Almost 200 new Nevada laws take effect today |

Almost 200 new Nevada laws take effect today

Associated Press Writer

Nearly 200 new state laws, more than a third of all measures passed by Nevada lawmakers this year, take effect today – including statutes dealing with public records and open meetings, illegal immigration, graffiti and DNA testing of criminals.

Other measures with Oct. 1 effective dates protect consumers, help fund needed highway projects, keep drunken drivers in jail until they’re sober, and ease the state’s concealed-weapons laws.

During the regular 2007 session and the special session, legislators passed 558 new laws. Some became law as soon as they were passed and signed by Gov. Jim Gibbons while about 200 others had July 1 effective dates. Remaining measures with delayed dates will go on the books on Jan. 1 and July 1, 2008.

The laws taking effect today include SB123, giving government agencies five days to respond to requests for public records. Confidential government documents can be made public by a court order if they’re more than 30 years old; and if only part of a record is confidential, agencies must redact such sections and provide the rest of the record.

Also taking effect is AB92, requiring DNA to be collected from all convicted felons. It replaces a law that required only those convicted of serious or violent felonies to give DNA samples.

A new DUI law, AB8, prevents suspects from being released until they are below a 0.04 percent blood-alcohol level, or a 12-hour hold in the case of a driver under the influence of drugs.

Immigration-related laws include AB383, which charges the state Tax Commission with the task of punishing businesses that hire illegals; and targets human traffickers by allowing authorities to charge them with felonies.

AB14 mandates more penalties for graffiti vandalism, including fines ranging from $400 to $1,000, and 100 hours of community service for a first offense. Graffiti offenders who are 18 or older will have their driver’s license suspended for at least six months.

SB237 allows those who have a concealed weapons permit in other states to carry a concealed weapon in Nevada. Previous Nevada law didn’t recognize out-of-state permits. Only states with rules similar to or stricter than Nevada’s permit rules will be recognized.

SB471 establishes distance requirements for certain serious sex offenders, forcing them to live at least 1,000 feet away from schools and other places children gather. Also in the law is a provision that exempts the state Parole Board from Nevada’s open meeting law.

Also taking effect are key sections of AB193, which ensures that someone who successfully pleads not guilty by reason of insanity and is later found to be sane can continue to get treatment once released from the state hospital. AB193 also revives the guilty but mentally ill plea that was abolished by the Nevada Supreme Court in 2001.

New consumer laws include AB478, which limits terms of high-interest loans. Any company charging more than 40 percent interest on a loan must limit the term of the loan to 35 days. If a borrower can’t pay the loan back after that, the interest rate must drop to the prime rate plus 10 percent.

Under AB232, Nevada pharmacies will have to submit prices for 100 of the most common name-brand and generic drugs. The prices will be posted on the Department of Health and Human Services’ Web site.

Also taking effect are sections of AB595, a $1 billion plan to cover part of a $5 billion shortfall in funding for highway projects that will ease congestion on Nevada highways – especially in the Las Vegas area.

Summary of other new laws

• SB10 is a “video voyeurism” bill that bans videotaping “private areas” of people under circumstances in which they have “a reasonable expectation of privacy.”

• AB72 makes it easier to prosecute Internet predators who go online to lure someone they think is a child but instead turns out to be a police investigator.

• AB440 is intended to block bogus real estate deals and ensure that borrowers can afford a home loan. However, unclear wording in the law could make it tougher for some qualified Nevadans to get home loans.

• AB87 is an elder abuse prevention law requiring a training course for bank tellers, and mandating a review of suspected cases of abuse; and AB463 increases scrutiny of group homes and residential establishments and requires more information from unlicensed homes.

• AB263 establishes rules for how state agencies investigate child fatalities; and AB64 increases penalties for those who don’t use child safety seats in cars.

• AB282 allows courts to take action against domestic abusers who try to harass their partners by hurting or even killing family pets or other animals; and SB329 prohibits leaving a cat or dog in a car during conditions of extreme heat or cold.

• AB80 requires businesses to provide identifying information to the secretary of state before they can make political contributions; and SB548 requires candidates to expand financial disclosures.

• SB354 is a school safety bill that makes any student caught with a firearm at school submit to counseling and a drug test.

• SB437 expands some renewable energy programs and allows more credits for consumers who produce their own power; and AB178 bans the sale of incandescent light bulbs in Nevada starting in 2012.

• AB2 penalizes auto repair shops that fail to get a customer’s consent before going ahead with repairs that cost more than the shop’s initial estimate.

• AB404 requires insurance companies to give more information to consumers about how they use credit information to set rates; and AB247 limits interest and other fees that hospitals can charge patients.

• AB439 strengthens requirements that local governments develop master plans for affordable housing; and AB216 requires a manager who plans to close a mobile home park to prepare a residential impact statement.