Bills to modify petition process introduced in Senate | NevadaAppeal.com

Bills to modify petition process introduced in Senate

Appeal Capitol Bureau

Bills designed to change Nevada’s initiative petition process were introduced Monday in the Senate, including one which would make petition fraud a felony.

Legislative Operations and Elections Chairwoman Barbara Cegavske, R-Las Vegas, said two of the measures appear to contradict each other. But she agreed to have the Legislative Operations and Elections Committee hear both.

AB78 would increase the penalty for fraud in a petition. But SJR1 would amend the Nevada Constitution to remove requirements that affidavits attesting to the validity of signatures be attached to all petitions.

Cegavske said she favors a tougher penalty rather than reducing the requirements for signature gatherers.

“We have to clean up the process of getting these petitions signed,” she said.

At present, signing another person’s name or a fictitious name on a petition and filing petitions knowing they contain a false signature or statement is a misdemeanor. The legislation would increase the penalty to a category D felony, which carries a maximum of four years in prison.

Also introduced Monday was SB79, which would require the use of the permanent paper trail produced by computerized voting systems to be used for recounts. Current practice uses the same computer memory-storage devices which were used originally to count votes.

Finally, Sen. Mike McGinness, R-Fallon, introduced SB80, which would make offices including the county assessor, clerk, treasurer, recorder, district attorney, county commissioners and public administrators nonpartisan.

Those posts are nonpartisan in Carson City, but, in many other counties, they are partisan races.

Existing law makes judicial offices, school offices, sheriffs and the board of regents and state Board of Education nonpartisan.

All of the bills were referred to Legislative Operations and Elections for hearings.

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