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Vehicles travel on U.S. Route 95 south of Tonopah on Friday, Aug 11, 2017. (Jeff Scheid/The Nevada Independent)

With a new year comes a new set of laws.

Several dozen bills enacted by the Legislature last year didn’t officially take effect in whole or in part until today. They include everything from changes to hunting permits to regulating how mopeds can drive on the road to protections for domestic workers.

State agencies have been hard at work over the last six months developing the regulations needed to put these laws into effect and will continue to do so for the laws yet to officially kick in.

Here’s a rundown of some of the laws that take effect today.


AB261: Motorcycle learner’s permits

Anyone who is at least 15 ½ but younger than 18 can now apply to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for a learner’s permit to ride a motorcycle akin to the learner’s permit to drive cars. Eligible teenagers must pass a vision test and a written examination to obtain the 1-year permit. The permit can be renewed but expires when the individual turns 18.

The new law also allows anyone who is 18 or older to apply for a motorcycle learner’s permit after completing a vision test and written examination, though the permit expires after six months and cannot be renewed more than once. After one renewal, an adult cannot apply for another motorcycle learner’s permit for five years.

Holders of either the teenage or adult permit aren't allowed to operate a motorcycle between sunset and sunrise, carry passengers or operate the motorcycle on a controlled-access highway. Permits also cannot be issued to anyone who has failed the driving test given by the DMV two or more times.

Teenagers with motorcycle permits are required to complete some of the same requirements as those with permits to drive cars, including completing a driver’s education course and having held a permit for no less than six months before applying for a license. However, their 50 hours of driving experience is not required to be supervised.

AB335: Moped drivers must drive in the right-hand lane on highways

Moped drivers, beware.

This new law requires mopeds to drive in the extreme right-hand land of a highway if there are at least two lanes. The only exceptions are when the driver is preparing to turn left, when driving to the right side of a highway wouldn’t be safe and when complying with the directions of a police officer. Failing to do so is a misdemeanor.

SB339: More cars eligible for vintage plates

Have a 1957 Ford Thunderbird stashed in the garage? You’re in luck.

Starting today, the DMV is allowed to issue vintage license plates for residents of Nevada for any motor vehicle manufactured no later than 1961. Previously, the cut off was 1942.

The fee for vintage license plates is $35, in addition to other registration fees and applicable taxes. The license plates are renewable with a $10 fee.


AB474: Opioid omnibus bill

Gov. Brian Sandoval’s office has been leading the charge to curb prescription drug abuse, including through this bill meant to prevent over-prescribing of opioids.

The measure sets benchmarks on prescribers: Painkillers can’t be prescribed for more than 14 days for acute pain. After 30 days of consecutive prescriptions, the doctor and patient must enter into a narcotic contract that lays out goals for treatment and gives consent to drug testing if necessary.

At 90 days, a doctor must offer up an “evidence-based diagnosis” — not something generic like a diagnosis of “lower back pain” — and must check the state’s Prescription Monitoring Program database to review whether a patient is “doctor shopping” and getting additional prescriptions elsewhere.

For any prescription exceeding 365 days, doctors must document their rationale for prescribing opioids for so long.

Bill proponents said they’ve fielded concerns at town hall meetings from patients and doctors who think the bill’s provisions will make it impractical for them to get opioids when they need them. But Las Vegas pain doctor and bill supporter Daniel Burkhead told reporters earlier this month that he thinks the measure will strengthen communication between doctors and patients, pushing practitioners to find a diagnosis and develop a plan for addressing the root causes of the pain.

AB249 + SB233: Contraceptive benefits from Affordable Care Act codified in state law

These two new laws, which take effect today, codify certain aspects of the Affordable Care Act into state law.

The first, AB249, requires all public and private health insurance plans to provide contraceptive coverage without any copay, coinsurance or higher deductible. It also requires insurance companies to cover up to a 12-month supply of a drug dispensed at once, something not required by the Affordable Care Act.

The second, SB233, includes some of the same language as the first bill, while also requiring private insurance plans and certain public health insurance plans to cover without copay, coinsurance or higher deductible certain vaccinations, mammograms, counseling concerning interpersonal and domestic violence, screenings for certain diseases and well-woman preventative visits. It also includes the requirement that insurers cover and pharmacies distribute a 12-month supply of contraception.

SB482: Ratings for hospitals and other medical facilities

Hospitals and other medical facilities that receive star ratings from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) are now required to post their most recent rating in a conspicuous place near the entrance to the facility and on their websites. Surgical centers are also required to similarly post the address for the website for the Ambulatory Surgical Center Quality Reporting Program maintained by CMS.

The state Division of Public and Behavioral Health is also required to post on its website links to the CMS star ratings and the Ambulatory Surgical Center Quality Reporting Program.

Also, the State Board of Health is now required to itself rate health-care facilities based on certain requirements. Those ratings are also required to be posted online and near the entrance of each facility.


AB384: ‘Banning the box’ for state, county and city employees

A new law that takes effect today bars the state, counties, cities and unincorporated towns from considering a job applicant’s criminal history until the final in-person interview or any appointing or hiring authority has made a conditional offer of employment.

The law spells out a number of specific factors that must be considered before the criminal history of an applicant can be used to rescind a conditional offer of employment or to reject the applicant, including whether the criminal offense relates to the person’s prospective job responsibilities, the nature and severity of the offenses, the age of the person at the time of the offense, how long it’s been since the offense was committed and any documentation relating to the person’s rehabilitation.

If someone's criminal history is used to reject an applicant or rescind a conditional offer, a county, city or town must provide to the applicant a written statement that states the evidence presented and the reason why the person was ultimately not hired.

SB232: Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights

The so-called Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights takes effect today, which requires employers of domestic workers, those who work within an employer’s household, to provide the worker with certain written documentation of the conditions of his or her employment and right to work under the law. Domestic workers must be compensated for all the hours they are required to be on duty, under most circumstances, and that workers who are paid less than 1.5 times the minimum hourly wage must be paid overtime under certain circumstances.

The law also requires that domestic workers be allowed at least one day off per week and two consecutive days off at least once a month. Employers are not allowed to limit or monitor a domestic worker’s private communications or take or hold their personal documents.

Children under the age of 16 employed in domestic service are also no longer exempt from the limitations on working hours, as children employed in farm labor or motion picture performances are.


SB19: Dual credit courses for high schoolers

A new law that goes into effect today requires school districts and charter schools to enter into cooperative agreements with one or more community colleges, state colleges and universities to offer dual credit courses to high school students. Credits received must be allowed to apply toward the number of credits required for a related credential, certificate or degree.

The State Board of Education is not allowed to “unreasonably” limit the number of dual credit courses in which a high schooler can enroll.

SB189: Training for child care facility employees

Employees of licensed child care facilities are now required to complete 24 hours of training annually, with at least 12 of those training hours devoted to the care, education and safety of children that is specific to the age group the employee is working with and approved by the State Board of Health. It also requires that any independent contractor retained by the child care facility is in the presence of one of the facility’s employees when children are present.

Employees of child care facilities are also required to notify the facility no later than 24 hours after being charged with or convicted of certain crimes, being investigated for child abuse or neglect or after a report of abuse or neglect against him or her has been substantiated. The facility, in turn, is required to notify the Division of Public and Behavioral Health within 24 hours. (The division is responsible for carrying out civil penalties for violations of those requirements.)

Child care facilities will now also be rated with a letter grade by the division, with the letter grade to be posted near the entrance to each facility.


AB420: Telecommunications device access for prisoners

Prisoners will now be allowed to use approved telecommunications devices for conducting certain visits and correspondence, as well as use the devices for purposes related to correctional activities and educational, vocational and legal research.

The director of the Department of Corrections is also now allowed (with the approval of the Board of State Prison Commissioners) to establish a charge on the use of videoconferencing equipment by offenders for conducting visits to help offset the costs of the equipment.

SB194: Ban on purchasing and selling items made from certain animals

It is now illegal to purchase, sell or possess with intent to sell any item that is made in whole or in part from shark fin, lions, elephant, rhinoceros, tiger, leopard, cheetah, jaguar, pangolin, sea turtle, ray, mammoth, narwhal, walrus or hippopotamus.

The first violation is a gross misdemeanor, the second is a category E felony and the third and subsequent offenses are a category D felony. Additionally, those who violate the law must pay a $6,500 penalty or the amount equal to four times the fair market value of the item, whichever is greater.

The new law doesn’t apply to antiques, musical instruments, knives or other items with a small quantity of one of the restricted animal parts or byproducts if certain criteria are met (such as the objects being obtained legally). It also doesn’t apply to sales to a scientific or educational institution or sport-hunted items obtained legally with a small quantity of the animal part or byproduct.

AB204: Name changes on marriage licenses

Marriage licenses in Nevada now can include the name to be used by each spouse after marriage.

The applicants, at the time the license issued, can choose to change their middle name or last name for use after they are married. They can choose to change their middle name to either the current last name of the other applicant, the last name of either applicant given at birth, a hyphenated combination of the current middle name and either current last name of either applicant or the last name of either applicant given at birth.

A last name can be changed to the current last name of the other applicant, the last name of either applicant given at birth or a hyphenated combination of the last names allowed for use as middle names.

SB511: Changes to hunting, fishing and trapping licenses

A host of changes to hunting, fishing and trapping licenses take effect today including:

  • Parents no longer have to sign a separate statement acknowledging they’ve been advised of their responsibility for their child’s negligent or willful misconduct relating to the use of a firearm, they just have to acknowledge their responsibility at the time of the application.
  • Apprentice hunting licenses, for those 12 or older, now cost $15.
  • Licenses to hunt, fish or trap during open seasons are valid for one year beginning on the date of purchase of the license.
  • Additional licenses, known as tags, are now required to hunt any bighorn sheep, moose, mountain lions or mountain goats. (Tags were previously required to hunt deer, elk, antelope, mountain sheep or bear.)
  • Fees for various licenses have changed. (See the new fees on page 10 here.)
  • A certain percentage of general licensing and permitting fees collected by the Department of Wildlife will now be required to be used for certain purposes relating to wildlife.
  • The Department of Wildlife must consult with Native American residents or tribes when considering making any recommendations relating to their hunting or fishing rights.
  • No more than two combinations of hook, line and rod can be used by someone while fishing.
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