Assembly passes measure on elder care | NevadaAppeal.com

Assembly passes measure on elder care

AMANDA FEHD
Associated Press Writer

The Nevada Assembly passed several measures Monday, including a bill that lets the state’s elder abuse investigators get criminal history information from police agencies.

SB31, now going to Gov. Jim Gibbons for his signature, is one of many proposals this session that target crimes against the elderly. It would add the Division of Aging Services to a list of government agencies authorized to get criminal records.

In previous testimony on the bill, Division of Aging Services officials said the change was necessary because some division investigators, who are licensed clinical social workers, have been exposed to dangerous situations and even threatened at clients’ homes.

Since most elder abuse is committed in homes by family members, social workers can face people with histories of drug use or domestic violence, and advance knowledge of who’s in a home would help them decide whether they need a police escort, proponents said.

The Assembly also passed SB118, which targets the federal government’s plan to store large quantities of mercury at the Hawthorne Army Depot. The bill requires the state Environmental Commission to adopt regulations for the safe handling and storage of mercury in quantities of 200,000 pounds or more.

Assemblyman David Bobzien, D-Reno, said the bill came from a subcommittee that studied the protection of natural treasures.

“This is an attempt to get out ahead of the fact that the federal government is going to be storing a large stash of mercury at the Hawthorne Army Depot,” Bobzien said.

The Department of Defense has proposed storing 4,400 metric tons of liquid mercury at the depot.

The Assembly also passed a bill that would allow judges’ decisions on early prisoner releases to be based on the true capacity of a jail or prison, rather than the number of beds.

Judges sometimes allow early prisoner releases in Nevada because of prison and jail overcrowding. Such releases can only take place for prisoners convicted of nonviolent crimes, who have served at least 75 percent of their sentence already.

Other measures that passed include SB81, which requires state and local plans for emergency management to make provisions for the needs of people with pets or service animals; and SB132, which adds cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and cycling to a list of recreational activities that owners of land on which those activities occur can’t be held liable for.