2019 Nevada Legislative Session
Update #20

Carson City, Nevada
June 1, 2019


Today is the 118th day of the 120-day session. The end is near !!

Here is a summary of our bills that have crossed the finish line, are on their way to the Governor's office or outright died in the process:

ASSEMBLY BILLS

Assembly Bill (SB) 102. This sought an enhanced criminal penalty for those who harm or kill the spouse or a child of a peace officer, firefighter or EMT due to their relationship to the peace officer, firefighter or EMT. IT WAS SIGNED BY THE GOVERNOR BEFORE A CEREMONIAL SIGNING ON MAY 29, 2019 and it becomes effective on October 1, 2019.

Assembly Bill (AB) 143. This is our bill to place DPS Capitol Police where they belong as DPS-II officers for purposes of compensation and benefits. The bill passed its first Committee with full bipartisan support and was referred to the Assembly Ways and Means Committee. Committee Chairwoman Maggie Carlton refused to give the bill a hearing before her money committee, claiming that a raise to Capitol Police through this bill will open a floodgate of similar wage increase requests by other state agencies, thus increasing the fiscal notes to the state. This is complete bullshit but is consistent with this session's agenda of making everything about education and the pet projects of the legislators, as opposed to finding ways to fund our state law enforcement. This is not a pay raise bill; it is a reclassification bill that would result in a pay raise for Capitol Police. No other groups are trying to reclassify in order to get a pay raise so there would be no floodgates to open. Unfortunately, Assemblywoman Carlton has a long history of only wanting to give raises to everyone, not just a select few, or to no one at all. In other words, she would rather the entire village starve, rather than give some food to small groups who need it the most !! Due to Assemblywoman Carlton's stranglehold on Ways and Means, she essentially killed the bill by not allowing a hearing before her committee.

During a discussion last Saturday with Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson about our need for a money hearing on this bill, he became agitated, reminded me how much they have given to education, and said "You know, Labor isn't happy with you because all you do is ask for pay raises for your people." I was astonished and replied, "Mr. Speaker, that's my job. State cops aren't treated very well in this building and that needs to change." I then followed up by checking his claims with our colleagues in Labor. Not surprisingly, no one stated they were unhappy with us for pushing a wage increase agenda for our state law enforcement folks. In fact, they all know that state employees are low paid and they have often testified in support of our efforts in this session and past sessions. What do I make of Speaker Frierson's comment? I believe he either lied to me by making up a story to put me in my place and get me off a subject he can't defend, or he had a moment of confusion in which he was referring to the NHPA bills that have sought unworkable pay raises for a select group of officers at the expense of everything else. I thought he understood that we are not NHPA and we were not behind their ill-fated bills. However, the more I speak with others around the legislature, the more I am believing that some legislators are holding us accountable for NHPA's actions. We will certainly be following up with the Speaker and other legislators after the session has concluded.

Assembly Bill (AB) 183 . This bill requires state and local prisons, jails and detention facilities to be under the control of the state or local government and not by private entities. We supported this bill. IT WAS SIGNED BY THE GOVERNOR on May 28, 2019 and it becomes effective on July 1, 2019 (some provisions become effective July 1, 2022) !!!

A ssembly Bill (AB) 260. Current law requires confidentiality among peer support counselors and their public safety personnel. This bill removes the authorization of a court to issue an order or subpoena requiring the disclosure of confidential communications made during such a peer support counseling sessions. In other words, if it's confidential, it remains confidential. We supported this bill. IT WAS SIGNED BY THE GOVERNOR ON MAY 29, 2019 and became effective on that date !!!

Assembly Bill (AB) 291 . This bill is sponsored by Assemblywoman Sandra Jauregui and originally sought to prohibit devices attached to semiautomatic firearms (generally, bump stocks) that approximate the rate of fire of a machine gun (exempting law enforcement and military carrying out official duties); it sought to reduce the allowable concentration of alcohol in the blood to possess any firearm from .10% to .08%; and it originally sought to repeal state preemption of the authority over counties, cities and towns regarding firearms purchases, possession, transfers, registration, etc. (in other words, counties, cities and towns would have the authority over these issues and could regulate as they see fit). The bill underwent extensive amendments that clarified the semiautomatic firearm parts that were to be included in the bill, and while it maintained state preemption, the amendments allowed County Commissions to enact ordinances that are more stringent than state law. We opposed this bill, although we did support the reduction from .10% to .08% alcohol concentration issue. The amended bill passed out of the Assembly Judiciary Committee and from the Assembly floor by a vote of 28-13 (1 absence). It essentially died by not timely passing the Senate Committee but the powers-that-be resurrected the bill by granting it a waiver from the rules. The bill was then amended on May 29, 2019 to remove full state preemption but replaced it with what is known as a "red flag" law -- the ability of law enforcement or a family member to seek an ex parte Court order that removes weapons from a person's possession or prohibits them from acquiring weapons upon a showing that they are a danger to themselves or others. It also added a provision that makes it a criminal offense to store weapons in a way that allows a child to access them. The bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 30, 2019 and passed the Senate floor on May 31, 2019. It will proceed to the Assembly for concurrence in the Senate's amendments and will then be sent to the Governor to be signed.

Assembly Bill (AB) 382 . This bill, proposed by a group known as the Nevada Highway Patrol Association, would require an even-numbered year compensation survey for all DPS officers and dispatchers only . Th e bill was amended to remove certain data that was to be reported. It was later again amended again to add Corrections officers. W e testified in full support of the bill because we are committed to supporting any reasonable legislation that seeks to improve the wages, benefits and working conditions of our state law enforcement folks, no matter who proposed the bill. The amended bill passed out of its Committee and was referred to the Assembly Ways and Means Committee on April 22, 2019. The bill never received a money hearing and it will die at the end of the session.

Assembly Bill (AB) 397. This bill is sponsored by Assemblywoman Teresa Benitez-Thompson and au thorizes the Nevada Equal Rights Commission to present an accusation of an unlawful employment discrimination against a district, county, township or municipal officer (including elected officials) to the grand jury of a county if the discriminatory practice is severe and pervasive such that removal from office is appropriate. It also requires that any damages assessed against an elected official or district, county, township or municipal officer be paid in his or her personal capacity. We fully support this bill as it may afford us an opportunity to rid ourselves of a certain elected law enforcement figure in norther Nevada who has perpetrated harassment and discriminatory activities for years without retribution. The bill passed the Senate floor unanimously on May 23, 2019 and was enrolled on May 27, 2019. IT WILL BE SOON BE DELIVERED TO THE GOVERNOR FOR SIGNING !!!

Assembly Bill (AB) 443. This bill is proposed by the Assembly Committee on Taxation and sought to remove the expiration date (aka "sunset clause") that was placed on the "More Cops" law enacted in 2005. It was set to expire on October 1, 2025. The sales and use tax money that is devoted to More Cops is vital to the continued police operations in Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Henderson, Boulder City and Mesquite. Allowing it to expire would have negative effects on those operations. This bill removes that deadline and allows the tax contributions of the More Cops funds to continue past the expiration date. The bill received some amendments to hold these organizations responsible if they do not properly applying the funds where the y were intended. The bill passed through its committees and the Assembly floor. The bill passed the Senate floor unanimously and was destined to be sent to the Governor for signing. However, more roadblocks were created, this time by the Senate and Assembly leadership itself, when they submitted a last minute bill (SB 551) to divert money from the More Cops funds to education and hiring more school police officers. This was their attempt to pay back nearly $30 million they took from school safety funding to pay for other education matters -- by taking money from the More Cops funds that were approved by the voters in 2005. Can you say "Rob Peter to pay Paul?" SB 551 had a hearing in front of a packed house on Tuesday night, May 28, 2019. In the meantime, AB 443 sits on the Assembly floor awaiting passage while others use it as a pawn in their other political agendas.

Assembly Bill (AB) 492. This bill expands compensation for post traumatic stress disorders suffered by first responders, including dispatchers, crime scene investigators and coroners, and expands upon the types of stressful events that can be compensable in workers compensation claims. A few language changes were made to strengthen the bill and we fully support it. It passed out of its Committee with amendments, passed from the Assembly floor and passed from the Assembly floor by a vote of 36-5 (1 absence). It was heard before the Senate Committee on Commerce and Labor and immediately placed on work session and passed out of the Committee the same day. It finally passed the Senate floor on May 28, 2019 by a vote of 19-0 (2 absences). The Assembly concurred in the Senate's amendments. IT WILL SOON BE DELIVERED TO THE GOVERNOR FOR SIGNING !!!

SENATE BILLS

Senate Bill (SB) 111 . This bill revises the percentage of the employer's budgeted ending fund balance that is excluded from collective bargaining negotiations from the current 25% to 16.67%. The bill was referred to the Senate Finance Committee where it languished for many weeks without any movement. We finally presented the bill on May 30, 2019. It passed the Committee and passed the full Senate floor the same day. Sprinting to the finish line, the bill was heard by the Assembly Government Affairs Committee on May 31, 2019 where it then passed the Committee and was immediately referred to the Assembly floor. It passed the Assembly floor on May 31, 2019 along party lines. IT WILL SOON BE DELIVERED TO THE GOVERNOR FOR SIGNING !!!

Senate Bill (SB) 135 . This is the bill to provide collective bargaining to all state employees . It is sponsored by Senator David Parks and was assigned to the Senate Government Affairs Committee. The bill passed out of its Committee as amended and was then referred to the Senate Finance Committee. The bill collected dust for many weeks before finally getting a hearing on May 29, 2019. T his morning (Saturday), the bill passed the Senate Finance Committee along party lines and it will now proceed to the Senate floor for passage. The bill must then be passed by the full Assembly floor before it goes to the Governor for signing.

Senate Bill (SB) 153. This bill is sponsored by Senator David Parks and was assigned to the Senate Committee on Government Affairs. This is our bill to fully repeal SB 241 from the 2015 legislative session and thus return important union benefits like evergreen clauses, union leave, and other things. We fully support this bill. SB 153 passed out of its Committee and was referred to the Senate Finance Committee. The bill was referred to the Senate Finance Committee where it languished for many weeks without any movement. We finally presented the bill on May 30, 2019. It passed the Committee and passed the full Senate floor the same day. The bill was heard by the Assembly Government Affairs Committee on May 31, 2019 where it passed the Committee and was immediately referred to the Assembly floor. It passed the Assembly floor later on May 31, 2019. IT WILL SOON BE DELIVERED TO THE GOVERNOR FOR SIGNING !!!

Senate Bill (SB) 158. This is our bill sponsored by Senator Dallas Harris and is assigned to the Senate Government Affairs Committee. It seeks to amend the definition of "supervisory employee" by excluding firefighters and certain peace officers under a paramilitary employment structure. It passed out of its Committee with a few amendments. It was passed from the Senate floor by a vote of 21-0 and was presented by us before the Assembly Government Affairs Committee on May 6, 2019. It passed its work session unanimously on May 14, 2019. It passed the full Assembly floor on May 16, 2019 by a vote of 39-0 (2 absences). IT WAS SIGNED BY THE GOVERNOR on May 21, 2019 and it becomes effective on July 1, 2019. !!!

Senate Bill (SB) 182 . Sponsored by Senator David Parks before the Senate Committee on Government Affairs, this bill seeks to require Tribal police officers to be certified equivalent to POST Category I officers before they can exercise the powers of a police officer. The bill requires that the authority of a Tribal officer is limited within the boundaries of the Indian property unless a law enforcement agency and the Indian tribe execute an Interlocal agreement to allow the Tribal officer to perform duties outside of the Tribal property. An amendment offered by Las Vegas Metro PD requires the County Sheriff in the jurisdiction where the Tribal police resides to enter into that agreement. We testified in support of this bill and its proposed amendment. The bill passed out of its Committee, passed from the Senate floor by a vote of 21-0 and was passed by the Assembly Government Affairs Committee on Thursday, May14, 2019. It was passed off the Assembly floor on May 16, 2019 by a vote of 39-0 (2 absences). IT WAS SIGNED BY THE GOVERNOR on May 21, 2019 and it becomes effective on July 1, 2019 !!!

Senate Bill (SB) 215. Under existing law, cancer which results in temporary disability, permanent disability or death is an occupational disease and compensable as such if the cancer develops or manifests itself out of the course of employment of a person who for 5 years or more has been employed as a full-time firefighter or has been acting as a volunteer firefighter, and during the course of the employment was exposed to a known carcinogen that is reasonably associated with the disabling cancer. This bill provides that such disabling cancer is an occupational disease and conclusively compensable as such if the cancer develops or manifests itself out of and in the course of employment of a person who for 2 years or more, has been employed as a police officer, arson investigator or full-time firefighter. This bill also eliminates the list of substances which are deemed to be known carcinogens, among other things. We support this bill, although in order to save the bill from escalating fiscal notes, we agreed to remove police officers from the coverage. Law enforcement is already covered under NRS 617 statutes, so there won't be a negative consequence. T he bill passed out of its Committee and was referred to the Senate Finance Committee. A money committee hearing was held and the bill passed the Committee on May 29, 2019. We are waiting for it to pass the Senate floor (hopefully today). It will then go to the Assembly Commerce and Labor Committee for a hearing, followed by a passing vote in the Committee, followed by passage on the Assembly floor -- all before Monday night at midnight. Piece of cake !!

Senate Bill (SB) 242. This bill is sponsored by Senator Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro and was assigned to the Senate Government Affairs Committee. It amends NRS 289 (Peace Officers Bill of Rights) to strengthen officer rights. It was admittedly overbroad as written and it was amended in several respects. However, it's still a good bill for law enforcement and it was passed out of its first Committee with amendments . We further amended the bill to define "law enforcement agency" so there can be no issue with whether peace officer rights apply to all of our represented agencies. It passed from the Senate floor by a vote of 21-0 and then passed the Assembly Government Affairs Committee. It passed the Assembly floor and was concurred by the Senate. IT WAS DELIVERED TO THE GOVERNOR ON MAY 30, 2019 FOR SIGNING !!! 

Senate Bill (SB) 272. This was another bill proposed by a group known as the Nevada Highway Patrol Association. The bill was assigned to the Senate Government Affairs Committee. This bill originally attempted to have the state pay 100% of the PERS contributions of all DPS officers (no one else). The total fiscal notes on that original bill exceeded $240 million (including PERS and DPS), dooming it from the start (not to mention it would have been contrary to Nevada District Court and 9th Circuit caselaw). However, as the bill moved toward its final days, the sponsor drastically amended the bill to seek a simple pay raise for DPS officers and dispatchers in the amount of 50% of the total PERS contribution rate in fiscal year 2018-19 for employers . We testified in support of the amended bill since we fully support any reasonable effort to increase wages and benefits for state law enforcement. The amended bill passed out of its Committee and was referred to the Senate Finance Committee. The amended bill never received a hearing before the Senate Finance Committee and it will die at the end of the session.

Senate Bill (SB) 322. This is our bill to obtain an across the board 10% pay increase for all state law enforcement rank and file and first line supervisors; 5% for all higher ranks; and a 5% differential between first line supervisors and the topped out officers whom they supervise. The bill is sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro and was assigned to the Senate Committee on Commerce and Labor. The bill originally contained a huge expansion of the definition of "police officer" in the heart/lung statutes that was not intended to be in this bill. Upon presenting the bill, we immediately removed that unintended section from the bill, thus eliminating one major obstacle to its passage . The bill passed out of its Committee and was referred to the Senate Finance Committee. The bill was the only state law enforcement pay bill to be presented before the Senate Finance Committee, which heard it on May 22, 2019. We needed the Finance Committee to give us a "work session" so the Committee could pass the bill, amend the bill or deny the bill. Despite repeated efforts to have a work session, the Committee Chairwoman, Senator Joyce Woodhouse, refused to give a work session and the bill (in its current form), essentially died. We are now having additional discussions to see if we can use the bill to somehow increase the 3% pay increase for all state employees that is offered in Assembly Bill 542.

Senate Bill (SB) 459. This bill is both sponsored by and assigned to the Senate Government Affairs Committee. It will provide collective bargaining to certain members of the state's Executive Department -- another historic bill in Nevada. It passed out of its Committee on April 10, 2019. It was referred to the Senate Finance Committee and we are still awaitin g a hearing before Senate Finance Committee with time running out.

Stay tuned for a follow-up newsletter after sine die !

If you have any questions or wish to reach me directly at any time, contact me on my cell phone at (702) 595-0683 or through my e-mail at rpmccann@hotmail.com. 

As always, be safe. 

Rick McCann
NAPSO Executive Director
Nevada Law Enforcement Coalition