Legislature to debate winery bans, speed limit | NevadaAppeal.com

Legislature to debate winery bans, speed limit

Michelle Rindels
Associated Press

LAS VEGAS — The legislative session is a whole month away, but Nevadans can already get a sneak peak at nearly 200 bills and resolutions expected to end up before lawmakers this spring. The measures, which are “pre-filed” so they are ready to go on the first day of the session and can get an early hearing, account for about one-fifth of the bills expected to be drafted during the four-month session.

Here’s a look at what lawmakers and state agencies hope to pass this year:

MORE WINERIES

Current law bans wineries in counties with more than 100,000 people — which includes only Clark and Washoe. AB4, sponsored by Republican Assemblyman Pat Hickey, would remove the population restriction.

BOATING UNDER THE INFLUENCE

AB67 would expand the definition of driving under the influence. A boater who’s in control of a vessel — even if the power isn’t running and the boat is simply drifting in the open water — could be arrested on the charge. The bill also clears up loopholes in the law that allows people to refuse a breath or body fluid DUI test. Police would be allowed to seek a warrant for such a test, rather than simply comply if a person refuses a sobriety test.

HIGHER SPEED LIMIT

Existing law caps speed limits in Nevada at 75 mph. SB2, introduced by Republican Sen. Don Gustavson, would raise the highest allowed speed limit to 85 mph.

TAXING E-CIGARETTES

Allows the state to regulate and tax liquid nicotine. Existing law allows the state to tax cigarettes and other tobacco products, but this bill would clarify that the liquid used in increasingly popular e-cigarettes also falls under that category.

PSYCHIATRIC HOSPITAL REFERRALS

AB38 adds physicians’ assistants to the list of people who can apply to have a mentally ill person involuntarily committed to a psychiatric hospital. The existing list allows police, doctors, psychologists, social workers and nurses to perform that task.

WEAPONS ON CAMPUS

The existing law prohibits people from having certain weapons while on the campus of a school, child-care facility or on the property of the Nevada System of Higher Education. AB2 would make an exception for people carrying weapons in an occupied vehicle, in an unoccupied vehicle if it’s locked, or in a locked container that’s attached to the vehicle.

HISTORIC PRESERVATION

SB51 would create a Nevada branch of the National Main Street Center, an organization that promotes neighborhood revitalization projects focused on preserving historic places. It would also direct $500,000 in state general fund money so the governor’s Office of Economic Development can award grants for preservation projects.

GOVERNOR, LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR RUN AS A TEAM

SJR3, filed on behalf of the lieutenant governor, proposes an amendment to the state constitution that would allow governor and lieutenant candidates run together on a joint ticket. Under current law, voters choose the two officers separately and might elect a Republican governor but a Democratic lieutenant governor.

PUBLIC LANDS FOR THE STATE

SJR1 urges Congress pass a bill transferring at least 7.2 million acres of federally managed land within the state’s borders to the state of Nevada. The resolution points out that federal officials manage 80 percent of Nevada’s land, and it argues that the federal ownership prevents economic development activities that might happen if the land is owned by private citizens or state government.