2-Minute Preview: self-driving Ubers, unions and Golden Knight license plates

Week 7 of the Nevada Legislature is wrapping up, with legislators scheduled to hold hearings on topics ranging from self-driving Uber and Lyft vehicles to specialty license plates for the Las Vegas Golden Knights.

Here’s what to watch today:

Cracking down on seatbelt scofflaws

It’ll be easier to get a ticket for not wearing a seatbelt under SB288. Existing law allows officers to cite people for not buckling up but only if that’s discovered when the vehicle is stopped or if the officer is arresting the person for another offense. The bill, backed by Democratic Sen. David Parks and others, would allow officers to ticket scofflaws even if the seat belt is their only violation.

Watch the discussion at the 8:30 a.m. Senate Transportation Committee meeting.

Authorizing self-driving Ubers and Lyfts

The Governor’s Office of Economic Development is backing a bill it hopes will help the state bring self-driving cars to Nevada. The state was the first to legally allow testing of autonomous vehicles on state roads when the Legislature passed a bill in 2011, but the law requires a human operator who is able to take immediate control of the car if the self-driving technology fails.

Under the new proposal, called AB69, vehicles could drive themselves on Nevada roads without human operators or with just passengers inside. The technology is already in use in places like Pittsburgh, where self-driving Ubers were picking up passengers in September but had a “safety driver” behind the wheel to take over in bad weather or other adverse conditions.

Tune in at the 3:15 p.m. Assembly Transportation Committee.

Return of the unions

After Republicans in the 2015 session pushed through several collective bargaining changes, Nevada Democrats are back with several bills that roll back and give more preference to collectively bargained public employee unions.

Democratic Assemblyman Richard Carrillo is the primary sponsor of AB271, which makes a number of changes for public employee unions including negotiations with employers and leave for union employees. The bill would clarify that leave provided to an employee for union duties or services must be a mandatory subject of collective bargaining agreements, and create a “rebuttable presumption” that the full cost of leave for a union employee is provided through other offsets or concessions made by the union.

It would also change the process when local government employers and employee unions cannot come to an agreement. Current law allows either group to bring disputes to an impartial fact-finder for a final binding decision or to form a panel to further consider the fact-finder's determination. The bill would remove the ability to form a panel, and make any independent fact-finder decision binding and final.

Watch the hearing on AB271 in the Assembly Government Affairs Committee at 8:30 a.m.

Golden Knights license plates

Without having played an NHL game or signed a player, Nevada state officials want drivers to be able to show their fandom for the state’s first major professional sports team — the Las Vegas Golden Knights.

Legislators will hear the first details of SB283 on Thursday, which is primarily sponsored by Democratic Sen. Kelvin Atkinson and requires the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles to work with the team to design and issue speciality license plates that indicate support for the team, which is scheduled to begin play in the 2017-18 NHL season. The bill also exempts Golden Knights plates from some existing limitations like approval from a state commission, and a limit on the number of plates that can be issued.

Watch the hearing on the bill at 8:30 a.m. in the Senate Transportation Committee.