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Bump stocks, gun control bills pass before midnight deadline

CARSON CITY — A bill that would ban bump stocks and give local governments more authority over gun control won approval Tuesday in the Assembly, one of nearly 180 bills that passed in the Senate or Assembly ahead of an end-of-day deadline.

The bill, sponsored by Assemblywoman Sandra Jauregui, D-Las Vegas, passed on a near-party-line vote ahead of Tuesday’s deadline for legislation to move out of the house in which it was introduced. All but one of the 29 Assembly Democrats voted in favor of the bill, while Assemblyman Skip Daly, D-Reno, joined all 12 of the Assembly Republicans in voting against it.

The Senate passed more than 50 bills Tuesday but allowed a measure to legalize physician-assisted suicide to die without a vote.

When Jauregui’s bill was heard in committee last month, she detailed her personal story of surviving the October 2017 Route 91 Harvest festival shooting, in which a gunman killed 58 people while using semi- automatic rifles outfitted with bump stocks. Before the vote Tuesday, Jauregui said there was little left to say.

“You have all heard my story, and you’ve all seen my journey with this issue. I have nothing left to say to convince you,” she said. “But I would urge you, for the 58 people who lost their lives on October 1, 2017, to support Assembly Bill 291.”

Assemblyman Tom Roberts, R-Las Vegas, who was an assistant sheriff with the Metropolitan Police Department at the time of the Route 91 shooting, said he fully supported the bump stock ban, saying that “he’s seen the damage they can inflict firsthand,” but he added that he is worried about the bill’s language allowing local governments to pass stronger gun control measures than what’s on the books for the state.

“Our state constitution gives the Legislature clear power to make and enforce the laws for the entire state, and it’s not something I believe that we should be giving up to the county commissions when we have such a large and diverse state with huge differences of opinion on this issue,” Roberts said.

Assembly Bill 291 now heads to the Senate.

Senate Bill 165, the assisted suicide bill sponsored by Sen. David Parks, D-Las Vegas, was tabled on the Senate floor last week. Lawmakers declined to take it up again Tuesday.

“I just don’t think that we were ready to get there today,” Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro, D-Las Vegas, said when the Senate adjourned for the day. “I think Senator Parks has done a really good job of trying to make sure that it had the right protections in it.”

Parks said he had hopes for the bill until about noon Tuesday but found that he was one vote short of passage. The same bill passed the Senate two years ago by one vote but died in the Assembly.

“There were a couple of members who voted and supported it two years ago who indicated that they would not be supporting it,” Parks said. “So I think people’s minds changed on this.”

Also dying Tuesday was an immigration bill sponsored by Assemblyman Edgar Flores, D-Las Vegas. Assembly Bill 281 would have prevented law enforcement in Nevada from detaining someone based solely on a request from immigration authorities unless the person was suspected of committing a crime.

The bill drew support from Las Vegas police but was opposed by both conservatives, who labled it a “sanctuary state” bill, and immigration activists, who said it didn’t go far enough in addressing immigration reform.

“The political narrative has been hijacked,” Flores said late Tuesday night. “The bill has, through the political narrative, been turned into something that it’s not, that I think is toxic and problematic for everybody.”

And while the bill died, Flores said he intends to continue working on the issue, possibly through amendments in other bills, throughout the rest of the session.

Nearly 200 other bills survived. Among them:

Assembly Bill 60: Increases criminal penalties for domestic violence convictions.

Assembly Bill 132: Prohibits employers from refusing to hire someone based solely on a pre-employment drug test that comes back positive for marijuana.

Assembly Bill 153: Enacts stricter gun storage laws.

Assembly Bill 192: Allows for the sealing of convictions for crimes that have been decriminalized.

Assembly Bill 411: Changes most simple traffic infractions from criminal misdemeanors to civil infractions.

Assembly Bill 431: Instantly restores the right to vote upon release from prison.

Assembly Bill 469: Curtails surprise medical billing by preventing out-of-network billing for medical emergencies.

Senate Bill 48: Allows rural counties outside Clark and Washoe to implement a 5-cent-per-gallon diesel tax to fund road and bridge repairs, subject to local authorization.

Senate Bill 243: Sets up four regions in the state to determine prevailing wage rates on public constuction jobs.

Senate Bill 256: Changes procedures and increases protections for tenants facing eviction.

Senate Bill 448: Provides for transferable tax credits for affordable housing.

Senate Bill 450: Toughens requirements for recall elections.

Contact Capital Bureau Chief Colton Lochhead at clochhead@reviewjournal.com or 775-461-3820. Follow @ColtonLochhead on Twitter. Contact Bill Dentzer at bdentzer@reviewjournal.com or 775-461-0661. Follow @DentzerNews on Twitter.

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