While this session looked different from any other, the las week of session brought the same push towards sine die that we are used to. Here are some of the big bills that were passed in the final days:
AB341: Revises provisions relating to cannabis. (BDR 56-583)
AB341 authorizes marijuana consumption lounges and solves the problem that public consumption is unlawful outside a private residence. It earmarks at least 10 lounge licenses for “social equity applicants” who have been adversely affected by the War on Drugs and allows the Cannabis Compliance Board to discount fees for those applicants by up to 75%.
AB486 Establishes provisions relating to property. (BDR S-1041)
Eviction moratoriums at the state and federal level were extended to protect tenants from eviction through June, although programs to disburse rental assistance face a major backlog. To address it, lawmakers introduced and passed this bill to avoid an eviction cliff when moratoriums are gone. The bill also creates a $5 million pot of assistance for landlords with unresponsive tenants. Property owners can collect all the back rent that is in arrears in exchange for not evicting the tenant for 90 days.
AB495 Revises provisions relating to governmental financial administration. (BDR 32-1034)
Lawmakers introduced and rapidly passed a measure raising taxes on the state’s mining industry with proceeds earmarked for education. It was introduced on Saturday evening, heard Sunday, and then passed out both houses on Monday. The bill creates a new excise tax on annual gold and silver mine gross revenue, set at a rate of 0.75 percent on revenue above $20 million and a rate of 1.1 percent for any revenue above $150 million. It’s expected to raise between $150 and $170 million over the two years of the budget cycle.
SB386: Revises provisions relating to certain businesses. (BDR 53-1010)
This is a measure that would guarantee laid-off hospitality employees the opportunity to return to their old jobs, despite initial resistance from the casino industry. The Nevada Resort Association later took a neutral position on the bill following the addition of amendments aimed at staving off litigation. As amended, the bill also excludes smaller businesses that had 30 or fewer employees prior to the pandemic.
SB420: Revises provisions relating to health insurance. (BDR 57-251)
This bill requires director of DHHS in collaboration with Silver State and Director of Business and Industry to design and implement a public health insurance plan. Public option must be made available to all Nevadans through employers, health exchange, or direct purchase. Premiums must be at least 5% lower than second cheapest plan option available in Silver Health Exchange in a given ZIP code during given year. The second piece of this bill is Medicaid expansion, including expanded coverage for pregnant women for prenatal and post-partum care. It will prohibit Medicaid from requiring a pregnant woman to live in state for a certain amount of time for coverage and requires fee for service at same amounts as provided by a physician. Requires DHHS to establish office for providing Medicaid in all geographic areas of state rather than just urban. The first plan will be available in 2026.
SB448: Revises provisions governing public utilities. (BDR 58-46)
This bill’s goal is to increase electric transmission capacity and electric vehicle charging infrastructure as part of the effort to move Nevada to near-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The legislation requires NV Energy to invest $100 million over the next two years on targeted electric vehicle charging infrastructure, expanding existing tax credit programs to cover energy storage facilities, allowing multi-family or commercial buildings to tap into the rooftop solar net metering program, and reopening a 2013 economic development rate rider program aimed at giving new large businesses a discount on energy costs.
SB458: Ensures sufficient funding for K-12 public education for the 2021-2023 biennium. (BDR 34-1169)
This bill funds the pupil-centered funding model that was passed in the 2019 session. It gives total public support at an average of $10,204 per pupil in the upcoming fiscal year and $10,290 in the following fiscal year. That amounts to a $115 per-pupil reduction from the levels the 2019 Legislature approved for the current fiscal year to the upcoming one. In total, the bill allocates more than $2.6 billion from the general fund to the Pupil-Centered Funding Plan: $1,396,939,483 in the first fiscal year and $1,223,780,931.