Legislative Briefly | NevadaAppeal.com

Legislative Briefly

Tougher rules for abusive employers

Legislation to toughen rules on abusive employers was introduced in the Assembly on Friday.

AB166 prohibits employers from subjecting any employee to abusive conduct and makes it unlawful to discriminate against an employee for any physical characteristics.

AB166 would require a court to award damages, back pay and attorney’s fees under the federal Civil Rights Act for violations.

The bill was referred to the Committee on Commerce and Labor for study.

Bill would expand Rainy Day Fund

The Assembly is considering legislation that would increase state deposits to the Rainy Day Fund and raise the maximum amount that could be put into that emergency fund.

AB165, introduced Friday, would require the controller to put an additional 1 percent of the total anticipated revenue projected by the Economic Forum into the fund. That is above the current requirements that 40 percent of remaining cash in the General Fund go to the Rainy Day Fund at the end of each fiscal year.

The bill, which will be studied by the Ways and Means Committee, also raises the maximum balance that can be held in the fund from 15 to 20 percent of total appropriations during any fiscal year.

Lawmakers have been discussing the need to increase the state’s emergency fund since the budget crisis began to develop. The existing fund was swept of $267 million to ease the fiscal 2007 budget shortfall.

Acupuncture would be added to insurance

A second piece of legislation was introduced in the Assembly on Friday, adding to the coverage health plans must provide in Nevada.

AB167 would require insurance plans to provide coverage for acupuncture treatments.

Earlier in the week, a bill was introduced that would mandate coverage for autism treatments.

AB167 would take effect Oct. 1. Like the autism measure, it exempts the state Medicaid program from having to cover acupuncture. The measure was referred to the committee on Commerce and Labor for review.

DMV bill requires thumbprints for ID

The Department of Motor Vehicles would collect the thumbprints of people seeking driver licenses and ID cards under a bill introduced in the Assembly Friday.

AB170 would mandate the department collect and keep a database of right-hand thumbprints for all people issued licenses and use that print to confirm the identity of people seeking renewal of their card.

The measure was referred to the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee for study.

Prosecutors want expanded power

Legislation expanding prosecutors’ ability to make a deal with accused drug traffickers has been introduced in the Assembly.

Current law allows prosecutors and law enforcement to offer a deal to defendants who can provide “substantial assistance” in the prosecution of drug crimes. They have used it often to “work up the ladder” to the large scale traffickers.

But law enforcement officials say current law only allows them to deal for information on the drug cases the low-level defendant is involved in. They argue some of these defendants have good information about other crimes not related to their own.

AB168 would allow them to deal with defendants who can give this valuable information.

“Nevada Appeal News Service