Las Vegas Sun

October 23, 2019

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Bill to repeal motorcycle helmet law sidetracked in Senate

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Sen. Don Gustavson

CARSON CITY — A bill to repeal the law requiring motorcyclists to wear helmets has been sidetracked in the Senate.

Instead of being up for final passage Tuesday, the bill, SB 177, was sent to the Senate Finance Committee on a 10-9 vote.

Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, said the bill impacts the state budget and must be weighed in the finance committee.

Sen. Don Gustavson, the sponsor the bill, cried foul. He said there were two unsolicited fiscal notes put on the bill and noted a “lot of bills go there (to the Finance Committee) to die.”

The helmet law has been on the books since the early 1970s. Gustafson, R-Sparks, has been trying for three sessions to get it repealed. He said Clark County officials were responsible for adding the fiscal note to the bill. The budget questions were not raised by the supporters.

Gustavson said the referral of the bill to the Finance Committee keeps it alive, because it will now be exempt from the requirement it must be passed by Tuesday’s Senate deadline. But, he said, he doesn’t know if Horsford, the committee chairman, will bring it up for discussion. And he doesn’t know if he has the votes to get the bill out of committee.

Before dispatching the bill to the Finance Committee, the Senate approved an amendment that individuals seeking a motorcycle license complete a rider safety course.

As the bill reads now, motorcyclists who are at least 21 years old and have held their license for one year could shed their helmets. The helmet requirement would also be removed for three-wheeled vehicles and mopeds.

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