Nevada legislature gets revised budget numbers in 13th week | NevadaAppeal.com

Nevada legislature gets revised budget numbers in 13th week

BEN KIECKHEFER, Associated Press Writer

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Nevada lawmakers will take a nostalgic step back in time Monday and an uncertain fiscal step forward later in the week as they approach the final month of the 2003 session.

On Monday, as the 13th week of the session opens, Assembly members will walk out of their building and hold a floor session in the old Assembly chambers located on the second floor of the nearby Nevada Capitol. Nevada lawmakers last met there in 1969.

On Thursday, legislators will look into the future when the state’s Economic Forum projects likely revenues in the coming two fiscal years — estimates that they must use in determining the state’s budget.

That overall spending figure won’t be fixed on Thursday. That won’t happen until a month later, when lawmakers finally approve the budget just before their mandatory June 2 adjournment.

Besides the Assembly floor session in the old chambers, other events Monday include a Senate Human Resources and Facilities hearing on AB138, which repeals a 1993 law making it a misdemeanor crime for students to have cell phones and pagers in school without a principal’s written permission.

Senate Natural Resources reviews AB36, which scraps a requirement that state rules governing smoke and other emissions from trucks and other heavy-duty vehicles be modeled after California’s standards.

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On Tuesday Assembly Taxation Chairman David Parks, D-Las Vegas, has scheduled a discussion on one of the broad tax plans before the Legislature.

AB281, the plan from the Task Force on Tax Policy, doubles the cigarette tax and establishes a tax on amusements of 6.5 percent.

Senate Commerce and Labor will hear AB144, requiring pharmacists to fill prescriptions — even if, for example, the prescription is for birth control pills and use of such pills runs counter to a pharmacist’s religious beliefs.

Senate Judiciary will hear AB163, an anti-corporate corruption measure that makes it illegal to destroy documents or information to hide illegal activities, or to hinder an investigation into such activities.

On Tuesday, Senate Legislative Affairs and Operations will consider SJR9, a proposed constitutional change to let lawmakers vote to finish their business away from Carson City. It would also let legislators circulate petitions in between the 120-day sessions designating alternate meeting sites.

On Wednesday, Senate Judiciary will consider AB250, a measure defining and outlining penalties for committing acts of terrorism. It will also hear AB156, which reinstates the criminal plea of “not guilty by reason of insanity.”

Senate Finance will hear SB106, which would let courts charge $30 per plaintiff on lawsuits in district courts instead of one $30 charge assessed now. The money generated would fund technology improvements, including greater Internet access to court documents and opinions.

On Wednesday, Assembly Ways and Means will consider AB29, which would raise court assessments by $15 to help fund the state’s specialty courts, including drug and mental health courts.

The committee will also hear testimony on AB325, stating that an auto dealer who sells a salvaged vehicle with the intent to defraud the consumer could be held liable for up to three times the actual damages sustained by the purchaser.

Also Wednesday, Assembly Government Affairs will consider SB312. The bill permits but doesn’t require cities, counties and the state itself to consider IDs commonly issued by Mexico’s consulate as equivalent to a driver’s license.

Senate Human Resources and Facilities will hear AB132, which makes child abuse cases presumptively open to the public after prosecutors prove there’s probable cause for the charges.

The committee will also hear AB273. It allows child welfare agencies, not-for-profit groups and interested individuals to petition juvenile courts directly to establish guardianship for a child.

Assembly Commerce and Labor will consider SB10, taking away the right of Nevada cities and counties to regulate use of cell phones by motorists.

On Thursday, Assembly Taxation will hear presentations on Gov. Kenny Guinn’s proposed gross receipts tax on businesses. Taxation Chairman Parks said he’ll also hear testimony on other revenue-generating ideas, like a net profits tax.

Also Thursday, Assembly Transportation will consider allowing use of the Segway high-tech scooter on public pathways, such as sidewalks and bike paths. SB363 sets a maximum speed for the Segway at 15 miles per hour and allows cities and counties to regulate the devices.

On Friday, Senate Commerce and Labor will consider three bills dealing with alternate sources of power. They include AB429, which would allow for grants, rebates and other incentives to help Nevadans cover costs of systems that can make their electrical meters run backward.

Also Friday, Senate Judiciary will hear AB397, prohibiting courts from imposing legal fees on people who challenge the amount governments offer them for their seized property.

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