MAJOR LEGISLATION PASSED IN 2017 SESSION
The following is a sampling of the 608 bills approved by the 2017 Nevada Legislature and signed by Gov. Brian Sandoval.
New rules for testing whether some one is illegally driving under the influence of marijuana took effect on July 1.
Assembly Bill 135 was passed after two southern Nevada medical students testified the old law didn’t actually test for impairment or intoxication. Graham Lambnert and Charles Collison of Tuoro University told lawmakers marijuana metabolytes in the blood or urine don’t indicate intoxication, just that the person is a regular marijuana user. They said drivers should instead be tested for Delta-9-THC or 11-OH-THC, the two psychoactive compounds in marijuana.
Dan McDonald of the Washoe Crime Lab and Eric Bauman of Metro in Las Vegas backed their testimony up. McDonald said he has argued for years the presence of metabolytes doesn’t indicate impairment.
The bill also eliminates the urine test which testimony indicated is wildly inaccurate. From now on, only blood tests can be accepted as evidence.
AB135 is just one of several bills dealing with marijuana that took effect.
SB396 opens the door to farming one of pot’s genetic relatives — hemp. Unlike marijuana, hemp has almost no THC. But its fibers can be used for a long list of products including the traditional rope, fabrics and making paper among other things.
SB344 prohibits makers of pot edibles or retailers from producing marijuana products that are packaged to look like cookies, candy or other food items attractive to children. It bars advertising that might appeal to children and puts limits on the amount of THC those edibles can contain per package. Finally, it prohibits local governments from enacting regulations that are more stringent or restrictive or conflicts with state law and regulation.
AB24: allows veterans in active service in Nevada and their children an exemption from out of state tuition to attend Nevada System of Higher Education.
SB33 prohibits foreclosure of property owned by military members or their dependents, including liens against units in common-interest properties while the owner is on active duty and for a full year following active duty service without a court order.
AB337 expands employment protections of the Nevada National Guard to guard members who are from another state but employed in Nevada, protecting those members from termination when called to active duty or for a state of emergency.
AB52 creates a permitting process designed to expand lithium exploration and mining in Nevada. Nevada has one of the nation’s largest lithium deposits in the U.S.
AB486 changes distribution of the government services tax to add $20 million a year to build and improve Nevada roads and highways and create construction jobs.
SB69 is designed to ensure Nevada’s occupational licensing boards aren’t acting as a barrier to professionals seeking to move into the state.
SB398 recognizes block chain technology to electronically record transactions,
SB53 is a GOED bill that will help increase the number of cities, libraries and schools connected to broadband service. It will help ensure broadband connections for rural hospitals, clinics and correctional institutions by 2025.
SB529 appropriates $2.4 million to help cover costs from major flooding events in Washoe, Elko and Douglas counties and Carson City.
SB524 authorizes $6 million to cover the shortfall associated with fire suppression, flood responses and other costs associated with emergency events in recent months in Lemmon Valley, Carson City, Elko, Churchill, Douglas, Washoe and Lyon counties.
AB498 appropriates $350,000 to pay the state share of a joint field office to work with federal emergency management during 2017 flood events.
SB65 requires the Public Utilities Commission to give preference to resources that have the greatest economic benefit and potential for job creation and allows the public to attend the Integrated Resource Plan meeting with PUCN members and utilities.
SB145 establishes an incentive program to encourage installation of energy storage systems.
SB204 requires the PUCN to determine by October 1, 2018 whether it’s in the public interest for utilities to purchase energy storage.
SB451 creates the Nevada Sentencing Commission to develop policies and best practices for criminal sentencing.
SB541 enhances penalties for violent crimes against first responders and law enforcement by up to 20 years for targeting emergency personnel in the course of their duties.
AB97 requires law enforcement to turn over sexual assault kits for testing within 30 days and requires laboratories to test the kits within 120 days.
AB327 allows a person dishonorably discharged from probation to apply to the court to seal his or her records.
AB260 authorizes judges to suspend the sentence of young persons convicted of misdemeanor solicitation of prostitution if they participate in a treatment program. For customers of those prostitutes, courts are required to impose a civil penalty with the funds going to enforcement of solicitation and treatment programs.
AB145 extends the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse victims from 10 to 20 years after the victim reaches age 18. It also extends the time in which a civil action for damages suffered by a minor appearing in a pornographic video can be filed.
AB163 requires payday loan and title loan businesses to make an affirmative determination the borrower has the ability to repay the loan before approving the loan.
SB46 expands the list of offenses the state must consider when doing a background check of childcare facilities, their owners and employees
AB26 is intended to reduce wait times for criminal background checks for local employers in industries that require background checks.
SB176 requires law enforcement officers to wear body-cameras while on duty.
AB247 allows a tenant who’s a victim of harassment, stalking or sexual assault to terminate a lease agreement early.
AB17 requires motorists to slow down and move over a lane if possible to give room to NDOT vehicles that are dealing with a traffic situation, maintenance or repairs on a highway. Until now, that requirement only applied to law enforcement and fire vehicles stopped along a highway.
In addition, AB334 requires drivers in the left hand lane going slower than the speed limit to move over for faster vehicles approaching from behind.
AB519 appropriates a total of $8 million to purchase new voting machines for Nevada to replace the aging and increasingly malfunctioning Sequoia system machines. Clark County gets $4.5 million, Washoe $1.7 million and the rural counties $1.8 million to buy the new machines.
SB117 requires polling locations to offer a separate line for voters with disabilities and let those voters cast ballots before those who aren’t physically disabled.
AB45 makes a variety of changes to election law including requiring candidates to report how much cash they have on hand at the end of each reporting period and to itemize transaction on those reports. It also requires people circulating petitions to list their names and the names of any political action committees advocating for passage of an initiative or referendum.
AB21 prohibits candidates who don’t have the qualifications — including proof of residency in the district — from actually taking office.
AB418 prohibits compelling voters to reveal who they voted for.
Health and Human Services
SB253 is the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act providing protection to female employees, requiring employers to provide reasonable accommodations to female employees for conditions related to pregnancy and childbirth.
AB113 requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for nursing mothers including a reasonable break time and a private place for the nursing mother.
SB121 creates an interim study of services for the elderly focused on behavioral and cognitive care issues.
AB141 expands the functions of the Office of Minority Health to include more communities in the definition of “minority group.”
SB360 establishes a “Wards Bill of Rights” and increases penalties for crimes against the elderly and vulnerable.
SB415 asks Nevada voters to exempt feminine hygiene products from the sales and use tax.
SB274 increases the ability of youths in foster care to connect with their siblings.
SB171 requires pharmacies to provide information on how to safely dispose of controlled substances to patients.
AB229 officially makes same sex marriages legal in Nevada, backing up the U.S. Supreme Court decision that threw out Nevada’s constitutional mandate that only a man and a woman can marry.
In addition, AB2 state Nevadans no longer have to re-register a domestic partnership created in another state.
AB304 sets out a standard definition of autism spectrum to reduce the delays in accessing Medicaid.
SB305 requires court-appointed attorneys to represent children alleged to have been abused or neglected.
AB511 appropriates $20 million to support the Millennium Scholarship program.
SB391 establishes the Nevada Promise Scholarships program.
SB19 expands dual enrollment programs allowing Nevada high school students to simultaneously take college or community college classes.
SB287 expands mandatory reporting of suspected child abuse to all school personnel and volunteers.
AB1 requires the Board of Regents to pay the tuition and fees for a child of a public employee killed while on duty. It expands the current law covering those costs for public safety employees to all public workers.
SB37 directs renewal fees on the Sesquicentennial license plates to be used by Tourism and Cultural Affairs and by Museums and History. The first use of that bill was to accept a $700,000 check from the NV150 Commission to do some remodeling work at the state museum in the Capitol.