Guinn signs referee assault bill, others |

Guinn signs referee assault bill, others

(AP) – Among more than two dozen bills also signed Monday by Guinn were:

• AB474 protecting sports officials from unruly parents and players who may try to hurt the officials because of a call perceived as unfair or a lost game.

The new law makes unarmed assault against a referee, umpire, judge, timekeeper or inspector in retaliation for performing their duties a gross misdemeanor – rather than a misdemeanor – punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2,000 fine.

• SB256, cracking down on human trafficking. The bill would rewrite a Nevada law prohibiting involuntary servitude to include enslaving someone by confiscating a passport, threatening deportation and making other nonphysical threats.

• AB256, creating the felony of vehicular homicide for drivers who are convicted of driving under the influence at least three times and then get behind the wheel again while drunk and cause a death.

• AB21, prohibiting parties involved in misdemeanor domestic abuse from reaching a civil compromise,which drops criminal charges often in return for payment.

• SB271, expanding protections for Nevadans terrorized by stalkers by letting them participate in a state program that provides fictitious addresses to other crime victims.

• AB76, eliminating a mandatory drug and alcohol evaluation for some first-time juvenile offenders.

DMV should check for stolen cars during registration

The Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles and major police agencies say the state has a gap in its current laws which has allowed a growing number of stolen cars to be registered to new owners.

Stan Olsen, representing the Nevada Sheriff’s and Chiefs Association, estimated 500 stolen vehicles have been registered in the state.

“And, unfortunately, a great number of people affected by this are lower-income people who are buying cars off street corners,” he said.

Tom Fronopfel, of the DMV, said SB242 would require department employees to run registrations against national databases to verify whether the vehicle has been stolen. He said currently they check a small number of vehicles – particularly when they are out-of-state registrations. The bill would require all new registrations be compared to national databases of stolen vehicles.

It would cost about $65,400 the first year, including some computer programming and about $58,000 a year after that. The finance committee voted to support passage of the bill.

Construction battle taken to arbitration

Nevada legislators want to take a battle over construction of the Southern Nevada Veterans Home to arbitration.

Deputy Public Works Director Evan Dale told the Senate Finance Committee on Monday attempts at mediation have failed. The state took over the contract and finished the home several years ago, saying the contractor failed to do the job. The contractor was paid more than $14 million of the $16 million contract. The state used the remaining $1.8 million to finish the construction, he said.

Dale said the issue has been in litigation since, with the contractor demanding an additional $15 million in damages.

Dale said arbitration should begin in November and is expected to last about five weeks. He said $673,900 is needed to pay the cost of arbitration.

The committee voted to request a bill appropriating the money.

Longer residency rules supported

Members of Senate Finance Committee voted Monday to support doubling the length of time a person must live in Nevada in order to qualify for resident tuition rates at the state’s universities.

SB32 would require 12 months residency instead of six. That is what the university system historically required until a couple of years ago when a legal opinion said it couldn’t do so because state law set residency at six months.

SB32 would change state law to set residency at 12 months to qualify for in-state university tuition rates, which are much lower than out-of-state rates.

Funding backed to build White Pine courthouse

White Pine County may get state money to build a new $10 million courthouse.

Gov. Kenny Guinn requested SB183, agreeing with the state’s District Judges Association the existing situation is dangerous to judges, juries and witnesses.

Judge Dan Papez of Ely testified earlier this session the county doesn’t have the financial ability to pay for a new courthouse and that the 1906 courthouse is dangerous. He said the problem has been magnified since Ely State Prison opened in 1990. That facility houses the state’s most dangerous inmates and generated 80 felony cases in the past two years.

“There is no room for the jurors to be kept separate from inmate witnesses and defendants,” said Papez.

Everyone from defendants to judges must use the same corridors, even bathrooms, creating an atmosphere he said could erupt in violence at any time.

The original proposal asked for $8 million to build the structure. The amount was increased to $10 million because of unexpected increases in the cost of steel, concrete and other building materials.

Members of the Senate Finance Committee voted to support the bill, with only Las Vegas Republicans Bob Beers and Barbara Cegavske opposed.

Lawmakers approve travel reimbursement

Senate Bill 265 would reimburse Nevada legislators for official travel expenses when the Legislature is not in session.

They already receive a travel budget during each session.

Sen. Dean Rhoads, R-Tuscarora, said when he has to travel the length of his district from Elko to Pioche, it can mean a car trip of some 900 miles to attend meetings on behalf of his constituents.

At the suggestion of Minority Leader Dina Titus, D-Las Vegas, the Senate Finance Committee amended SB265 so it applies only when a lawmaker drives at least 50 miles each way to a meeting.

The bill permits reimbursement only when lawmakers travel to participate in public meetings with elected bodies, and they can’t claim any reimbursement once they file for re-election to office.

– Appeal Capitol Bureau