Lawmakers feel heat of last month of session

Lawmakers are down to the last four full weeks of the 2005 session starting today - and given the time crunch, they've scheduled hearings that will continue into the coming weekend.

The 14th week of the session opens with Assembly Government Affairs discussing SB115, which would allow local governments and some advisory boards to hold closed meetings to discuss homeland security and terrorism.

The bill faces an uncertain future in the Democrat-controlled Assembly. It cleared the Senate on a 13-7 vote, over Democrats' opposition.

Senate Judiciary will take up AB51, clarifying rights of birth mothers in adoptions by formalizing the process for open adoptions.

Also today, Assembly Ways and Means will consider AB233, creating a state economic development office to help promote security-related industries in Nevada. More than $770,000 would be allocated for the office.

Ways and Means also will review AB36, dealing with young adults who have "aged out" of state foster care and are eligible for Medicaid; and AB47 which requires youths caught up in the juvenile justice system to be screened for mental health and substance abuse problems.

Assembly Judiciary will take up a Senate "video voyeurism" bill. SB28 would make it a felony to secretly videotape people in places where they expect privacy. That committee also will consider SB150, making it a misdemeanor to file a false complaint against a public employee.

Senate Natural Resources will consider AB112, expanding current state law that requires life jackets for each person on board a boat. Under the bill, at least one life ring or a similar device that can be thrown also would be mandated.

The committee also will take up AJR4, urging federal lawmakers to oppose plans for storing nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain.

On Tuesday, SB326, a controversial bill that would allow developers to build upscale homes on the old Ballardini ranch just south of Reno, will be heard in Assembly Judiciary.

Senate Commerce and Labor will hear AB360, regulating permanent cosmetics - tattoos that look like makeup. The committee also should act on SB384, targeting predatory payday loan businesses that charge high interest rates to customers.

On Wednesday, Senate Judiciary will look at AB452, allowing ex-felons who were dishonorably discharged to petition to have their voting rights restored.

Assembly Commerce and Labor will consider giving tax incentive to movie companies. SB493 was requested by Lt. Gov. Lorraine Hunt.

On Thursday, a controversial proposal to allow Nevadans to buy Canadian prescription drugs using a state-run Web site will be considered by Senate Commerce and Labor. Under AB195, the state would inspect and license pharmacies in Canada and set up a Web site linking consumers to those pharmacies.

Assembly Judiciary will consider SB423, which says some meetings and hearings for prisoners and those on parole and probation are not subject to open meeting laws but must be open to the public.

Also Thursday, Senate Judiciary will hold information hearings on pharmacy issues and the state Ethics Commission.

On Friday, Senate Legislative Operations and Elections will hear AB415, to require lawmakers to put their names on the bills they request. Now, a lawmaker's name can remain anonymous until a bill is introduced.

Also Friday, Assembly Government Affairs will consider SB229, expanding tax incentives for businesses that move into economic development areas.

On Saturday, Senate Finance is meeting to close budgets - its first such meeting of the session, and a signal that the session is ending.


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