Next year’s legislative session promises to touch on a diverse variety of topics, if the bill draft requests submitted so far offer any indication.
As of last week, lawmakers had asked legislative attorneys to draw up more than 100 measures for potential consideration when the Legislature reconvenes in February for its biennial 120-day session. Not surprisingly, no area is too trivial for scrutiny.
In addition to traditional topics such as education, health care and energy, lawmakers seek to address animal abuse, mentoring, taxidermy, nursing mothers, feral cats, student loans, financial literacy, trapping, bicycle safety and dozens of other subjects.
Perhaps the most noteworthy bill draft comes from state Sens. David Parks, a Las Vegas Democrat, and Ben Kieckhefer, a Reno Republican, who propose to bring the assisted suicide debate to Nevada. They’ve asked for legislation that would revise “provisions governing prescribing, dispensing and administering controlled substances designed to end the life of a patient.”
A similar measure stalled in committee in 2015.
Other interesting proposals include a plan to lower the minimum age to gamble in the state to 18 and a measure that would further reform Nevada’s forfeiture laws, which allow police to seize valuables from people who are never even charged, let alone convicted, of a crime.
The state’s new commerce tax may also be back on the agenda. The levy hits businesses once they pass $4 million in annual revenues, and Assemblyman John Ellison, an Elko Republican, has proposed a constitutional amendment to prevent lawmakers from lowering that threshold.
On a lighter note — pun intended — it wouldn’t be a legislative session without Las Vegas Democrat Tick Segerblom, aka Pol Pothead, leading the charge of the bong brigade. The state senator seeks to authorize “local governments to enact ordinances allowing for marijuana social clubs, events and concert arenas to allow the public use of marijuana.”
More than 1,000 bills are introduced in a typical legislative session — though most never see the light of day — so expect hundreds more bill drafts in the coming months.
Perhaps it’s time for some environmentally conscious legislator to seek a bill requiring lawmakers to repeal two existing laws for every new one they pass. Not only might that pare back the ever-expanding regulatory state, it would also save reams of paper in Carson City.