Nevadans approve all but one statewide question

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CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - Click for Secretary of State results

Nevada voters have approved a ballot measure to embed crime victims' rights in the state constitution.

Question 1 passed on Tuesday. It was described by backers as Marsy's Law for Nevada.

The name refers to a 2008 law enacted by voters in California with support from billionaire Henry Nicholas in memory of his slain sister, Marsalee "Marsy" Nicholas. She was killed by her ex-boyfriend in 1983.

The Nevada measure was approved by the state Legislature in 2015 and 2017. It expands the definition of a victim and lists 16 rights including privacy, protection from a defendant, refusal of interview or deposition requests without a court order, notice of court and parole hearings and "full and timely restitution."

Opponents called the proposal redundant, costly and vague.

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Nevada has decided to quit taxing feminine hygiene products such as tampons and sanitary napkins.

Question 2 passed as a voter-approved tax measure Tuesday after near-unanimous approval by the 2017 state Legislature.

Proponents argued feminine hygiene products are a medical necessity and that collecting sales and use taxes on them amounts to gender discrimination. They noted nine states and the District of Columbia exempt the products from so-called "Pink Taxes."

Opponents said most states tax the products.

They pointed to estimates that Nevada state and local governments, including schools, could lose up to $1.3 million in revenue per year.

Officially, the measure amends the state's 1955 tax law for 10 years, until the end of 2028.

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Nevada voters have rejected a hotly contested and expensive ballot initiative that backers characterized as open-market energy choice, while opponents led by the state's dominant electric utility said would lead to dangerous deregulation.

The failure of Question 3 on Tuesday was a victory for utility company NV Energy and a defeat for proponents led by casino company Las Vegas Sands and data storage firm Switch.

Nearly $100 million was spent on the constitutional amendment after nearly three-fourths of voters first approved it in 2016.

Proponents wanted the Legislature to strip NV Energy of its electricity production and sales monopoly, and to create a "competitive retail energy market" by July 2023.

Opponents argued deregulation would drive up rates. The Public Utilities Commission said ratepayers could be liable for billions in costs.

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Nevadans have passed a measure granting tax exemption for prescription medical equipment such as oxygen tanks, sleep apnea monitors, wheelchairs and hospital beds.

Nearly three-fourths of voters gave the measure initial approval in 2016. But as a constitutional amendment, it required a second statewide vote, which it received on Tuesday.

Supporters called taxes on medical equipment unfair to sick, injured or dying Nevadans who pay directly or through higher insurance premiums.

Opponents argued that basic budget principles mean the state can't afford giveaways and that public services will be hurt by lost tax revenue.

The measure had financial backing from Bennett Medical Services, a Reno company with products that will be exempt from taxes. Company owner Douglas Bennett launched the initiative after the idea failed in the state Legislature.

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Nevada voters have approved making voter registration automatic when a person applies for a driver's license or identification card.

Question 5 passed Tuesday to change what amounted to an opt-in system at the state Department of Motor Vehicles to an opt-out rule. That means a person will have to check a box to decline voter registration.

If a person is already registered to vote, his or her voter registration information will be automatically updated.

A 2016 petition drive led the Legislature to approve the law, with Democrats and Republicans voting on party lines.

Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval vetoed it, saying voters should decide for themselves whether to register, not the government.

Proponents including the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada spent about $10 million on the campaign.

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Nevadans have advanced an initiative to speed the pace and raise the bar on the amount of electricity generated from renewable energy sources in one of the nation's sunniest states.

Question 6 won initial approval Tuesday but must pass again in 2020 to take effect. It aims to amend the state constitution to raise the minimum amount of power that electric utilities generate or acquire from solar, wind or geothermal sources to 50 percent in 2030.

The current benchmark is 25 percent by 2025. The state's dominant electric utility, NV Energy, says it already has a 24 percent clean-energy portfolio.

Proponents have been underwritten by California billionaire Democratic activist Tom Steyer, founder of the group NextGen Climate Action.

Opponents say free-market forces and the Legislature should set the state standard.