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Sandoval completes action on passed bills

Matt Woolbright
The Associated Press

Gov. Brian Sandoval finished making decisions on bills approved by the 2013 Legislature on Thursday, less than 10 days after lawmakers left the capitol.

The Republican governor signed 11 bills and vetoed three others to conclude the business of the session.

In the final count, 558 bills from the 77th Legislature were passed into Silver State law. Sandoval vetoed 17 measures approved by lawmakers.

Two of the notable vetoed bills included one that would have mandated universal background checks on gun purchases, and another to enact ward-based voting in Reno.

Among the key bills signed into law was a measure allowing Clark County commissioners to raise the sales and use tax to help fund expanding police departments in the state’s most populated county.

In addition to the police tax bill, legislators passed measures dealing with class-size reduction, charter schools, tax abatements for new businesses and appropriating $2 million for the Gov. Guinn Millennium Scholarship fund during the extra session.

Another bill the governor approved Thursday grants casinos immunity from taxation on complimentary meals and drinks — excluding alcoholic drinks. The bill was part of a settlement deal with casinos that had sued the state over a tax dispute.

Casino owners agreed to drop their lawsuit — something that could have cost the state at least $233 million — in return for lawmakers clarifying future complimentary meals are not subject to taxes. Because the size of the risk, lawmakers had little choice — a budget hole of that magnitude was unfeasible, Assembly Majority Leader William Horne, D-Las Vegas, said previously.

Late Wednesday, the governor signed another 33 bills, including one prohibiting health insurance providers from dissuading cancer patients from certain types of oral chemotherapy treatment by raising premiums in those areas.

Other proposals that became law at the same time included several appropriation bills that go hand-in-hand with the approved state budget, a bill allowing Clark County commissioners to raise the gas tax by 3 cents per gallon and another granting certain renewable energy tax abatements.

He also signed bills allowing medical marijuana dispensaries in the Silver State, one that continues about $675 million in business licenses, sales and payroll taxes for two more years and an additional appropriation of $5 million to the Millennium Scholarship.

Adding the $7 million approved by the Legislature and another $8 million for a settlement between large tobacco companies and the states, the Millennium Scholarship is safe financially through at least the 2017-2018 school year.