Facing deadline, lawmakers pass dozens of bills

Facing a looming deadline for passing bills, Nevada lawmakers approved dozens of bills Thursday, as well as a constitutional amendment that limits the state's eminent domain powers.

AJR3, the proposed constitutional amendment on eminent domain, won final legislative approval in the Assembly. It must pass the Legislature again in 2009 before advancing to a statewide vote in 2010.

AB102, a companion measure that takes effect immediately in state law, was signed by Gov. Jim Gibbons on Wednesday. But AJR3 is needed to complete the process of amending the Nevada Constitution.

The Assembly also gave final approval to AB215, a bill dealing with interstate banking. The Assembly agreed with a Senate amendment that prohibits credit card companies from increasing interest rates if a cardholder makes a late payment on an unrelated card.

The Senate passed two bills that were heavily amended from the versions that passed in the Assembly.

One of those, AB404, would have banned insurance companies from considering the closing and opening of credit accounts when setting rates. The bill was amended to require insurance companies to provide better explanations of how they use credit information to establish rates.

The Senate also amended and passed AB142, which would have required lobbyists to take an ethics course. The amended bill now simply requires the state Ethics Commission to make an ethics course available to all members of the public.

The Senate also passed:

• AB80, which requires businesses to provide identifying information to the secretary of state before they can make political contributions

• AB137, which increases penalties for hoax terrorism threats

• AB263, which establishes rules for how state agencies should investigate child fatalities

• AB383, which creates penalties for human traffickers, and allows fines against companies that employ illegal immigrants

• AB433, which limits the ability of the Tax Commission to close meetings to the public

The Assembly also approved:

• SB329, which would make it illegal to leave a cat or dog in a parked car in a way that endangers the safety of the animal. It also allows a police officer to use force to remove the animal from the car.

• SB356, which requires the Department of Health and Human Services to adopt standards for taking children into state custody because of abuse or neglect.

• SB266, which requires doctors to give an HIV test to pregnant women as part of prenatal care.


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