Collection of DNA from all felons wins OK

CARSON CITY — A measure making Nevada the 44th state to require DNA to be collected from all convicted felons won final legislative approval Monday in the Nevada Assembly.

AB92 was sent to Gov. Jim Gibbons for his signature after the Assembly agreed to Senate changes that strengthened the measure in line with requests from law enforcement agencies. Under current state law, only those convicted of serious or violent felonies give DNA samples.

While police wanted the expansion, the Senate amendment had been criticized by Sen. Terry Care, D-Las Vegas, as evidence of “the age of Big Brother.” He unsuccessfully sought changes to exempt lower-level felonies, such as writing bad checks and certain graffiti crimes.

Proponents included Senate Judiciary Chairman Mark Amodei, R-Carson City, who said that wider use of DNA just reflects changing technology and is “the fingerprints of the new millennium.”

The Assembly also signed off on Senate changes to AB526, which allows cable television companies to reach franchising agreements with the state, rather than with individual municipalities. That measure also goes to the governor.

Proponents had said the bill would allow the cities to continue to collect franchising fees, while allowing companies to make centralized negotiations with the state, rather than working out contracts with individual cities.

In recent years, those negotiations have become tougher, with cities hiring consultants and lawyers to squeeze more from the cable franchise talks, the AB526 advocates said.

Also winning final approval was AB404, which initially banned insurance companies from considering the closing and opening of credit accounts when setting rates. The Assembly agreed Monday to Senate amendments that require insurance companies to provide better explanations of how they use credit information to establish rates.

The Assembly refused to go along with Senate changes to AB127, aimed at stopping abusive phone tactics by collection agencies by letting consumers record phone conversations initiated by the agencies.

That means Senate and Assembly conferees will have to try to reach a compromise. The lawmakers don’t have much time to do that — they’re scheduled to adjourn next Monday.

The Assembly also balked at Senate changes to AB521, which increases penalties for certain types of fraud.

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