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Tuesday, June 18, 2024 at 9:04 PM

Legislative Update

Legislative Update

As the 82nd Legislative Session rolls into the near halfway point, hundreds of bill drafts became bills this week. On Monday, the Assembly added about 14 new bills and the Senate added about 30. Among the bills introduced this week, one that will test the strength of the majority party to override a Governor Veto is SB 227 sponsored by Democratic legislators Senator Pat Spearman and Assemblywoman Cecilia González. Senator Spearman revisited her experiences in 1969 as a black girl growing up in Alabama to make the case for this legislation that loosely defines hate symbols and hate speech that may cause someone to feel “intimidated.” In her opening remarks, Sen. Spearman noted that “this bill creates the crime of intimidation.”

Per the Legislative Counsel’s Digest:

Section 1 of this bill defines the term “symbol of hate” to mean a symbol, image, or object that expresses animus on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, disability, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, or gender identity or expression. Section 1 provides that a person who etches, paints, draws, or otherwise places or displays a symbol of hate on public property or in plain view of the public with the intent to cause a person to feel threatened or intimidated, deprive a person of any constitutional right or retaliate against a person for exercising any such right is guilty of the crime of intimidation. Section 1 makes the crime of intimidation punishable as a misdemeanor for the first offense, a category E felony for the second offense, and a category D felony for any subsequent offense.

Section 10 of SB227 specifically targets juveniles. Senator Spearman noted that, with the help of this bill, “we must teach children not to hate.” Section 10 of this bill requires a juvenile court to:

(1) order the suspension of the driver’s license of the 19 child; or (2) if the child does not possess a driver’s license, prohibit the child from applying for a driver’s license for a period of time. With limited exception, section 10 also requires the juvenile court to order the child to participate in a program designed to reduce prejudice and promote empathy and respect for diversity.

 

Senators on the committee asked a variety of questions highlighting symbols that could be perceived as intimidating. Republican Senators Jeff Stone and Ira Hanson mentioned that displaying an American flag or Israeli lapel pin could be intimidating to some and therefore subject to a lawsuit. Senator Hanson also noted that his belief in traditional marriage is intimidating to some, and his values could be targeted by the passage of this legislation.

 

Senator Spearman, an ordained minister, promised future amendments working with their “partners” to “tighten up the language.” One constituent, who testified in opposition to the legislation, keenly observed that there weren’t any Christian organizations listed as partners.

 

Meanwhile, in yet another test of his authority as governor, Lombardo issued an Executive Order concerning energy in Nevada. His state energy policy objectives for the next decade include a multi-faceted approach to include solar, wind, geothermal, hydropower, natural gas, hydrogen, and energy storage. The order also highlights energy policies that will ensure Nevadans and businesses will have diverse energy options including gas and electric.

 

Due to the bipartisan passage of Senate Bill 358 in 2019, which established a goal to achieve a 50% renewal energy portfolio standard by 2030, Lombardo contends state energy policies “must pursue a balanced approach to energy use and development” and support “Nevada’s objectives of reliability, affordability, and sustainability.”

 

Section 2 of the order provides that Nevada will “develop sufficient in-state electric generation resources to ensure the needs of all Nevadans are met and ensure that Nevada has sufficient electric generation recourses to mitigate the risk of energy markets not having sufficient electric energy supplies during peak usage.”

 

Fallon’s Assemblyman Greg Koenig presented AB277, which would establish Rural Emergency Hospitals as a new type of medical facility licensed in NV and require the DHHS to issue certain Medicaid reimbursements to help these hospitals stay open for rural Nevadans. The Freshman legislator now has 5 primary sponsored bills and has co-sponsored another 32.

Fallon’s State Senator Robin Titus has primarily sponsored 49 bills and co-sponsored another 7.

 

 

 

 


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