Gov. Gibbons signs ballot measure change into law |

Gov. Gibbons signs ballot measure change into law

(AP) – A bill changing rules for qualifying questions for the ballot, which prompted concerns about interference with Nevadans’ constitutional rights, has been signed into law without comment by Gov. Jim Gibbons.

Critics of SB212 said it’s favored by interest groups fearful of the initiative process, and its vague wording could lead to more obstacles for citizens trying to petition for change.

SB212 requires petitioners seeking a ballot spot to get a minimum number of signatures in each of Nevada’s four congressional districts. The congressional district standard has passed constitutional muster in recent court rulings because such districts have roughly equal numbers of voters.

But the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada said questions remain because key provisions of the bill expire in mid-2011, leaving behind some undefined wording on “petition districts.”

Gibbons also signed:

• AB148, a worker safety measure that stems from the deaths of 12 workers at Las Vegas Strip construction sites over an 18-month period. The bill requires 10 hours of safety training for employees and 30 hours of safety training for supervisors.

• SB427, which tighten benefits for new employees and retirees and changes rules collective bargaining on pay and benefits.

• AB18, authorizing up to $100 million in bonds to pay for environmental improvement projects at Lake Tahoe over the next 10 years.

• AB46, stepping up state record-keeping to help keep guns away from the mentally ill. Court records on competency, insanity pleas, admissions to mental health facilities or appointments of guardians will go to the state’s central repository for crime records.

• AB492, requiring firms that get tax abatements to verify they created jobs and benefits for Nevadans.

• SB264, which calls for a study to examine “home rule” issues during the interim between legislative sessions.

• SB412, changing the salary structure in the state Agency for Nuclear Projects which is fighting federal plans for a radioactive waste dump at Yucca Mountain, so that staffers’ pay would be set by lawmakers.

• AB229, requiring “fire-safe” cigarettes that would self-extinguish if left unattended. Proponents say cigarette-related blazes are the nation’s leading cause of fire deaths in homes.

• AB564, which authorizes the state Public Works Board to issue up to $144 million in bonds for capital improvement projects.

• SB188, encouraging development of solar hot water heating systems through a demonstration project.

• SB267, a plan to ensure open meeting laws are followed by government agencies when they revise their regulations.

• SB382, which tries to fix hospital funding problems by changing the way funds are distributed to hospitals that care for a “disproportionate share” of people who can’t pay for their care.