Water bill among 33 proposals now dead at Nevada Legislature

A total of 33 pieces of legislation were left behind at the close of business Friday evening — dead because they failed to win committee passage.

All of those measures were approved by the house where they were introduced. Seven Assembly and 26 that originated in the Senate are dead.

Among them is AB298, a controversial bill that would have made extensive changes to 150 years of Nevada water law, including redefining such things as perennial yield — the amount of water that can be removed from a basin without degrading the aquifer.

The bill faces extensive opposition in the Senate Natural Resources Committee, prompting Chairman Yvanna Cancela, D-Las Vegas, to say at the end of the hearing the bill “may be too tainted” to win approval.

Some opponents charged the bill was the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s attempt to open the way to taking huge amounts of water from rural Nevada to feed Las Vegas growth. That argument was supported by the enthusiastic backing the measure got from Clark County unions and developers.

“I think it’s safe to say we’re not there yet,” said SNWA lobbyist Andy Belanger, echoing Cancela’s comments at the end of the hearing.

SB449 would have expanded court diversion programs for veterans to include the crimes of domestic violence and misdemeanor DUI, allowing the courts to dismiss those charges if the veteran completes a diversion and counseling program and allows the court records to be sealed after seven years. It too failed to win a committee vote.

SB115, a bill that would expand the ban on carrying guns on Nevada higher education campuses to include public libraries also died in the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

SB130 would have doubled the number of barrels of beer a brewpub could make a year from 15,000 to 30,000. But it would also have barred them from selling more than 10,000 barrels at retail. Small brewers argued that was an attempt to prevent them from growing their businesses. It died in the Commerce Committee.

Finally, SB426 would have expanded the motorcycle helmet law to include riders and passengers of small mopeds and three wheelers. It died in the Assembly Transportation Committee.


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