CARSON CITY — Lawmakers gave final approval Tuesday to a proposed constitutional amendment that would let lawmakers call special sessions on their own, without having to get the governor to do so.
Assembly Joint Resolution 5 must win approval from the 2011 Legislature and then go to a public vote in 2012. It moved ahead Tuesday as Assembly members agreed to Senate changes to the proposal.
Also Tuesday, a bill to increase the fees for filing court documents, to help pay for 10 new district judgeships, was endorsed by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Under Assembly Bill 65, the increased fees would help pay for nine new district judgeships in the Las Vegas area and one new judgeship in the Reno area. Chief Justice Jim Hardesty has said the higher fees would raise about $7.4 million a year in the Las Vegas area and about $1.7 million a year in the Reno area.
Hardesty said rural Nevada counties would get “an enormous shot in the arm” with new fee collections ranging from $100,000 to $250,000. He added that Nevada is behind on its filing fees compared with other states.
In other action, the Senate Energy, Infrastructure and Transportation Committee endorsed Assembly Bill 522, Assemblywoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick’s renewable energy bill. The bill states that lawmakers would approve the governor’s appointment of an energy commissioner, oversight that Gibbons opposes.
Also Tuesday, the Senate refused to back off from its amendment to a bill that steps up state record-keeping to help keep guns away from the mentally ill.
Under Assembly Bill 46, any court records on mental competency, insanity pleas, forced admissions to mental health facilities or appointments of a guardian for someone deemed to be incompetent would be forwarded to the state’s repository for crime records.
The state repository would transmit the court records to the federal criminal background database, which gets queries from gun dealers when someone tries to buy weapons.
Also, the Assembly refused to go along with Senate changes to Assembly Bill 60, which would require state or local health authorities to determine whether a building previously used to manufacture methamphetamine is safe for habitation.
The actions on AB46 and AB60 mean that Senate-Assembly conferees will try to resolve their differences. If they cannot, both bills will die.BILLS SIGNED INTO LAW
CARSON CITY — A measure that streamlines the process for restoring civil rights of criminal offenders after they have paid their debts to society was signed into law Tuesday by Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons.
Currently, certain ex-offenders can have their civil rights restored after they apply to the state Pardons Board, led by the governor. But the board meets twice a year and receives up to 100 applications that are reviewed in a short period of time.
SB238 would allow civil rights to be restored to ex-felons more quickly, provided there are no objections from a sentencing judge or from the prosecutor in the case.
Gibbons also signed the following:
SB288, which requires the state Division of Industrial Relations to try to meet with and help families of workers killed on the job.
AB530, suspending funding to Nevada’s K-12 school remediation trust fund. Lawmakers said the change had to be made as part of many budget cuts required by the state’s recession-spawned revenue shortfall.
SB229, to ensure that foreign-trained doctors who get visas on the condition that they work in “medically underserved” areas actually provide care in those areas. Sen. Maggie Carlton, D-Las Vegas, authored the bill.
SB362, which strengthens the ability of various boards to strip medical professionals of their licenses for practices.
SB339, requiring Nevada’s Colorado River Commission to conduct a feasibility study to explore the use of hydrokinetic power from the Hoover Dam. The goal of the bill is to look into the widest range of renewable energy technologies possible.
Proponents have said hydropower provides a source of energy as long as there are flowing currents of water. Other sources of energy such as wind and solar are less consistent, they have said.
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS