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Governor signs slew of bills in waning days of legislative session

By Kristen Hackbarth

Forty-four bills were signed into law on Tuesday by Gov. Steve Sisolak. The governor’s office touted the signing of three specific bills—Assembly Bill 96, Assembly Bill 119 and Senate Bill 146—related to mental and physical health support for Nevadans.

AB 96 provides for a pathway to peer support for first responders, such as police and fire employees, by permitting their agencies to contract with a nonprofit to create and manage such a program. Peer-to-peer counseling in law enforcement has been practiced for more than half a century, including at the Reno Police Department which has had a successful program for its employees for several years. RPD’s program has also served as a model for federal legislation introduced by U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto.

AB 119 addresses disparities in maternal mortality by requiring a review of deaths based on race, ethnicity, age and geographic region and for recommendations to be made to reduce disparities. AB 146 requires that effort be made to allow children in foster care to continue receiving medical and mental health care from their established health care providers.

Other bills on the list of those signed include Assembly Bill 157, which seeks to address incidents of discrimination in falsely reporting crimes or reporting innocent behavior deemed suspicious based on a person’s actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.

Language in the bill notes, “These unjust incidents cause serious harm to the person who is the victim of this type of discrimination and waste the finite time and resources of law enforcement agencies.” Under the provisions of the bill, the accused person can seek civil action against the person who reported them.

Assembly Bill 217 requires adoption of training requirements for unlicensed caregivers in medical and dependent facilities to include control of infectious diseases. The bill is seemingly in response to the COVID-19 pandemic which saw high numbers of coronavirus cases and deaths in care facilities throughout the state.

Another bill signed into law was Assembly Bill 308, which was introduced by Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson and was called a watered-down, landlord-friendly version of a more progressive bill heard in the Senate.

AB 308 requires a three-day grace period from when rent is due before a landlord can impose a late fee. The provision doesn’t apply to weekly rentals. It also expands the length of notice required for rent increases, to 60 days notice for rentals that are monthly or longer, and to 30 days for rentals of less than a month term.

The bill did not include the stronger tenant protections—those related to application fees, hidden fees and security deposits—offered in Senate Bill 218, which died in an Assembly committee.

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