Agencies file bill drafts by Friday deadline

More than 60 requests for new or amended laws were filed with the Legislative Counsel Bureau Friday.

August 29 was the deadline not only for filing agency budget requests but for filing bill draft requests.

Agency heads say most of the requests are for "clean up" legislation designed to clarify existing laws or remove flaws that impede or prevent those laws from operating properly.

A half dozen or so are directly from the governor's office, including one to prohibit certain demonstrations at a funeral, memorial service or ceremony. The problem has been groups that use military funerals as an opportunity to protest the Iraq War.

While staff members say the proposal has been carefully written to avoid problems, courts in other states have ruled such legislation a constitutional violation of the right to free speech and expression.

Gov. Jim Gibbons also has a bill that would implement part of the Tahoe wildfire study recommendations by establishing uniform defensible space guidelines in the Tahoe Basin.

The Nevada Association of Counties submitted a bill that would reverse relatively new requirements that the performance evaluations of appointed public officers be conducted in a public meeting. That law was designed to ban reviews of city and county managers and other top appointees at the local level behind closed doors. NACO now wants the rule changed back so those reviews are again confidential unless the official involved requests an open hearing.

NACO also wants permission for county commissions to raise property taxes "to pay the costs of vital public safety, health and welfare services."

And there is legislation sponsored by the Senate Taxation Committee to authorize an additional quarter-cent sales tax in Clark County to put more Metropolitan Police on the streets. Voters have already indicated they support that proposal.

Assemblywoman Peggy Pierce, D-Las Vegas, has requested legislation that would require paper ballots in elections instead of the electronic recording system now used by the state.

And the city of Reno has a bill request to provide for taxation of unincorporated areas of Washoe County to support municipal services the city has to provide there.

As of Friday, there were a total of 474 bill draft requests being worked on by the Legislative Counsel and her staff.

Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at gdornan@nevadaappeal.com or 687-8750.

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