Las Vegas Sun

June 18, 2019

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Nevada bills face deadline as Legislature enters final days

CARSON CITY — Nevada lawmakers face a Friday deadline for deciding whether an array of bills will die or continue in the legislative process.

Some bills have cleared the legislative deadline as lawmakers push on in the home stretch of this year's session. Those measures include a ban on private prisons and the outlawing of child marriages.

Several criminal justice reform bills cleared the deadline by receiving passing votes Friday morning from the Senate Judiciary committee.

The legislative panel is headed by Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro, a Democrat Clark County prosecutor with a reputation for being tough on crime.

Other criminal justice reform bills were not brought up for a vote in the morning committee, including a bill that would give time credit for a defendant on house arrest. It's not immediately clear whether it will receive a vote from the legislative panel by the end of the day.

Here are status updates on some of the bills facing the Friday deadline:

OMNIBUS GUN BILL

A spokesman for Senate Democrats says an omnibus gun bill will be given a waiver and will not be subject to the Friday bill deadline.

Jack Giesea, deputy director of the Nevada Senate Democrats, said the bill will not move out of a committee Friday, but will be given a waiver.

The measure seeks to ban bump stocks and allow counties to pass stricter firearm laws than those imposed by the state. Democratic Assemblywoman Sandra Jauregui, who is sponsoring the bill, escaped a 2017 Las Vegas music festival in which a gunman used bump stocks to carry out the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

The Democrat has recalled her experience at the shooting to urge fellow legislators to support the measure.

MINOR TRAFFIC INFRACTIONS

A Nevada bill that would dramatically change how Nevada handles minor traffic infractions is dead and will not clear a Friday legislative deadline. That prediction is according to Democratic Assemblyman Steve Yeager, a key supporter

The bill would have classified certain minor traffic offenses as civil infractions instead of criminal offenses.

Yeager earlier this year said the bill aimed to ensure the state would not jail motorists for minor traffic infractions, particularly in cases when people cannot afford to pay tickets.

Public defenders expressed disappointment that the measure was not expected to advance in the legislative process.

REPORTING TRANSFERS

Among bills that cleared the Friday deadline is one requiring police departments to inform lawmakers of how many people they transfer to the custody of federal immigration authorities.

The legislation sponsored by Democratic Assemblywoman Selena Torres mandates that local law enforcement agencies provide yearly reports on the number of people they transfer to federal custody for immigration enforcement.

The reports would not identify the people who are transferred.

SEALING PAST CRIMINAL RECORDS

A bill that seeks to streamline the removal from public access of low-level marijuana convictions has passed state Senate panel on Friday.

The measure brought by Democratic Assemblyman William McCurdy II would permit people to request courts to seal criminal records tied to any offenses that have been decriminalized.

McCurdy has argued the bill would help people with those convictions get jobs and remove the stigma of a criminal past.

PRIVATE PRISON BAN

Lawmakers on a Senate committee panel have approved a bill that would ban private prisons in Nevada.

Democrats on the committee supported the bill that requires the "core correctional services" at each prison to be performed by local or state employees.

Democratic Sen. James Ohrenschall said there are numerous examples of problems with privately run prisons.

Three Republicans on the panel voted against moving the measure forward.