CARSON CITY — The intensity level at the Nevada Legislature will ramp up in Week 8 as dozens of bills get hearings ahead of a looming “do or die” April deadline for passage out of committee.
Many measures are priorities of the Democratic majorities in the Senate and Assembly, including a bill that would ban capital punishment.
Most of the hundreds of bills introduced this session must pass out of their first committee by mid-April, or they will die. Many bills will not survive the deadline, either because they fail to win approval or because they don’t get hearings.
The week starts with another priority bill for Democrats when the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee hears Senate Bill 253 to establish the Nevada Pregnant Workers’ Fairness Act.
The measure would provide protections to employees who are affected by any condition relating to pregnancy, childbirth or a related medical condition.
In the afternoon, the Senate Judiciary Committee had been scheduled to take up a controversial measure that would prohibit state and local law enforcement officials from participating in federal immigration enforcement actions. But that hearing has been canceled.
Senate Bill 223 from state Sen. Yvanna Cancela, D-Las Vegas, has come under criticism from Republican leaders, including Gov. Brian Sandoval, who say it would tie the hands of law enforcement in dealing with public safety issues. Senate Minority Leader Michael Roberson, R-Henderson, has called the bill “recklessly irresponsible” and “outrageous.”
Also in the afternoon, the Assembly Commerce subcommittee on energy will hear Assembly Bill 270, which would restore the more favorable net metering rates for rooftop solar customers that were replaced prospectively on Jan. 1, 2016, by the Nevada Public Utilities Commission.
The Assembly Legislative Operations and Elections Committee will take up Assembly Bill 293, which would set up a presidential preference primary. Nevada has used a caucus system in past presidential elections.
The Senate Judiciary Committee will take up multiple marijuana-related bills, including Senate Bill 344, which would prohibit the packaging of marijuana products to look like candy.
The Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee will take up gender equity in the workplace, hearing Senate Bill 343, which would require the Office of Economic Development to conduct an annual survey of larger employers to collect data and information on the issue.
The Assembly Judiciary Committee will consider a bill to abolish the death penalty in Nevada and commute the death sentences of more than 80 inmates on death row to life without parole.
There are moral and cost issues involved in the debate, but also a more pragmatic one: Nevada cannot obtain the drugs needed to administer a lethal injection to a death row inmate.
In the afternoon, the Assembly Health and Human Services Committee will consider Assembly Bill 340, which would require the state Department of Health and Human Services to improve access to diapers and diapering supplies to families on public assistance.
The busy week will wrap with a hearing in Las Vegas on Assembly Bill 277 from Assemblyman Steve Yeager, D-Las Vegas, to prevent further development of Nevada’s conservation areas.
“Conservation areas like Black Rock Desert, Red Rock Canyon and Sloan Canyon are staples of Nevada’s shared natural heritage,” he said when the bill was introduced.
“We cannot continue down the path of destructive development of these beautiful and iconic parts of our state.”
Contact Sean Whaley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 775-461-3820. Follow @seanw801 on Twitter.