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Marijuana lounges pass, tax on sports tickets fails in Nevada

Updated April 9, 2021 - 7:56 pm

CARSON CITY — In the most productive week thus far of the Legislature’s 2021 session, hundreds of pieces of legislation moved through committees ahead of a Friday deadline for action, including major bills on election and criminal justice reform, gun rights, and marijuana laws.

Committees passed an extension of mail-in voting, a ban on untraceable kit-assembled guns, and the abolition of the death penalty in some of the most notable measures.

Committees met into the early evening Friday in a sprint ahead of the deadline for bills to make it through their initial committee referral. Those that don’t are considered dead for the rest of the session.

As of late Friday afternoon, nearly 120 bills had moved out of committee on the last day for initial passage, with the number of bills passing out of all committees topping 300 for the week.

The Assembly Judiciary committee on its own approved 20 bills on Friday, moving them to the floor of that chamber for further consideration

Friday marked the end for many other proposals, including bills that would strengthen Nevada’s public records laws, authorize safe drug injection sites and one that would have led to additional fees on tickets for Raiders and Vegas Golden Knights games.

Committee approval of the proposed death penalty ban, Assembly Bill 395, is a milestone that previous attempts in 2017 and 2019 failed to reach.

Here’s a look at some of the other bills that lived and died after the deadline in the Legislature:

Bills that passed

■ Assembly Bill 116, making lesser minor traffic offenses such as speeding civil infractions instead of misdemeanors.

■ Assembly Bill 126, making Nevada the first station in the nation to hold its presidential primary, subject to additional outside approvals.

■ Assembly Bill 186, banning police agencies from setting outright quotas for tickets or arrests.

■ Assembly Bill 286, banning “ghost guns” assembled from kits that lack serial numbers, and giving businesses that ban guns on their properties more tools to do so.

■ Assembly Bill 321, making permanent expanded mail-in voting and other voter-friendly measures.

■ Assembly Bill 341, authorizing lounges for consuming marijuana.

■ Assembly Bill 376, limiting interaction by local police agencies in immigration cases without a judicial warrant.

■ Assembly Bill 395, which would abolish the death penalty and commute existing death sentences to life without parole.

■ Assembly Bill 400, changing the criteria for determining when someone is driving impaired from smoking marijuana.

■ Assembly Bill 425, making changes to asset forfeitures in drug cases.

■ Senate Bill 165 would create a new oversight body that would regulate esports competitions in Nevada, similar to how the Nevada Athletic Commission regulates combat sports.

■ Senate Bill 344, banning Nevadans from keeping or trafficking in larger wild animals, such as big cats.

Bills that appear to have died

■ Assembly Bill 276 would have allowed people who win public records access cases in court to recover up to double their legal costs.

■ Assembly Bill 331 would have helped promote affordable housing with guidelines for better project tracking and long-term planning.

■ Assembly Bill 334 would have given communities another way to fund affordable housing projects with fees and payments from developers.

■ Assembly Bill 380 initially would have required incremental decreases in natural gas use in buildings in Nevada. It was amended to instead require the state’s Public Utilities Commission to open an investigatory docket that would study the role of natural gas in the state’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

■ Senate Bill 367 would have added a 9 percent live entertainment tax to tickets for games played by the Raiders, Golden Knights and Aces.

Bills that advanced without an endorsement

■ Assembly Bill 351, the physician-aid-in-dying bill, was referred to the full Assembly without a committee recommendation.

As is the Legislature’s habit, a number of far-reaching bills were watered down or gutted outright with amendments or converted to studies, such as Assembly Bill 161, which initially would have rewritten the tenant summary eviction law.

Contact Capital Bureau Chief Colton Lochhead at clochhead@reviewjournal.com. Follow @ColtonLochhead on Twitter. Contact Capital Bureau reporter Bill Dentzer at bdentzer@reviewjournal.com. Follow @DentzerNews on Twitter.

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