Las Vegas Sun

July 20, 2017

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Despite costs, Senate advances bill for abused children

CARSON CITY – The Senate on Tuesday narrowly passed a bill to provide neglected or abused children with lawyers during court proceedings despite complaints it would cost Clark County $10 million a year.

By a 12-9 vote, the Senate approved the Uniform Representation of Children in Abuse, Neglect and Custody Proceedings, including court hearings involving the termination of the rights of parents.

Sen. Maurice Washington, R-Sparks, said Senate Bill 292 is an unfunded mandate to the counties and state. It would cost Clark County $10 million; Washoe County $2 million and the state, in handling the cases in rural Nevada, $940,000.

The money would pay lawyers who represent the best interests of the child in the court proceeding.

Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, said there was no substantiation for the figures quoted.

Sen. Barbara Cegavske, R-Las Vegas, said there were many “wonderful things” in the bill but the financial problems should be solved in the Senate and not rely on the Assembly. “Our job is to send out a good bill. This is an issue that is huge.”

The bill passed on a party line vote with Democrats supporting the measure and Republicans opposed.

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