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Guns and collective bargaining among bills introduced

Three collective bargaining bills introduced

Assembly Bill 182, the third bill of the Nevada legislative session dealing with collective bargaining, was introduced Thursday by Randy Kirner, R-Reno. It is the most comprehensive bill addressing collective bargaining to be introduced so far this session.

It would clarify the rules that exclude supervisors from collective bargaining, prohibit using government funds to pay employees engaged in union activities, require employees to seek union deductions before they would be collected by a government entity, and make agreements retroactive to the date of the expiration of the previous contract.

It would also require a final contract offer to be made public, among other provisions.

On Tuesday, Sen. James Settelmeyer, R-Minden, introduced Senate Bill 168, which would establish a clear definition of what constitutes a fiscal emergency for a local government entity.

Determining that a fiscal emergency exists allows for agreements to be reopened so that government officials and union leaders can work together to respond to a budget shortfall, but there is no clear definition of what constitutes such an event, he said in a recent interview.

Right now, if a union disagrees that there is a fiscal crisis, elected officials are forced to impose layoffs or take other drastic actions rather than work collaboratively to address the concerns, Settelmeyer said.

Also introduced is Senate Bill 158, which would require local governments to post proposed labor agreements, any exhibits or other attachments to an agreement, on its website at least 10 days before an entity would take action on the agreement.

At least two other bill drafts addressing the issue are expected to be introduced this session.

Gov. Brian Sandoval in his State of the State address called for reforms to the collective bargaining process.

— Sean Whaley

Gun bill introduced in Nevada Senate

A sweeping gun bill was introduced in the Nevada Senate on Wednesday, seeking a wide range of legal changes from justifiable homicide to precluding people convicted of domestic violence from having firearms.

Senate Bill 175, introduced by Senate Majority Leader Michael Roberson, R-Henderson, also would loosen Nevada’s reciprocity laws with other states regarding concealed weapon permits and repeal a handgun registration requirement in Clark County, a local ordinance that has been in existence for more than six decades.

Further, it would establish “state control over the regulation of policies concerning firearms,” and allow anyone “adversely affected” by local ordinances or regulations that violate the measure to sue for damages.

The measure would make it illegal for anyone convicted of domestic violence, even a misdemeanor offense, from owning a gun. A violation would constitute a felony. It also would prohibit anyone under an extended protection order from acquiring a gun while the order is in effect.

Nevada currently recognizes concealed weapon permits issued by other states as long as their regulations are comparable to or more stringent than Nevada’s. At present, the Nevada Department of Public Safety maintains a list of similar states, which can only be included with the agreement of the Nevada Sheriffs and Chiefs Association.

SB175 would get rid of the list and says Nevada will recognize any other state’s concealed weapon permit. The bill also would expand the definition of justifiable homicide to include killing someone in defense of a motor vehicle or against anyone who intends to enter a vehicle to assault someone inside.

Sandra Chereb

Bill introduced to allow deadly self-defense in carjackings

A bill that would expand the definition of justifiable homicide to include those defending themselves in a carjacking type of situation was introduced in the Assembly on Tuesday.

Assembly Bill 171 is another in a growing list of firearms-related bills that will be considered in the GOP-controlled Nevada Legislature.

The bill would add the defense of a motor vehicle or in defense of someone who intends to enter a motor vehicle to assault someone to the definition of justifiable homicide.

Deadly force is justified in Nevada if a person believes that his or her life or safety, or the life or safety of another, is in jeopardy.

Assembly Bill 148 would allow those with concealed weapons permits to take their weapons onto the state’s college campuses was introduced Friday.

— Sean Whaley

Voter ID bill introduced in Senate

Voters would be required to show photo identification before casting a ballot under a bill introduced Tuesday in the Nevada Senate.

Under Senate Bill 169, sponsored by Sen. James Settelmeyer, R-Minden, and eight other Republican lawmakers, proof of identity would include a document or identity card issued by the state, federal government or recognized Indian tribe that contains a “recognizable photograph.”

It also would require the Department of Motor Vehicles to issue a voter identification card free of charge to anyone who lacks other proof.

Settelmeyer said requiring voter ID is “something my constituencies have been clamoring about for a long time.”

In the rural counties he represents, where everyone seems to know almost everyone else, Settelmeyer said his constituents “get upset” when a poll worker won’t look at their ID.

Democrats and other groups oppose the bill as obstructionist and unnecessary.

“We think it’s a discriminatory solution in search of a nonexistent problem,” said Tod Story, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada.

To be valid, identification could not have an expiration date beyond four years before an election.

The bill was referred to the Senate Finance Committee because of its undermined cost of providing voter identification cards to those who lack other acceptable forms for photo ID.

Nevada is one of 24 states that do not require documents at polling places to cast a ballot. If SB169 is enacted, the state would join seven others with strict photo ID requirements, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Under existing state law, voters must sign their names at their polling places. If the signatures don’t appear to match, voters can be asked to show ID. If they have none, they can fill out a provisional ballot.

Sandra Chereb

Bill making square dance official state dance heard

Poofy skirts swirled and gentlemen bowed Wednesday as square dancers entertained the Assembly Government Affairs Committee to urge support for a bill making the square dance Nevada’s official state dance.

Assemblywoman Robin Titus, R-Wellington, the prime sponsor of Assembly Bill 123, said the benefits of square dancing can last a lifetime and work wonders “for mind, body and soul.”

“A night of dancing can make a person forget they’ve had a bad day,” said Titus, a physician.

Ewan Gregory can attest to that. She began square dancing in 1962. Though she gave it up for quite a few years, she went back to twirling and do-si-doing after her husband died. Now just a few months shy of her 95th birthday, she still loves it.

“It keeps me busy,” she said, smiling and dressed in a striking pink outfit that she made herself.

Square dancing has been a tradition in the United States since colonial days, and President Ronald Reagan designated it as the nation’s official dance in the early 1980s.

Titus hopes Nevada will approve it in time for the 68th annual Silver State Square and Round Dance Festival held in Reno over Mother’s Day weekend

Sandra Chereb

Sandra Chereb and Sean Whaley cover Carson City for the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

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Fire destroys property, vehicles on Our Road

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RENDERING: Rhyolite Ridge gains formal county support

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