Coming up in Carson: Bringing the heat in winter
Although there’s snow on the ground and rain in the forecast for Carson City, lawmakers will be focused on easing the summer heat as the Legislature kicks off its sixth week on Monday.
It may be a blustery, cold winter now, but summer is coming, and the Legislature is targeting the heat as the sixth week of lawmaking begins, under cloudy and rainy skies in the capital.
Here’s what’s on the agenda for this week:
Getting hot in here
Right about now, we’re all longing for the dog days of summer. But even though there will be snow on the ground in Carson City on Monday, the Senate Government Affairs Committee will be thinking about how to deal with the heat, specifically by talking about Senate Bill 169, which will require Clark and Washoe counties to include a “heat mitigation element” in their master development plans.
That means things such as cooling spaces, public drinking water, shading paved surfaces and urban tree canopies. It’s not on the list, but free shaved ice for everybody wouldn’t be a bad idea, either.
And speaking of hot
We all know it’s not right to leave a child or a pet in a hot car, since temperatures can rise rapidly. We also know that emergency responders are allowed to break windows to rescue a child or pet from a hot car without incurring a civil penalty.
But under Senate Bill 190, emergency personnel and regular people will be immune from civil and criminal liability for taking actions to help kids and pets in sweltering vehicles, under certain circumstances. You can’t just start breaking windows, though: The law requires you first to make sure the car is locked and that there are no other reasonable means of getting in, you have to call the police or the fire department to report the situation and you have to stay with the child or pet until authorities arrive.
The bill will be heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.
And speaking of animals
Fox hunting competitions have never been as big a thing in Nevada as we hear they were in Great Britain. But under Assembly Bill 102, set to be heard in the Assembly Natural Resources Committee on Wednesday, any contest, tournament, derby or any other type of competition that includes the taking of a beaver, bobcat, coyote, fox, mink, muskrat, otter, rabbit, skunk or weasel will be prohibited.
A landowner can still hunt said animals on her or his property, just so long as it’s not done as part of an organized competition.
Oh, and competitive field trials for hunting dogs and falconry are still allowed, which should come as a relief to Nevada’s robust falconry community.
But, loophole! The law says nothing about hunting the Sasquatch or chupacabras, so those contests, tournaments and derbies are still on!
Transgender insurance coverage
The Senate Commerce and Labor Committee on Wednesday is slated to hear Senate Bill 163, which requires public and private health care insurance plans to cover “gender dysphoria, gender incongruence and other disorders of sexual development,” at pains of losing their certification.
The bill also applies to the state Medicaid insurance program.
When it comes to getting out of jury duty, people who served time have the best excuse of all. Under current law, they can’t be called for service on a criminal jury for six years after they’ve been released or after they’ve finished probation. (Ex-cons can be called for service on a civil jury immediately after release or the end of probation.)
But several Democratic senators have introduced Senate Bill 222, which would allow former prisoners to immediately serve on a criminal jury as soon as they get sprung, or as soon as their probation is over, so they can kiss that excuse goodbye. There is a small silver lining, however: The bill raises the daily fee for jury service from $40 per day to $65 per day for all jurors. The bill will be heard Monday in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
State government workers — as opposed to some of their local-government counterparts — aren’t exactly rolling in dough.
But under Assembly Bill 268, up for a hearing in the Ways &Means Committee on Monday, the state will set aside up to $23 million to give $500 retention bonuses to executive branch employees.
The bonuses would be paid to all employees working as of March 31 and again on June 16, except those on boards and commissions. It’s not a lot of money, but it’s more lucrative than jury service!
Contact Steve Sebelius at SSebelius@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0253. Follow @SteveSebelius on Twitter.