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June 17, 2019

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Lawmakers wrapping session after tackling abortion, guns

Updated Monday, June 3, 2019 | 10:57 a.m.

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Nevada lawmakers are wrapping up their biennial legislative session by midnight Monday. The country's first female-majority Democratic Legislature repealed abortion restrictions, expanded gun background checks and made it easier to prosecute some sexual assault cases.

Lawmakers have passed more than 400 bills and will whip through dozens more before they adjourn.

Here's a look at where some key bills lawmakers took on this year:

ABORTION

While conservative states this year have been passing more restrictive abortion laws, Nevada moved in the opposite direction. Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak signed into law a measure that repeals a requirement that a woman be asked about her marital status before an abortion and a requirement that physicians tell a woman about the "emotional implications" of the procedure.

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COLLECTIVE BARGAINING

A bill to allow state workers to collectively bargain for better wages and working conditions is headed to Sisolak's desk. The bill, which Sisolak called for in his State of the State address, would cover workers like prison guards, janitors and secretaries. It would not cover teachers and workers would not be permitted to strike.

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TOBACCO AGE

A bill to raise the age from 18 to 21 to buy tobacco products and e-cigarettes was introduced the day before lawmakers were set to adjourn. The bill, from Republican Assemblyman Jim Wheeler, creates an exception for members of the military. The bill, which would not take effect until 2021, was approved by the Assembly on Sunday.

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SAME-DAY VOTER REGISTRATION

Nevadans may be able to register to vote on Election Day under a bill headed to Sisolak. The measure, from Democratic Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson, would also permit 17-year-olds to vote in a primary election if they would be 18 by a general election. About a dozen states have similar laws.

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NATIONAL POPULAR VOTE

Sisolak vetoed a measure to change the way the state's Electoral College votes are cast. The bill would have added Nevada to the National Popular Vote compact, meaning the state would pledge to give its Electoral College votes to whichever presidential candidate wins the national popular vote — even if another candidate got more votes in Nevada.

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GUNS

In their first session since the 2017 mass shooting on the Las Vegas Strip, lawmakers passed stricter gun control measures. One bill bans bump stock devices, which mimic the firing of a fully automatic weapon. A so-called "red flag" law allows guns to be removed from people seen as a threat to themselves or others. In February, Sisolak signed a bill expanding background checks to private gun sales and transfers.

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BANNING BROTHELS

A proposal by Republican Sen. Joe Hardy to ban legal brothels never received a hearing and failed to clear a key deadline to advance. Hardy argued that brothels, which are only allowed in some counties and mostly operate in rural areas, trap women in an abusive industry. Brothel supporters argued the ban would harm the economies of rural communities and force sex workers into more dangerous, illegal prostitution.

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DEATH PENALTY

Lawmakers introduced two bills that would have banned the death penalty, but they failed to pass legislative deadlines. The bills came after a death-row inmate killed himself in January amid a legal battle with drug makers who objected to their products being used in a lethal injection.