Anti-terrorism bills approved by Nevada panel |

Anti-terrorism bills approved by Nevada panel

BEN KIECKHEFER, Associated Press

Two anti-terrorism and homeland security measures were endorsed Thursday by a Nevada Assembly panel — amended to protect peoples’ free speech rights.

The Judiciary Committee approved a definition that states an act of terrorism would include an offense that causes “great bodily harm or death to the general population.”

In a case of terrorism resulting in deaths, a death sentence could be imposed.

The new definition covers terrorism-related crimes that result in substantial damage to public or private buildings or infrastructures, or contamination of natural resources.

“I am far more comfortable with this definition that the one that existed previously,” Judiciary member David Brown, R-Henderson, said in discussing AB250, proposed by Assembly Speaker Richard Perkins’, D-Henderson.

Also approved was AB441, another Perkins bill that would create the Nevada Commission on Homeland Security, a 12-member panel appointed by legislators and the governor.

The commission would evaluate safety procedures for critical state buildings, facilities and infrastructures, and propose goals and programs to protect the public and examine terrorism response procedures.

The committee amended the bill to remove a catchall phrase that would allow the commission to oversee whatever they wanted, and limited the commission’s duties to those specifically outlined in the legislation.

Also revised were provisions governing what documents could be sealed from public view.

The committee accepted recommendations from the Nevada Press Association to make specific documents confidential instead of giving the governor the authority to make any records confidential as he sees fit.

Also amended were requirements that utilities perform vulnerability studies and submit those studies to the commission. The amendment still mandates that utilities perform the studies, but those studies can now be performed under federal guidelines already in place.

The evaluations would then be provided to the state Division of Emergency Management instead of the commission.

The committee referred AB441 to the Assembly Committee on Ways and Means, and AB250 will move to the Assembly floor.