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High-tech crime bill among legislation signed by governor

Data stored on fax machines, photocopiers and other office machines would need to be destroyed or encrypted before the machines are sold or discarded, under one of 52 bills Gov. Brian Sandoval signed into law Monday.

Senate Bill 267 by state Sen. Valerie Wiener, D-Las Vegas, aims to cut down on high-tech crime by requiring businesses and governments to be more careful with data stored on office machines that could be used to commit identity theft.

Wiener said she was motivated to push the bill in part by a CBS News report that documented how copiers, fax machines and other devices can store information indefinitely, making them a treasure trove for potential criminals.

Wiener said people who use the machines to copy or transmit Social Security, passport, banking and birth information are often unaware of the vulnerability.

“That information is very likely going to be captured on the hard drive of that copy machine,” Wiener said. “If that machine is sold to anyone else, they will likely have access to that data.”

SB267 adds the new provisions to existing law covering data protection. People who think the law is violated can report the incident to the attorney general, who could issue an injunction to force the violator to destroy or encrypt the data. It goes into effect Oct. 1.

Other bills Sandoval signed included the following:

■ Assembly 529, which authorizes the state to sweep to the general fund about $38 million that otherwise would go toward compensating hospitals for caring for indigent accident victims.

■ SB43, which requires the director of the Department of Health and Human Services to set up health insurance exchanges called for in the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and include provisions to protect patient information in electronic records.

■ SB55, which makes it easier for the attorney general to take action against people accused of elder abuse and expands the list of crimes eligible for penalty enhancements if they are committed against the elderly.

Sandoval also vetoed two bills, SB207 and AB152.

SB207 would have increased penalties for employers found guilty of wrongly classifying employees as independent contractors. In a veto message, Sandoval said the new penalties and regulations would have been redundant.

AB152 would have created an advisory commission to make recommendations for prioritizing highway construction projects. It would have had authority to take recommendations to a statewide ballot. In his veto message, Sandoval said the panel would have been an unnecessary expansion of government because the Nevada Department of Transportation already makes such decisions.

Although Sandoval signed dozens of bills, he will have to wait a few days to finalize action on more than five dozen bills that are making a detour to Hawaii on the way to his desk. That’s because the official versions of the legislation still need a signature from Assembly Speaker John Oceguera, D-Las Vegas, before they can be sent to Sandoval.

Oceguera departed for vacation to Hawaii and won’t be back in Nevada in time to sign off on the documents ahead of a Friday deadline for Sandoval to sign or veto bills. So the Legislative Counsel Bureau boxed up the bills for an overnight trip to Hawaii. The legislation making the trip includes AB561, a measure to extend the shelf life of about $620 million in taxes needed to fund state government for the next two years, and AB571, which would let taverns that allow customers to smoke cigarettes also serve food.

Sandoval has unofficial versions of the bills for review, but for them to become law, the governor needs to sign by hand the official versions, said Lorne Malkiewich, director of the Legislative Counsel Bureau.

Oceguera signed off on several dozen bills after the 120-day legislative session concluded. But Malkiewich said the Legislative Counsel Bureau failed to provide Oceguera with all the bills that needed a signature before he left for his trip.

“I should have made sure the speaker had signed all the bills to him before he left, and I didn’t,” Malkiewich said.

Dale Erquiaga, senior policy adviser to Sandoval, said if the bills arrive at Sandoval’s office by midweek, there should have no problem signing them into law in time to beat the deadline.

“That is not ideal for this office’s scheduling, but we are going to make it work,” Erquiaga said.

Contact reporter Benjamin Spillman at bspillman@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3861.

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