Assembly passes bill making terrorism a crime |

Assembly passes bill making terrorism a crime

Geoff Dornan, Appeal Capitol Bureau

The Nevada Assembly voted unanimously Wednesday to create new criminal penalties for acts of terrorism.

AB250 was sponsored by Speaker Richard Perkins, D-Henderson, who is deputy chief of police there.

He acknowledged concerns the new laws could be used to violate individual rights.

“This bill does not take away your civil rights,” he said. “It also doesn’t affect civil disobedience. It is our right, our duty to question our government, and people who do that are not terrorists.”

Assemblyman William Horne, D-Las Vegas, said he joined a subcommittee working on the measure “to make sure it did not trample on civil rights.”

“I believe we did that,” he said.

AB250 makes murder committed in connection with a terrorist act first-degree murder punishable by a 50-year prison sentence on top of any other sentence imposed for the murder itself. It doubles the sentence for any felony committed in connection with a terrorist act. And it provides up to life in prison for being a terrorist or aiding one.

It defines an act of terrorism as the use or attempted use of sabotage, coercion or violence intended to cause harm to the general population, cause substantial destruction, or contaminate any building, infrastructure, utility, public service or natural resource.

The legislation also criminalizes “material support” of any terrorist act or plot — including oral, written or electronic communication — as well as aiding, assisting, and concealing terrorists.

And it covers all types of possible terrorist acts, including biological and chemical attacks.

The legislation also requires major resorts in Nevada to develop and maintain emergency response plans for dealing with terrorist acts and to provide building plans along with those plans to local police and fire agencies.

The legislation goes to the Senate for consideration.