2007 Nevada Legislature starts fifth week

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CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - The fifth week of the 2007 Nevada
Legislature opens Monday with lawmakers reviewing the budget of the
official charged with overseeing Nevada elections and carrying out
various federally mandated election law reforms.

Secretary of State Ross Miller will appear before both Senate
Finance and Assembly Ways and Means to discuss his budget and the
impact of changes required by the federal Help America Vote Act.

Also Monday, Assembly Judiciary will look at AB83, which
increases penalties for crimes against homeless people. The bill
would include crimes against the homeless in "hate crime"
legislation that can results in extra prison time for perpetrators.

Assembly Commerce and Labor will start a review energy-related
measures. Proposals being studied by the panel encourage renewable
energy, make public buildings more energy-efficient and require
more accountability from utilities seeking rate increases. The
review is expected to continue at a Wednesday hearing.

Other Monday sessions include Senate Human Resources and
Education on SB143, which would mandate that parents in failing
schools receive reports on their own parental involvement. Also,
Senate Natural Resources will hear from representatives of state
and federal agencies that handle wildfires in Nevada.

Assembly Health and Human Services will consider AB232,
requiring the state Pharmacy Board to provide consumers with price
information on prescription drugs. Also on the agenda is a
developing proposal that would change billing practices of medical
care providers.

On Tuesday, Assembly Judiciary will discuss AB14, which would
increase penalties for graffiti; while Senate Judiciary considers
SB155, which toughens penalties for identity theft.

Senate Finance considers several bills, including SB55 which
would authorize general obligation bonds to carry out environmental
improvement efforts in the Lake Tahoe Basin; and Senate Taxation
considers SB146, authorizing some county commissions to impose
taxes to pay for operating a regional detention center for

Also on Tuesday, the Assembly committee covering ethics will
hear arguments on AB142, which would require newly elected or
appointed public officers and newly registered lobbyists to take a
course on ethics.

On Wednesday, Senate Human Resources and Education considers
SB109, which would make standardized tests rather than grades the
deciding factor to qualify for one of the state's Millennium

Also at midweek, a joint budget panel will review Nevada's
Medicaid program. Gov. Jim Gibbon's proposed budget includes a
$27.7 million program to lure more Nevada physicians into the
Medicaid program by increasing their state reimbursements. The
total of Medicaid recipients in Nevada is about 170,000. That's up
from about 100,000 in 2000.

Senate Commerce and Labor reviews SB159, which revises laws
governing collection agencies; and SB160, which changes laws
dealing with mortgage lending.

Also Wednesday, Chief Justice Bill Maupin will address the
Senate and Assembly. Lawmakers are considering a $98 million,
two-year budget for the state Supreme Court and district and family
courts - an increase of 29 percent sought because of higher, more
complex caseloads.

The high court's budget is up for a review by a joint
Senate-Assembly panel on the same day.

Senate Taxation considers SB96, which would cut the state's
vehicle tax in half, from 4 percent to 2 percent; while a joint
Senate-Assembly budget panel will discuss the state support
proposed for Nevada's K-12 schools.

On Thursday, the Assembly committee covering ethics will review
AJR10, which would revise the state constitutional residency
requirements for being eligible to vote; and Assembly Judiciary
will hear three measures that would restrict the eminent domain
powers of government.

On Friday, Senate Human Resources and Education considers SB97, which would limit the salaries of school district administrators to
1.5 times the salary of the highest paid principal; and SB110,
which limits the number of standardized test that could be
administered in public schools. Both proposals were sought by Sen.
Bob Beers, R-Las Vegas.

Also on the agenda is SB151, which would allow schools in Clark
and Washoe counties to request alternative school schedules; and
SB150, which expands jurisdiction of advocates for residents of
long-term nursing homes.

Budget subcommittees will review funding proposed for Nevada's
universities, colleges and community colleges, along with spending
plans for veterans' services and for the state's contribution to
the bistate Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.
On the Net: Nevada Legislature: http://leg.state.nv.us/