2-Minute Preview: Pink taxes, pot taxes, NSHE reform, DMV renewal penalties on tap at the Legislature

The halfway mark is finally here: It is day 60 of the 2017 legislative session and, with only a little more than a week until the first bill passage deadline, committees are rushing to hear as many bills as possible.

Lawmakers today will consider legislation regulating ride-sharing companies, limiting late renewal penalties at the Department of Motor Vehicles and providing time off for survivors of domestic violence, among other measures.

Read here for highlights of what to watch today:

NSHE reform

A pair of Nevada Democrats are proposing a slew of major changes to the state’s higher education system of governance.

AB390, which is sponsored by Assemblyman Elliot Anderson and Sen. Joyce Woodhouse, would create protections for state workers who share information with state lawmakers, and would prohibit state employers from taking actions against employees who attempt to communicate with members of the Legislature. It would also add making false or misleading statements to lawmakers  to the list of “improper governmental actions” that can be taken by state workers.

The measure would also create an annual $20,000 salary for individual members of the board of regents, replacing their current salary of $80 per meeting. It would also create a commission charged with overseeing NSHE spending and potential areas for savings.

Watch the hearing on AB390 at 8 a.m. in the Assembly Government Affairs committee.

Limiting late renewal penalties at the DMV

Republican Sen. James Settelmeyer wants to limit penalties for those who fail to re-register their vehicles and renew their driver’s licenses on time.

Settelmeyer’s bill, SB339, would limit the penalties on delinquent or late vehicle registration to one-half of the registration fee. It also limits penalties on late payments of registration fees and governmental services taxes on a fleet of vehicles for each vehicle that exceeds a weight of 26,000 pounds to 50 percent of the unpaid fee.

The legislation would also require the Department of Motor Vehicles to adopt regulations that limit the reinstatement fee for a lapse in insurance coverage to no more than one-half of the registration fee. Currently, owners must pay $250 for a first offense, $500 for a second offense and $750 for a third or subsequent offense as a reinstatement fee.

And for those who fail to renew their driver’s licenses on time, the legislation would cap the penalties for renewing such licenses at one-half the fee to renew the license.

Watch the hearing on the legislation at 8 a.m. in the Senate Committee on Transportation.

Time off for survivors of domestic violence

Employers may soon be required to provide leave to employees who are victims of domestic violence or for an employee who has a family or household member who is a victim of domestic violence.

Legislation brought forward by Democratic Sen. Nicole Cannizzaro, SB361, would require that such employees are entitled to 30 days of leave during a 12-month period, with seven days of the leave to be paid and earned at a rate of 1 hour per 30 hours worked. Employees would be allowed to use the leave beginning on the 60th calendar day of employment.

Employers would be required to maintain a record of the use of those days of leave for a three-year period and make those records available to the labor commissioner.

The bill also prohibits the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation from disqualifying a person from receiving unemployment compensation benefits if an employee left his or her job to protect himself or herself or his or her family from domestic violence and if the person actively engaged to preserve their employment.

Watch the hearing on the bill at 1 p.m. in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

No more pink tax

Assemblywoman Sandra Jauregui’s bill seeking to ban on a so-called “pink tax” on feminine hygiene products is up for a hearing today.

The bill, AB402, seeks to exempt feminine hygiene products and diapers from the state’s sales and use tax. But because those taxes were enacted by a vote of the people, the legislation, if passed, would put the question on the 2018 ballot for voters to decide.

A similar version of the bill in the Senate, SB415 sponsored by Democratic Sen. Yvanna Cancela, was heard last week by the Senate Committee on Revenue and Economic Development and is up for a work session in committee today at 3:30 p.m. That bill only seeks to exempt feminine hygiene products, not diapers, from the taxes

Watch the hearing on the Assembly bill at 4 p.m. during the Assembly Taxation Committee.

Marijuana taxes

A panel of legislators are set to hear two major marijuana taxation bills, including a major budget item from the office of Gov. Brian Sandoval.

SB487 would impose a 10 percent excise tax on retail sales of recreational marijuana, and would direct half of the tax revenue to the county or city where the retail dispensary is located, 20 percent to a new account for mental health and substance abuse treatment and 30 percent to the budget account for K-12 schools. The measure would set limits on what the tax dollars could be used for, which includes law enforcement, mental health and speciality courts.

Similarly, SB508 would impose a 10 percent tax on retail marijuana sales, but would send the revenue to different budget accounts. The measure, which was introduced on behalf of the governor, would require 75 percent of tax proceeds go to the state budget account for K-12 school funding and the remaining quarter of revenue allocated to the state’s department on Public and Behavioral Health for management of medical marijuana establishments. Sandoval proposed the tax as a way to balance the proposed $8.1 billion two-year budget.

Watch the hearings on both measures at 3:30 p.m. in the Senate Committee on Revenue and Economic Development.