State lawmakers to revisit more than 150 bills in 2011

CARSON CITY -- State legislators believe the old adage that if you fail once, then try, try again.

The list of bill draft requests for the 2011 session that was released Thursday shows many of the proposals were considered in past legislative sessions and rejected.

For instance, two state lottery bills are being drawn up for consideration at the session that begins Feb. 7.

Lottery bills have been debated and killed at nearly every legislative session for more than 30 years.

Two others bills would prohibit texting while driving a motor vehicle. A similar bill died in 2009.

And Sen. Mike Schneider, D-Las Vegas, is back with a bill calling for the Legislature to make sufficient appropriations to public education so Nevada students are funded at least to the national average.

That could be more than difficult since some legislators predict funding for the state budget already is $3 billion short.

So far, legislators have asked bill drafters to create 152 bills for debate during the 2011 session.

Each week until that session, the Legislative Counsel Bureau will release brief information about additional bills that legislators have requested.

Sen. Shirley Breeden, D-Henderson, said she felt compelled in the interest of public safety to come back with a bill to prohibit drivers from texting or reading text messages while driving.

Her bill this time goes a step further: It also would prohibit drivers from using cell phones.

"You are taking your eyes off the road when you use a cell phone," Breeden said. "Statistics also have shown accidents occur when people text. We have to get serious about safety."

While Breeden hasn't come up with a suggested fine for drivers who text or use a cell phone, she said it would have to be at least $250 so people will think twice before grabbing their phones.

Breeden said her texting bill passed the Senate last session, but died in the Assembly.

Assemblyman Tick Segerblom, D-Las Vegas, came back with a bill to create a teachers bill of rights, which he said would require schools in part to tell them what they have been accused of before they are called in for a disciplinary hearing.

"It's basically to ensure they have been given their right to due process," he said.

A similar bill introduced by Segerblom passed in 2009 but it was vetoed by Gov. Jim Gibbons.

An attempt to override the veto fell one vote short.

Sen. Dennis Nolan, R-Las Vegas, requested a bill to allow police to cite drivers who do not wear seat belts under any circumstances.

The state now has a "secondary" seat belt law under which police cannot stop motorists for failing to wear seat belts unless they have committed another driving offense.

Nolan has regularly campaigned for a stronger seat belt law.

His proposal won't be heard in 2011 unless another legislator takes up the cause. Nolan was defeated in the June 8 primary election.

One new proposal that will get a lot of attention is the bill sought by Assemblyman John Hambrick, R-Las Vegas. He wants legislators to pass a "Castle Doctrine" bill.

This proposal goes back to the "your home is your castle" English common law doctrine that means people have a right to defend what goes on in their homes.

That means if an intruder invades your home, you have a right to use deadly force or even kill him and be protected from criminal sanctions.

Contact Capital Bureau Chief Ed Vogel at or 775-687-3901.