Las Vegas Sun

December 5, 2021

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Nevada legislators pass bills on ghost guns, doxxing, marijuana as session wanes

CARSON CITY — Untraceable firearms that are often built at home using kits or 3D printers are one step closer to being illegal in Nevada.

A bill banning these so-called “ghost guns” passed through the Nevada Senate on a 12-9 party-line vote Friday on a deadline day that saw action on some of the session’s biggest legislative efforts.

Lawmakers had until the end of the day to pass bills through the second chamber — Assembly bills through the Senate and vice versa.

However, some of the most consequential bills of the session — an omnibus measure dealing with election reform, changing Nevada to a first-in-the-nation primary, the “right to return” for hospitality workers — are exempt from deadline and still in committee with 10 days remaining in the session.

Lawmakers sent hundreds of bills out of the Statehouse to the desk of Gov. Steve Sisolak for signature to become law.

Here’s a look at some of the bills:

Curbside cannabis

Senate Bill 168, which would allow cannabis dispensaries to continue to offer curbside pickup, passed through the Assembly 35-6 — with only a handful Republicans in opposition.

The bill requires the state Cannabis Compliance Board to adopt regulations allowing for curbside pickup, which started during the pandemic via emergency order.

The temporary allowance worked so well that dispensary owners urged lawmakers to allow curbside pickup of marijuana to become permanent. Without a legislative fix, the curbside option would expire when the emergency declaration does.

Guidelines for dispensaries to offer curbside include: Orders must be placed in advanced and customers can’t leave the vehicle for a transaction; minors can’t be in the customer’s vehicle; business must have designated parking spots for curbside customers; and each dispensary needs an individual blessing from the state to offer the service.

David Goldwater, the co-owner of Inyo Fine Cannabis Dispensary, said the convenience of curbside pickup was a boon for both customers and businesses.

“If they can get our products and get them safely, I think we’ve proven that it can be a good thing,” Goldwater said in February.

Federal funding toward summer school

Senate Bill 173, the so-called Back on Track Act, would allocate funds from the congressional American Rescue Plan to school districts to provide free summer school for underperforming K-12 students. It passed the Assembly on a 33-8 vote.

“We know that learning loss because of the pandemic is a crisis that threatens to set many of our kids back, leaving a widened achievement gap in children behind," said Sen. Marilyn Dondero Loop, D-Las Vegas.

The plan would make use of the $1.1 billion sent to Nevada schools by the American Rescue Plan. The legislation requires 20% of education funding to be reserved for learning loss programs.

School districts and the State Public Charter School Authority would be tasked with submitting catchup plans to Superintendent of Public Instruction Jhone Ebert for approval.

Regardless, the Clark County School District was already exploring expanded summer school options on its own, including free, five-days-a-week summer school, officials said in April.

CCSD charges $70 per one-half credit for Secondary Summer School for high school students. Eligible students with disabilities in the district’s Extended School Year attend summer school at no extra cost. But this bill would cover all costs — including transportation — for students in all grades. It would also expand the courses available in an attempt to help children overcome their learning loss.

Anti-Doxxing regulations

Assembly Bill 296, led by Assemblywoman Rochelle Nguyen, D-Las Vegas, would ban doxing and allow victims to pursue civil penalties against a perpetrator.

Doxxing is a term for a coordinated effort of online harassment and intimidation, involving the circulation of personal information online without the victim’s permission.

The bill passed unanimously through the Assembly earlier in the session and on a 15-6 vote in the Senate on Friday. The bill would have originally allowed for a criminal penalty for doxing, but Nguyen had that language removed from the bill due to legal questions.

There is no set federal law explicitly for doxxing, though many of the ramifications of doxxing, such as stalking and harassment, are covered by federal law.

Under the Nevada bill, a doxxing victim can bring a civil action forward if a person shares their personal information online with the intent to aid criminal offenses ranging from death to harassment.

Nguyen said the language is “narrowly tailored to those people that are inciting violence or mental anguish.”

Jolie Brislin, the Nevada regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, said in a hearing on the bill earlier this month that the prevalence of online harassment is high.

“We know that hate and extremism are on the rise, and digital spaces are not immune,” she said.

Banning untraceable firearms

Assembly Bill 286 banning ghost guns is legislation that would bring Nevada’s guns laws more in line with popular opinion, Sen. Dallas Harris, D-Las Vegas, said on the floor Friday.

Proponents of the bill such as Harris argued the availability of “ghost guns” is a loophole that allows those who would otherwise be barred from purchasing firearms to buy guns.

“I think we have all as a society agreed that no one should be able to own a gun without a background check, and this bill brings us a bit closer to that ideal,” Harris said. “End of statement.”

Republican Sen. Ira Hansen of Sparks, in a final attempt to sway colleagues to vote against the proposal, said the bill’s proponents did not present Nevada-specific data on the guns’ prevalence. That, of course, is because the untraceable nature of the weapons makes gathering data difficult.