Legislature briefs | NevadaAppeal.com

Legislature briefs

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

AB166 prohibits employers from subjecting any employee to abuse conduct in a work environment and makes it unlawful to discriminate against an employee for any physical characteristics.

To put teeth into the law, 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 sponsored by Assemblyman Tick Segerblom of Las Vegas and referred to the Committee on Commerce and Labor for study.

The Assembly is considering legislation which 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 over and 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 necessity to increase the state’s emergency fund since the budget crisis began to develop more than a year ago. The existing fund was swept of $267 million to ease the fiscal 2007 budget shortfall but wasn’t sufficient to prevent cutbacks in agency programs.

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.

Like that proposal, 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.

The Department of Motor Vehicles would collect the thumbprints of people seeking drivers’ 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.

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 providing large quantities of illegal drugs.

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 valuable information about any other crimes they know about.