Things are heating up at the Nevada Legislature, and the Libertarian Party of Nevada is bringing you a front-row seat to the political pyre. We testified or sent in statements on ten different pieces of legislation this week - talk about busy!
Before I tell you what we were busy with this week, though, you should know what’s coming up! To share your opinion on any of these bills with the legislators and committees reviewing them, go here and type in the relevant bill number. It’ll send your message directly to the sponsors and co-sponsors. As some bills have more than ten sponsors, this is a great time-saver.
The biggest bills hitting the Legislature this week are…
AB237, which abolishes capital punishment in Nevada. We cannot endorse this measure strongly enough, and I will be there to testify in its favor on Wednesday morning, when it’s heard. The state should never have the power to end a person’s life.
A bundle of bills liberalizing the laws and regulations around nurses, physicians’ assistants, and other medical professionals: AB115, AB116, AB265, and AB284. As there is a shortage of doctors nationwide, including in Nevada, expanding the regulations on what nurses are allowed to do is a prudent choice for patient and doctor welfare. Allowing nurses and physician assistants to perform additional duties provides more access to health care for the people of Nevada - and it lets doctors focus on the most critical issues, where they’re really needed.
There’s also a related bill, SB354, which extends broader reciprocity to licensed medical professionals in Nevada, excluding accountants, physicians, osteopathic physicians, or certain real estate and mortgage professionals. May draw licensed professionals from other states to Nevada. Nurses and several other professionals already receive reciprocity, but this bill strikes narrow language and replaces it with broader language.
AB326 and AB291 would require the Division of Parole and Probation and the Division of Public Safety to fully substantiate and provide sources for information related to the defendant's offense in presentence reports, which are used by judges to decide the weight of a defendant's sentence after conviction. Given the weight that these reports carry in determining the course of a defendant’s life, justice requires that they be unimpeachably accurate. Hearsay or unsourced allegations would not be sufficient in a court of law and should not be sufficient in a report which determines a person’s fate.
SB415 makes feminine hygiene products tax-exempt, the way other medically necessary consumer products are. It’s a simple bill, but a good one.
And Senator Tick Segerblom is introducing SB329, a marijuana omnibus bill that legalizes medical marijuana research facilities, nonprofit medical marijuana dispensaries (what, we didn't have those?), and industrial hemp in Nevada. Medical research and industrial hemp could be major revenue generators for the state.
Last week, the Libertarian Party of Nevada…
AJR10, a joint resolution opposing further development at Yucca Mountain’s nuclear waste storage site. Our ideal solution would be the legalization of nuclear waste reprocessing for peaceful purposes. Short of this solution, however, the Libertarian Party of Nevada believes that the state should protect its citizens and serve their interests - and Nevadans do not want the country’s untouchable hazardous waste buried here.
SB199, which creates a new, local class of craft distilleries. We strongly support any liberalization of controlled substances as a matter of both economic freedom and individual autonomy. We therefore applaud Senator Settelmeyer for creating a new class of craft brewery with SB199. We believe it will result in economic growth for the state of Nevada and good spirits - in both senses of the term.
AJR2, altering the Nevada Constitution’s marriage provisions by changing “one man and one woman” to “couples, regardless of gender.” As with AB229, which removed similar provisions from NRS, we support this resolution wholeheartedly. The Libertarian Party has been a strong defender of same-sex marriage for decades.
AB301, protecting the privacy of first responders’ peer counseling sessions. This bill applies not only to police, but to firefighters, EMTs, and other emergency responders. These individuals frequently encounter mentally and emotionally traumatic situations in the line of duty, but their chain of command requires them to tell their superior officers what they saw or heard during peer counseling if so ordered. By protecting their privacy during therapy, this bill helps relax the culture of machismo and warrior mentality that are at the heart of so much excessive use of force. A healthy first responder serves their community better - and this bill is good for more than cops.
SB302, providing an early start for recreational marijuana sales preventing black markets. As it’s currently legal to use and buy recreational marijuana but not to sell it, both tourists and Nevadans find themselves in a legal pothole in the process. Accelerating the timeline for selling is critical to completing the process of legalization, and we therefore supported SB302.
SB232, the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights - which sounds nice at first, but it includes minimum wage provisions, and may drive employers to look for undocumented workers rather than dealing with the cumbersome bureaucracy of enforced labor contracts. We’re categorically opposed to increases in the minimum wage and we’re concerned that this document would lead those looking for domestic workers onto the black market, where vulnerable undocumented immigrants may - especially under the current federal government - have no recourse for justice should they be abused.
AB274, the National Popular Vote Compact. While we’re not necessarily opposed to eliminating the Electoral College, we believe that the National Popular Vote Compact is an imperfect measure with uncertainty surrounding its implementation and enforceability. We’d prefer proportional allocation of electors.
AB269, which attempts to tax and regulate nicotine-containing vapor products. Given that these products are substantially safer - they don’t contain tar or the other volatile organic compounds found in combustible cigarettes. They’re also frequently used by people trying to quit smoking or decrease their nicotine consumption. By taxing and regulating a harm-reduction technology like vaping, the state removes an incentive for people to switch - and treats vapor products as equivalent in health risk to combustible cigarettes, a conclusion not supported by the evidence.
AB260, which would increase penalties on the customers of escorts and sex workers under the pretense of fighting human trafficking. While we support measures that genuinely punish human trafficking, as we agree with the sponsors that it's a serious issue and a fundamental violation of human rights, we believe that AB260 does not target traffickers or trafficking effectively and merely further criminalizes consensual sex work. We trust men, women, and trans people to decide for themselves what to do with their bodies, and refuse to assume that all sex work is coerced. AB260 would sweep up consenting individuals - and it is not the government’s role to tell consenting individuals what they can and cannot do with their bodies.
AB132, which would increase penalties for those striking volunteer or civilian law enforcement. First, we believe this bill is inequitable - why is striking a representative of the law a greater offense than striking a civilian? Second, we are concerned that fear of increased penalties will decrease cooperation with law enforcement and foment an atmosphere of mistrust. This tension between officers and communities they serve and protect make both less safe.
That’s it for this week!
Until next time,