Nevada lawmakers who return to work Monday are kicking off what Democratic leaders are calling Children’s Week, where they’ll take up bills focused on early child education and conversion therapy for LGBT youth. But the agenda is broader than just that. Here’s what to look for on Monday:
No conversion therapy for LGBT youth
Mental health professionals would be banned from providing “conversion therapy” to minors under SB201, which is sponsored by Democratic Sen. David Parks. The therapy is aimed at changing or reducing a person’s same-sex attraction, and would be prohibited to people under the age of 18 even if they, or their parents, wanted it. Parks sponsored a similar bill in 2015 that passed the Senate, but died in the Assembly without getting a hearing. Watch at the 8 a.m. meeting of the Senate Commerce, Labor and Energy Committee as Parks tries again.
Stalking victims can break leases early
Victims of stalking, sexual assault or harassment could break their leases early under AB247. The bill, backed by Democratic Assemblyman Steve Yeager, would bar landlords from retaliating against someone who breaks a lease because they’ve been a victim of such a crime. The measure would expand an existing law passed in 2013 that allows people to break their lease if they’ve been a victim of domestic violence. Watch at 1:30 p.m. in the Assembly Commerce and Labor Committee meeting.
Banning ivory sales (and more)
The Endangered Species Act and the African Elephant Conservation Act already ban importing, exporting and selling certain items made of certain animal products. SB194, which aims to cut poaching, would explicitly ban people from buying or selling any items made of an animal part or byproduct from an elephant, rhinoceros, whale, tiger, lion, leopard, cheetah, jaguar, pangolin, sea turtle, shark, ray, mammoth, narwhal, walrus or hippopotamus. It makes exceptions for sales that involve law enforcement, antiques, musical instruments, knives and firearms and scientific or educational institutions. Denis sponsored a similar bill in 2015 that faced opposition from gun rights groups, who said it could reduce the value of antique guns and knives embedded with ivory. The measure got a hearing last session but died in committee. Watch the hearing on the new bill at 8 a.m. in the Senate Commerce, Labor and Energy Committee.
Need-based aid for students with lighter course load
Students could tap into the need-based Silver State Opportunity Grant even if they have a lighter college course load under AB188. The bill, sponsored by Democratic Assemblywoman Olivia Diaz, would make students eligible for the grant if they’re taking as few as nine credits in a semester. Current recipients must take at least 15 credits to qualify — a provision aimed at getting students to take a heavier course load because they’re more likely to finish college if they do that. But critics say the high bar disqualifies students who are trying to work or take care of their relatives and need the grant the most. Watch at the 3:15 p.m. Assembly Education Committee meeting.
After scandals, guardianship revisited
In the wake of numerous recent scandals involving rampant fraud and abuse of Nevada’s guardianship program, Nevada Democrat Mike Sprinkle is pushing to revise that area of state law. AB150 would raise the licensing requirements around private-professional guardianships — individuals given power to make financial or health decisions for the mentally ill, elderly or any otherwise incapacitated person. The proposed legislation would do away with Nevada’s current law allowing “any interested person” to petition for guardianship over a ward and instead require any private-professional guardians to be licensed by the Center for Guardianship Certification. It would also require that all employees of a private-professional guardianship business submit fingerprints to the FBI every five years.
Watch the hearing at the 1:30 p.m. Assembly Commerce and Labor Committee meeting.
Rep. Amodei addresses the Legislature
Republican Rep. Mark Amodei will address lawmakers at 5 p.m. on Monday. His is the first in a series of planned visits from members of Nevada’s congressional delegation, who give speeches to lawmakers each session. Amodei represents the Republican-leaning 2nd Congressional District that includes much of Northern Nevada.