Guinn signs 70 bills including public employee pay and benefits bills |

Guinn signs 70 bills including public employee pay and benefits bills

by Geoff Dornan, Appeal Capitol Bureau

Gov. Kenny Guinn on Tuesday signed 70 bills into law, including public employee pay and benefits legislation, anti-terrorism legislation and the federally mandated measure lowering the percent blood alcohol to 0.08 for motorists to be considered driving under the influence.

The DUI limit will drop from 0.10 percent to 0.08 Oct. 1. The level was ordered by the federal government which threatened to take highway fund money away from states that refuse to comply.

He also signed three measures important to public employees.

AB555 contains 2 percent pay raises for state workers in fiscal 2005. AB392 increases the amount of money employees get in longevity payments. Those with eight years service would begin at $150 a year extra. By the time they have 24 years service, the total annual payment would be $800, with $75 added for each year after that.

In addition, he signed AB544 which provides the cash needed to support the state’s employee and retiree group insurance for the coming two years.

Other signings:

— AB441 creates a Nevada Homeland Security Commission and allows state plans and records which might be useful to terrorists to be kept confidential. It also provides for continuation of state government in the wake of a terrorist event.

— AB250 increases penalties for criminal acts involving terrorist activity. That law also imposes the death penalty for a terrorist act which results in first-degree murder.

— SB216 creates an interim legislative committee to oversee the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and monitor Marlette Lake issues. Guinn also signed SB46, which provides for the issuance and expenditure of Tahoe bonds on environmental, recreational and other projects.

— SB503 raises the grade-point average a high school student must have to collect the Millennium Scholarship. It will increase in steps over the next four years from 3.0 to 3.25. The bill also allows home-school students to participate in organized high school sports at the school they would otherwise be attending if they wish.

— AB148 orders an audit of the university system.

— AB353 allows university and community college students in the state to control what personal information is released to commercial and nonprofit groups. That issue was raised when lawmakers learned student information was being sold to credit card companies. Students can now allow their information to be released, restrict it to just nonprofit, non-commercial groups or block its release entirely.

— AB23 provides pay raises for county elected officials. Those officials haven’t had a pay hike since 1995. The increases of more than 20 percent apply to sheriffs, district attorneys, clerks, recorders, treasurers, assessors and public administrators.

They specifically do not apply to elected county commissions. Instead, AB23 gives those officials the power to raise their own pay.