but that faced pushback from Republican lawmakers. That version of the bill passed out of the Assembly 28-14 along party lines.

The bill still contains provisions that would require two electronic voting machines at each polling location to ensure voters with disabilities have access to voting.

Legislation advances to prohibit sale of products with ‘forever chemicals,’ add labeling

The Assembly Natural Resources Committee on Friday advanced SB76, legislation sponsored by Sen. Dina Neal (D-North Las Vegas) to protect consumers and give them more information about whether products contain PFAS, a type of manmade compound known as “forever chemicals.”

SB76 passed the Senate with bipartisan support and builds off national and statewide efforts to create rules around the use of these chemicals, used widely in products ranging from cookware to cosmetics. The legislation comes after the federal Environmental Protection Agency recently proposed a rule to regulate certain types of PFAS chemicals in drinking water. 

The legislation would prohibit the sale of certain consumer products with intentionally added PFAS, including carpets, rugs, fabric treatments and juvenile products, with some exceptions.

SB76 also includes labeling requirements to inform customers whether products contain PFAS. 

Water legislation to clarify the state’s authority does not pass Senate

A Senate committee shelved AB387, legislation that would have given state officials statutory ability to recognize hydrological connections when regulating water rights, after a contested hearing last week that included testimony from some of the state’s most politically powerful players.

AB387, legislation from Assemblyman Howard Watts (D-Las Vegas), aimed to clarify in law that state water regulators have the ability to apply what scientists have long recognized: Water sources are connected. Pump groundwater from one area and you might affect groundwater in a connected aquifer, springflow across the valley or a river that draws from the same source. 

Opponents, ranging from Barrick, the state’s largest mining operator, to the proposed Coyote Springs master-planned community, had argued that the legislation would have unintended consequences, upend the practice of water regulation and preempt judicial rulings on the subject. Supporters of the legislation, including environmental groups and some agricultural water users, argued it would bring needed clarity to state water law. 

In recent years, Nevada’s top water regulator has worked to address hydrologic connections in different parts of the state, from the Muddy River to the Humboldt River basin. Many of these have led to litigation, including a complex case pending before the Nevada Supreme Court.

FRIDAY (as of 4:04 p.m.)

Democrat-backed school discipline bill advances

The Senate Education Committee voted unanimously to pass AB285, a Democrat-backed repeal-and-replacement of the state’s 2019 restorative justice school discipline law aimed at addressing mounting criticisms of that law in the years since and in the wake of high-profile violent classroom incidents. 

The Friday vote comes as Democrats have sparred with Gov. Joe Lombardo’s office over the precise nature of that repeal, with lawmakers in the majority moving to retain elements of the original law and, more recently, kill a similar repeal effort sponsored by Lombardo. 

On Tuesday, committee chair Sen. Roberta Lange (D-Las Vegas) told The Nevada Independent that she offered the governor’s office the opportunity to amend AB285 to include elements of Lombardo’s bill, AB330, but would not hear the bill ahead of Friday’s deadline. As of the committee’s last meeting on Wednesday, a spokesperson for Assemblywoman Angie Taylor’s (D-Reno) office said no such amendment had come from the governor’s office. 

Sen. Robin Titus (R-Wellington), said ahead of the vote that she was “disappointed that the governor’s [bill] was not given the same time” as AB285, though she still praised Taylor’s bill for addressing similar issues as Lombardo’s bill.

Separately, the committee also approved an extensive technical amendment to the bill that included a key change to an age threshold for permanent expulsions — raising that threshold from 6 years old to 11 years old. 

Committee advances bill increasing penalties for reckless driving

The Assembly Judiciary Committee unanimously approved SB322, a bill from Sen. Jeff Stone (R-Henderson) that is also known as “Rex’s Law” in honor of 13-year-old ​​Rex Patchett, who was hit and killed in a reckless driving incident in Henderson in March 2022. The bill would increase the maximum penalty from six to 10 years for reckless driving in school zones or for speeding more than 50 miles per hour over the limit.

‘Bill of Rights’ for people with disabilities moves out of committee

A measure establishing a ‘Bill of Rights’ for people with disabilities and people who are aged (65 years or older) receiving Medicaid-covered waiver services, SB315, passed out of the Assembly Health and Human Services Committee on a 10-2 vote Friday.

Assemblymen Gregory Hafen (R-Pahrump) and Ken Gray (R-Dayton) were the only two opposition votes, though they did not explain their decision to vote against the measure’s passage. 

Assemblyman Duy Nguyen (D-Las Vegas) praised an amendment on the bill that stipulated a student with disabilities has the right to communicate freely using the student’s preferred language.

The measure passed through the Senate on a 17-4 vote with Sens. Carrie Buck (R-Henderson), Scott Hammond (R-Las Vegas) and Heidi Seevers Gansert (R-Reno) joining Democrats in support.

Medical-aid-in-dying legislation clears second committee

Members of the Assembly Health and Human Services Committee voted along party lines with Republicans in opposition to pass a measure that would allow terminally ill patients to self-administer life-ending medication.

The bill, SB239, received a minor amendment and was approved during the Friday committee meeting without comment. The measure moved out of the Senate on an 11-10 vote, with Sen. Dina Neal (D-North Las Vegas) and Sen. James Ohrenschall (D-Las Vegas) joining Republicans in opposition.

Temporary mailing addresses for those experiencing homelessness

Those experiencing homelessness could soon have the ability to temporarily use the mailing address of a service provider if they intend to reside in Nevada for at least six months.

SB317 passed out of the Assembly Committee on Health and Human Services on Friday with all members in support. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Melanie Scheible (D-Las Vegas), passed unanimously out of the Senate in April.

Menstrual products included in SNAP and WIC benefits

Members of the Assembly Committee on Health and Human Services voted to pass SB161, a bipartisan measure sponsored by Sen. Melanie Scheible (D-Las Vegas) that stipulates the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Women, Infants and Children (WIC) must provide menstrual products as long as federal funds are available.

The bill passed out of the Senate in April with unanimous support.

IUD insertion postpartum

Members of the Assembly Health and Human Services committee voted Friday to pass SB280, a measure requiring hospitals keep intrauterine devices, commonly referred to as IUDs, available for insertion for someone after giving birth. The bill also requires Medicaid and other insurance groups to cover IUD insertion after birth.

The bill passed out of the Senate in April with a unanimous vote.

Prohibiting lying to children in interrogations

Lawmakers on the Senate Judiciary Committee passed AB193 on Friday, a bill that would prohibit a police officer from lying to a child during an interrogation in an attempt to elicit an incriminating response from the child. Sen. Jeff Stone (R-Henderson) was the lone vote against the bill, which passed 26-14 along party lines in the Assembly.

A statement from a child that comes in violation of that prohibition “is presumed to be involuntary and inadmissible in any criminal or juvenile proceeding,” according to a summary of the bill, but the state is able to overcome that presumption with enough evidence “that the statement was voluntary, reliable and not induced.”

The bill also includes exceptions from the rule for circumstances in which there is “an imminent threat to life or property.”

Supporters of the bill argued it would help address pressures from interrogators that have resulted in false confessions.

Summary eviction changes

A proposal to change Nevada’s summary eviction law passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday, with all members in support.

The bill, AB340, doesn’t seek to repeal the law but instead seeks to amend the process to require a landlord to make the first filing in a summary eviction case. Sponsored by Assemblywoman Shondra Summers-Armstrong (D-Las Vegas) the bill passed through the Assembly on a party-line vote in April with Republicans in opposition.

FRIDAY (as of 12:41 p.m.)

Medicare-negotiated drug prices

Members of the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee voted along party lines Friday to pass a measure that would adopt drug prices negotiated by Medicare.

The bill, AB250, is sponsored by Assemblywoman Venicia Considine (D-Las Vegas) and 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 as part of the federal Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). If passed, the Nevada measure would go into effect in 2026, aligning with the IRA timeline and giving the state and businesses enough time to adjust to the new drug pricing. The bill passed out of the Assembly in a 27-15 vote with Assemblywoman Bea Duran (D-Las Vegas) joining Republicans in opposition.

An amendment to the bill clarifies language on who the provisions apply to.

Democratic lawmakers said they heard from constituents about the need to curb drug prices and that they believe it will not negatively affect the pharmaceutical industry. Sen. Skip Daly (D-Sparks) said the bill gives the state plenty of time to adjust to what’s happening at the federal level and if any issues arise.

“I don’t think that this is going to upset the apple cart,” Daly said ahead of the vote. “I think it will send the right message to pharmaceutical people when they’re negotiating with Medicare.”

However, Sen. Jeff Stone (R-Henderson), a pharmacist by trade, said the bill unfairly targets pharmacies instead of the manufacturers or pharmacy benefit managers, and criticized the measure as “feel-good legislation.”

“Go after the manufacturers if you want to make an action and a point, but don’t penalize the pharmacists,” he said.

Transparent rental fees passed through Commerce and Labor; two Republicans in opposition

AB218, sponsored by Assemblywoman Venicia Considine (D-LasVegas), increases the amount of transparency surrounding rental fees by requiring landlords to provide at least one payment method to tenants that would not require additional fees sometimes associated with online payment options. It passed in the Assembly on April 24 with 14 Republicans in opposition.

Amendments submitted by Considine would further tenants' legal power to claim monetary damages from landlords who impose additional fees associated with online rental payment systems.

The measure passed through the Senate Committee on Commerce and Labor with two lawmakers in opposition: Sens. Carrie Buck (R-Henderson) and Jeff Stone (R-Henderson).

“This is going to affect a lot of small landlords that are not going to have the financial resources if they make a mistake in a lease,” Stone said. “There should at least be some warning provision before we start filing rites of action against mom and pop [landlords].”

Sen. Scott Hammond (R-Las Vegas) said he would vote the measure out of committee but reserved his right to oppose it on the floor.

FRIDAY (as of 11:11 a.m.)

Prison visitation changes

Lawmakers on the Assembly Judiciary Committee unanimously passed SB351 on Friday, a bill sponsored by Sen. Dallas Harris (D-Las Vegas) meant to address prison visitation policies that have kept families apart by eliminating an extra burden placed on people with past felony convictions who try to visit family members in prison. 

It would require the Nevada Department of Corrections to adopt regulations for visitation and restrict those regulations from prohibiting visitors who have been convicted of a felony if such visitation requirements are not imposed on any other person. That change would not mean that a visitor could not be denied, but the bill would also require the warden to provide an explanation for why any person was denied visitation.

Tressa Kenyatta, who had a marijuana possession conviction in 2008, said her application to visit her son in prison was denied by the department.

“I did change my life, so I don’t feel like I should be penalized in being able to visit my son and to provide him with the support that he needs,” she said. “I’m the only form of support that he has.”

Assemblywoman Brittney Miller (D-Las Vegas) said the committee received permission to waive the standard legislative rules and vote on the measure immediately after hearing it. The bill previously passed out of the Senate unanimously.

Establishing licensing process for sidewalk vendors

SB92, sponsored by Sen. Fabian Doñate (D-Las Vegas) requires sidewalk food vendors to be licensed by a governing body of a county or city with a population of 100,000 or more, which would apply to Clark and Washoe counties.

It also requires the local health board to establish a licensing process for sidewalk vendors. If SB92 becomes law, the health board would also have to create a task force, advised by a board within the secretary of state’s office, to recommend improvements to state and local sidewalk vending laws.  

The Assembly Committee on Government Affairs voted to amend and pass the bill on Friday without comment. That amendment included several technical changes, such as clarifying language that would prevent someone from using the new provisions to get out of complying with existing county law, or using the street vendor provisions as a criminal defense for an unrelated crime. 

Diversionary programs for people experiencing homelessness

The Assembly Committee on Government Affairs on Friday passed SB155, a bill that would authorize homeless persons who commit certain misdemeanors to be assigned diversionary and specialty court programs to possibly waive or reduce violation fees associated with the crime.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. James Orenschall (D-Las Vegas), originally sought to preserve people experiencing homelessness’ right to accept food and sleep outdoors in “an unobstructive manner,” but was heavily amended in the Senate. It passed Friday with an amendment aimed at clarifying how the bill would allow certain cases to be transferred to a specialty drug court.

THURSDAY (as of 6:03 p.m.)

Medical malpractice bill gets amended

A contentious bill proposing increases to the state’s $350,000 cap on medical malpractice damages for pain and suffering received an amendment Thursday that reduces the proposed cap.

The amendment to AB404 changes the proposed new cap on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits from $2.5 million as called for in the original bill down to a bifurcated cap of $2 million for actions involving hospitals and $550,000 for other lawsuits involving groups such as doctors.

The bill passed out of the Assembly Judiciary committee last week with all five of the Republican members and Assemblywoman Shannon Bilbray-Axelrod (D-Las Vegas) voting against it.

The bill awaits a vote in the Assembly before it will head to the Senate.

Elections committees advance bills penalizing fake electors, expanding jail voting 

Despite concerns from some lawmakers that a proposal to criminalize fake elector schemes contains excessive penalties even greater than the statutory punishment for some violent crimes, lawmakers on the Assembly Committee on Legislative Operations and Elections voted 8-4 on party lines to pass SB133.

The bill would criminalize schemes such as the 2020 plot that saw six Nevada Republicans attempt to pledge the state’s electoral votes to former President Donald Trump, despite him losing the election. A person guilty of filing or conspiring to file a false slate of presidential electors would be charged with a category B felony penalty and would face four to 10 years in prison with no possibility of probation.

Separately, Assemblywoman Jill Dickman (R-Sparks) emerged as a deliberate protest vote against another election bill, SB60. Ahead of a party-line vote on that measure, Dickman said she would have voted in favor, but would vote against any future election bills until Gov. Joe Lombardo’s election omnibus, SB405, received a hearing. 

Legislative Democrats have for months resisted the governor’s election policies, telling reporters earlier this month that the measure — which includes voter ID — was dead on arrival

In the Senate Legislative Operations and Elections Committee, lawmakers advanced AB286, a bill sponsored by Assemblywoman Brittney Miller (D-Las Vegas) that is meant to ensure eligible voters held in local jails, who have not been convicted of a felony and therefore not stripped of their right to vote, are still able to participate in elections.

Two Republican lawmakers on the committee supported the bill, but reserved their right to vote no on the bill on the Senate floor, noting that there is another bill, SB162, that similarly aims to expand access to voting in jails for those awaiting trial. That bill has received an exemption, but has not been heard by the Senate Finance Committee.

Southern Nevada Water Authority omnibus bill clears Senate committee

The Senate Natural Resources Committee signed off unanimously (with a few forthcoming amendments) on a nearly 40-page bill giving the Southern Nevada Water Authority the ability to curtail excessive water use in emergencies in a Colorado River shortage. The legislation passed in the Assembly with bipartisan support. 

In addition to capping water use during shortages, AB220 lays out the counters of a voluntary, compensated program to transition residents away from septic tanks, which can contaminate the local groundwater and hold indoor water that cannot be recycled and reused. The legislation also gives state regulators greater authority to address groundwater overuse in Las Vegas. 

Lawmakers initially expressed some concerns about the measure, as the original legislation had required a transition away from septic tanks. But an amendment, offered by Sen. Rochelle Nguyen (D-Las Vegas) made the program voluntary, easing some of the initial opposition. 

“We need to be bold,” said Assemblyman Howard Watts (D-Las Vegas), who introduced AB220. “We need to be a bit aggressive in taking some of these measures in Southern Nevada.”

Lottery amendment advances

A proposed constitutional amendment that would remove a prohibition on state lotteries moved one step closer to the ballot Thursday, after members of the Senate elections committee voted 3-2 to advance AJR5.

Sens. Heidi Seevers Gansert (R-Reno) and Carrie Buck (R-Henderson) voted against the measure, highlighting concerns that a lottery could reduce business for brick-and-mortar gaming businesses, the largest industry in the state.

If the resolution is approved by a majority of senators, it would then go to the 2025 legislative session for consideration, where approval of the resolution would place the proposed amendment on the 2026 general election ballot.

Approval of the measure by a majority of Nevada voters at that election would then pave the way for the state to establish a lottery. AJR5 sponsor Assemblyman C.H. Miller (D-North Las Vegas) hopes it would help fund youth mental health services in the state.

Committee passes birth tissue donation, feminine hygiene product labeling bills

The Senate Committee on Health and Human Services unanimously passed AB169, sponsored by Assemblywoman Michelle Gorelow (D-Las Vegas). The bill requires each feminine hygiene product packaging manufactured on or after January 1, 2025 to have a label listing all product ingredients in order of weight using standardized nomenclature, with certain exceptions.

The bill would help identify ingredients on the label that have been identified as carcinogenic, linked to neurotoxicity, toxic to reproductive organs or designated as a “priority pollutant” in Nevada water.

The committee also passed AB154, a bill sponsored by Assemblywoman Sarah Peters (D-Reno) that would require the Division of Public and Behavioral Health to publish a list of entities that accept living donations of birth tissue in a hospital or birthing center on their website. These entities must show proof of accreditation by the American Association of Tissue Banks to be placed and remain on such a list.

Firing principals and open zoning pass in Assembly Education

Several Democratic lawmakers wavered on a pair of votes on two major education measures, including one that would make it easier to fire newly-hired school principals, and another that would create an open enrollment structure for K-12 students. 

AB497, sponsored by Assemblywoman Shannon Bilbray-Axelrod (D-Las Vegas), would allow students to attend any school regardless of their assigned zone, so long as that new school has available room for that student. During an initial hearing on Tuesday, Bilbray-Axelrod argued the measure would aim to reduce historic racial disparities created by racist policies such as redlining

It would also require districts to create a plan to account for such transfers (with a proposed amendment requiring those plans by 2025), and would create a lottery system for students. School districts would also not be required to provide transportation to students opting out of their assigned zone. 

The proposal also mirrors similar language included in Gov. Joe Lombardo’s education omnibus bill, AB400, which the governor’s office has framed as supporting school choice. 

But two Democrats — Assemblywomen Serena LaRue Hatch (D-Reno) and Angie Taylor (D-Reno) — raised concerns over potential equity issues, as well as as-yet unclear specifics on precisely how districts will calculate available space at schools and address transportation concerns. LaRue Hatch and Taylor were the only committee votes against the bill. 

Separately, the committee also voted to advance SB292, a bill that would make all K-12 principals at-will employees during their first three years of employment, as well as reinstate at-will status if certain performance metrics dip for two consecutive years. 

Once again, several Democrats on the committee balked at the bill. Assemblywomen Natha Anderson (D-Sparks) and La Rue Hatch challenged the use of test scores to determine principal performance, but said they could vote yes if that language was removed from the bill. However, LaRue Hatch indicated that such an amendment appeared unlikely. 

Assemblywoman Clara Thomas (D-North Las Vegas) raised additional concerns that it would limit principals’ autonomy and that she was a “hard no.” All three voted against the measure.

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

Preventing animal cruelty

Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday passed a bill aiming to up animal cruelty penalties.

The measure, AB159, is sponsored by Assemblyman P.K. O’Neill (R-Carson City) and seeks to classify animal abuse as a violent crime within state law.

Though the measure passed unanimously, Sen. James Ohrenschall (D-Las Vegas) reserved his right to vote against the bill on the floor, citing some remaining questions about the measure. Ohrenschall did not detail what those questions were.

GPS tracker ban

Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee voted unanimously on Thursday to pass AB356, a bill that in most circumstances would outlaw attaching a GPS tracking device to an individual’s vehicle without their consent. 

The measure, sponsored by Assemblywoman Jill Dickman (R-Reno), comes in response to a high-profile court case in Northern Nevada involving the legality of using non-consensual GPS trackers. Supporters say the measure, which passed out of the Assembly with a unanimous vote, could also prevent stalking, abuse and harassment.

The bill passed with an amendment granting exemptions to law enforcement agencies.

Expanding protections for sexual assault survivors

During Thursday’s Assembly Judiciary Committee meeting, lawmakers advanced several measures meant to provide greater protections for survivors of sexual assault.

  • SB321, sponsored by Sen. Lisa Krasner (R-Reno), would expand the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights by prohibiting law enforcement from using a sexual assault survivor’s forensic evidence kit to prosecute the survivor for any crime or to search for evidence of any other crime the survivor may have committed.
  • SB129, also sponsored by Krasner, would allow a sexual assault survivor to bring a civil lawsuit against an alleged perpetrator at any time after the assault occurred. The provisions would also apply retroactively to any act constituting sexual assault, regardless of any previous statute of limitations. Existing state law puts no statute of limitations on similar cases for sexual abuse or sexual exploitation of a minor.
  • Members of the committee also passed SB309, a bill sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro (D-Las Vegas) that would create the crime of fertility fraud as a category B felony punishable by two to 15 years imprisonment. Under the bill, fertility fraud refers to the crime of implanting reproductive material in a patient without their consent.

Higher penalties for catalytic converter theft

A measure that would implement higher penalties for catalytic converter theft, SB243, passed unanimously out of the Assembly Judiciary Committee on Thursday. 

As written, the bill stipulates that anyone who steals a catalytic converter, purchases a used catalytic converter from a non-licensed facility or seller or possesses two or more used converters without a license or authorization to possess multiple converters is guilty of a felony, with higher penalties depending on the number of converters involved in the crime.

Though the bill passed out of committee unanimously, Assemblywoman Lesley Cohen (D-Henderson) said the severity of criminal provisions within the bill concern her.

“There are people that just have a lot of junk and do a lot of tinkering and end up with things over the years,” Cohen said. 


Lawmakers hear Dem school safety bill, give Lombardo bill the boot

On Wednesday, the Senate Education Committee heard AB285 — a bill sponsored by Assemblywoman Angie Taylor (D-Reno) that would repeal the state’s 2019 restorative justice school discipline law, in effect making it easier both for teachers and administrators to remove disruptive or violent students and suspend or expel those students.

The bill comes after criticism of the 2019 bill from across the state’s K-12 system — but has also emerged as yet another political hot potato in the growing battle between a Legislature controlled by Democrats and the Republican governor. 

Democrats announced this week that they would kill a similar bill sponsored by Lombardo’s office, AB330, and instead offer the governor a chance to amend his proposals into Taylor’s bill. But a spokesperson for Taylor’s office told The Nevada Independent after Wednesday’s meeting that no such amendment came ahead of the hearing. 

Some version of an amendment from the governor’s office could still be attached to the bill before it heads to a full floor vote ahead of next week’s bill deadline. But the move all but assures the governor’s bill will die Friday. 

However, an extended proposed amendment presented by Taylor during the Wednesday hearing would make nearly two dozen technical adjustments to the bill. Among the biggest: a change that would prevent the expulsion of any students under 11, reversing course on previous language that allowed permanent expulsions for students as young as 6 years old. 

That provision had generated friction among several Assembly Democrats who voted against the prior version of the bill, including Assemblywoman Clara Thomas (D-North Las Vegas) who testified in her personal capacity against AB285 on Wednesday over the expulsion age limit. 

Protecting out-of-state abortion providers

Members of the Assembly Commerce and Labor Committee voted along party lines Wednesday (with all Republicans opposed) to pass SB131, a bill from Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro (D-Las Vegas) that seeks to codify former Gov. Steve Sisolak’s executive order protecting out-of-state abortion seekers.

If passed, it would prohibit health care licensing boards from disqualifying or disciplining health care professionals from providing reproductive care services, and prohibit the governor and state agencies from assisting another state in investigating or capturing someone guilty of a crime involving reproductive services in that state. 

After previously passing out of the Senate in a 15-6 vote that saw Sens. Heidi Seevers Gansert (R-Reno) and Carrie Buck (R-Henderson) cross party lines to join Democrats in support, the bill will next go before the Assembly for a vote and is then expected to go to the governor’s desk. On the campaign trail, Lombardo said on his campaign website that he would not “repeal that executive order until the Legislature can make clear that Nevada is not going to prosecute women who seek an abortion or medical providers that perform legal abortions.”

Temporary rent caps for seniors, Social Security recipients

While some efforts to rein in skyrocketing rental prices have stalled at the Legislature — including a Culinary Union-backed effort to cap all annual rent increases statewide — members of the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee voted along party lines Monday to move forward with a bill to temporarily cap rents for some older and vulnerable populations.

AB298, sponsored by Assemblywoman Sandra Jauregui (D-Las Vegas), would cap rent increases at 10 percent from July 2023 to December 2024 for those who are 62 or older or who rely on payments from Social Security. The bill passed out of the Assembly on a 36-6 vote, with all Democrats and some Republicans in support.

Sen. Jeff Stone (R-Henderson) opposed the bill over concern that the rent cap would lead to “disinvestment” in rental properties.

Minors consent to STI treatment and prevention services

A measure that would allow minors without parental permission to consent to examination, treatment and prevention services for sexually transmitted infections passed out of the Assembly Health and Human Services Committee on Wednesday.

SB172, sponsored by Sen. Dallas Harris (D-Las Vegas), passed out of the Senate on a 14-7 vote with Sen. Heidi Seevers Gansert (R-Reno) joining Democrats in support. Under the bill, minors would also be able to consent to receive contraception.

The bill passed through the Assembly committee with all Republicans in opposition.

Health care for substitute teachers, adding non-voting members to school boards

A pair of education bills cleared committee votes in the Senate on Wednesday, including AB282, a bill sponsored by Assemblywoman Shondra Summers-Armstrong (D-Las Vegas) that would give full-time, long-term substitute teachers a monthly $450 subsidy to help pay for health insurance coverage. It would also prevent school districts from limiting substitutes from working the 30 consecutive days needed in order to qualify for the subsidy. 

Separately, the Senate Education Committee OK’d AB175, the remnants of a bill that at one point would have added appointed members to local school boards. The bill has since been significantly pared back, instead adding four non-voting members to only the Clark County School District board. 

The committee also approved an additional amendment that would ensure those non-voting members cannot serve as officers on the board of trustees, as well as ensuring votes to replace vacant seats on the board come only from elected members.


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