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Nevada lawmakers sprint to meet bill deadline


By SAM METZ and SCOTT SONNER AP / Report for America

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Nevada lawmakers on Monday introduced a flurry of proposals covering topics ranging from energy policy to immigration, a final rush toward the first bill deadline of the 2021 legislative session.

Senators and Assembly members introduced 38 and 33 bills in their initial floor sessions and plan to reconvene later to introduce more. Proceedings are expected to stretch into Monday night.

The rush to put forth bills comes one week after legislative leaders extended the initial March 15 deadline an extra week to give legislative staff additional time to draft bills for lawmakers.

“Get them in guys. Today’s the day,” Lt. Gov. Kate Marshall, who presides over the state Senate, told lawmakers.

When their 120-day session began in February, leaders in Nevada’s Democrat-controlled Legislature outlined agendas that revolved primarily around the coronavirus pandemic and the cracks it revealed in state-funded infrastructure and programs. But thus far, the bills drawing the most attention revisit perennial political debates over gun control, criminal justice  and economic diversification.

Here are a few notable bills lawmakers introduced Monday:

Sanctuary State, AB 376

A group of eight Democratic lawmakers introduced a proposal that would limit local law enforcement’s ability to cooperate with federal immigration officers. The bill mirrors “sanctuary state” policies in place in California, Colorado, Illinois and New York.

It would prohibit police officers from collecting information concerning a person’s birthplace, immigration or citizenship status, and make it illegal to detain someone for the purpose of determining their immigration status. It also prohibits state and local officers from detaining a person on a hold relating to federal immigration enforcement unless the request is accompanied by an arrest warrant or supported by probable cause that the person committed a crime.

The bill notes that immigrants make up 19% of Nevada’s population, account for 1 in 4 workers in the state and account for about 30% of the small business owners in Nevada.

Medically Assisted Suicide, AB 351

Assemblyman Edgar Flores, D-Las Vegas, introduced a proposal to allow the terminally ill to end their own lives.

Assemblyman Edgar Flores inside the Legislature on Tuesday, March 9, 2021 in Carson City, Nev. (David Calvert/The Nevada Independent)

The bill would authorize competent Nevada residents age 18 or older who have been diagnosed with a terminal condition by at least two physicians to request medication from their physician designed to end their life and allow the patient to self-administer it. If passed, the bill would direct coroners to not list the cause of death as suicide or homicide and limit cause-of-death investigations tied to terminally ill people given life-ending medication.

The physician would have to inform the patient of their right to revoke a request for the medication at any time, discuss the patient’s prognosis and alternative options for care, and instruct them against self-administering it in public. Physicians would remain responsible for treating the patient’s pain and would not be forced to prescribe life-ending medication, but they would have to refer the patient to another provider of health care who is willing to do so.

Flores’ proposal is similar to a Senate bill that stalled before reaching a vote in 2019. At least eight states allow medically assisted suicide.

Grubhub, Uber Eats & Postmates, SB 320

Third-party delivery apps have faced lawsuits for offering food without permission from the restaurants that make it. Restaurant owners who want to retain control over delivery services — or not offer them at all — claim that platforms are directing their contractors to order food from restaurants that don’t agree to be on the platform in order to increase their revenue and tighten their grip on the delivery industry.

State Sen. Dina Neal, D-Las Vegas, wants to prohibit apps like Grubhub, Uber Eats and DoorDash from listing restaurants on their platforms without permission. A bill that Neal introduced on Monday also proposes requiring additional transparency about the commissions that the delivery services charge and capping them at 20% of the price of the order throughout the duration of the pandemic.

Other states including Massachusetts and Oregon have recently passed laws capping the fees the delivery apps charge.

Sonner reported from Reno. Metz is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative.  Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

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