Bill Highlight: AB110
This week, Governor Sisolak signed into law AB110, The Lobbying Disclosure and Regulation Act. Due to the uniqueness and virtual nature of this legislative session, this bill outlines the registration process for lobbyists as well as defines who qualifies as a lobbyist.
Under the Act, a person is a “lobbyist” and subject to the provisions of the Act if the person: (1) appears in person in the Legislative Building or any other building in which the Legislature or any of its standing committees holds meetings; and (2) communicates directly with a member of the Legislative Branch on behalf of someone other than himself or herself to influence legislative action, whether or not any compensation is received for the communication. Section 2 of this bill removes the criteria that the person appears in person in the Legislative Building or other building where the Legislature or its committees hold meetings.
Previously, only lobbyists who actually were in the legislative building were required to register. AB110excludes people who “confine their lobbying activities to communicating directly with one or more members of the Legislative Branch only on an infrequent or irregular basis,” according to the bill’s text.
Bills Hearings of Note
AB9 allows the department of taxation to provide information to the Governor’s office of Finance for revenue projections. Currently, if tax information seems to be confidential the governor’s office needs to appoint a special person to get that information temporarily. the LCB fiscal staff that also makes these provisions was given permission in another area of law, but the governor’s office was left out. This puts a permanent fix in palace so that when created revenue projections those two offices can work off similar datasets.
AB47, a bill that would adjust current unfair trade practices regarding the health care industry, was heard by the Assembly Committee on Commerce and Labor. Committee members were interested in how this would benefit health care providers and whether there were examples of other states that had done something similar. Those in support believe that this bill will maintain an open market in the health care industry and will continue to make it more accessible. Those in opposition believe that this bill will place an unnecessary burden on providers with more lengthy investigations.
AB124, a bill that will prohibit employers from asking about previous salaries of their employees/prospective employees in an effort to close the wage gap, was heard by the Assembly Committee on Commerce and Labor. Committee members asked clarifying questions about the changes made in the amendment and voiced that this bill will need to have some changes during a work session to conform with existing law. Those in support believe that this law will help end discrimination against women in the future and lead to a more equitable working environment. Those in opposition believe that this legislation would be an overcompensation for an issue that is being covered in a variety of other legislation.
AB217 requires the state board of health to adopt regulations for training unlicensed caregivers in the state. Initially the goal of this training is to focus on infectious disease control and prevention of spread. In a study by DHHS, the top 3 reasons for COVID outbreaks in care facilities were improper use of PPE, breaches in isolation and improper handwashing. This training would not cost anything to the caregivers, but would be required to be completed by all unlicensed caregivers including ancillary staff like kitchen and cleaning crews.
AB243 aims to make the criminal justice system more equitable to those at a disadvantage. The bill increases the youthful offender age to 21 instead of 18. It also removes race, and other identifying factors from documents when initially charging someone with a crime. Finally it creates an advisory task force on police reform to guide the legislature in the future. Opponents of the bill state that redaction measures would add unnecessary time and labor to law enforcement offices, and that the task force was not representative of all who should be included. Proponents said that the task force is meant to be made up of academic policy experts that can offer recommendations to the legislature when making policy regarding police reform.
AB286, a bill that would allow private business owners to opt-into policy that would prohibit weapons on their property, was heard by the Assembly Committee on Judiciary. Committee members asked questions about regulations in other states, the statistics in other states, and also provided personal opinion on their stance on the bill. Those in support believe that this bill will create stronger regulations that will help keep Nevada’s families safe from ghost guns throughout the state. Those in opposition believe that this bill is an infringement on their Constitutional rights to carry weapons.
ACR3, a resolution that would require the Legislative Commission to appoint an interim committee to complete a study on environmental justice, was heard by the Assembly Committee on Legislative Operations and Elections. Committee members only expressed their favor for the proposed amendment on the addition of finance equality. Those in support believe that this resolution will support minority communities by uncovering potential problems that have gone unresolved. Those in opposition believe that this will potentially cause damage to individual property rights.
ACR5, a resolution that will create an interim committee that would focusing on studying challenges faced by behavioral health professionals to receive licensure, was heard by the Assembly Committee on Legislative Operations and Elections. Committee members were enthusiastic about this bill and asked if they could cosponsor. Those in support spoke about their personal experiences in this field and asked that this be made a top priority of the state.
SB47, a bill that would make provisions from the Special Session regarding emergency funding during economic crises permanent in statute, was heard by the Senate Committee on Finance. Committee members were interested in the necessity of these tools, and Treasurer Conine stated that he believes its best to be prepared with these tools in the event of needing them in the future. There were no callers for support, opposition or neutral.
SB102 changes the age cutoff date for Kindergarten enrollment from September 30th to August 1st. The change hopefully makes sure kindergarteners are admitted closer to 5 years old and have better social and behavioral developments for learning in a classroom. Current law does not require a child to be enrolled in school until 7, but if a child is 5 on or before September 30th they can enroll in Kindergarten. A majority of other states have dates that fall earlier than Nevada’s, by changing this date there can be a better comparison
SB155 Replaced the title of state engineer in the Division of Water Resources with the administrator to more accurately reflect their position’s duties. As time has gone on, water resource management in the state is less of an engineering issue and more managerial. The intent is to open this position up to more technical people like hydrologists or geologists who don’t hold a professional engineering license. If someone is hired for that position and does not hold a PE license, the deputy administrator must hold one.
SB173 known as the “Back on Track Act” requires school boards to submit plans addressing learning loss during the pandemic to the Nevada Superintendent by October 31, 2021. Schools need to provide summer school and related support to pupils either through in person or online instruction. By November 30th the school board will submit a compiled report to the governor. The bill hopes to get students caught up on missed instruction from last year by the time schools return to in person learning in the fall.
Department of Business and Industry
On March 16, the joint session of the Senate Committee on Finance and Assembly Committee on Ways and Means heard a budget presentation from the Department of Business and Industry. The Divisions addressed in this General Government hearing were specifically the Nevada Housing Association, the Taxicab Authority, the Office of the Labor Commissioner, the Financial Institutions Division, and the Mortgage Lending Division. Committee members noticed a reduction in staff across all Divisions and primarily asked questions on how the reductions in budget would impact the efficiency in each division.
Silver State Health Insurance Exchange
On March 18, the Joint Session of the Assembly Committee on Ways and Means and the Senate Committee on Finance heard a budget presentation from the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange. Committee members asked questions about trends that have been seen throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and how this will impact those below the poverty line.