Recently in Legislature Category

The state budget was the primary focus of the special legislative session, but there were a few bills that impact the courts.  Specifically, AB 2, which passed the Assembly and Senate and is awaiting the Governor's signature, would allow Counties, including County Clerks and District Attorneys, to deviate from the typical five day work week if doing so is fiscally neutral or results in a cost savings.  This might suggest that Counties could decide the courts should operate on a 4-day work week.  AB 6, which also passed the Assembly and Senate and is awaiting the Governor's signature, addresses several bugetary matters that impact the courts, criminal justice agencies and the prisons.  Of particular interest:

The budget of the Attorney General's Office will be reduced $1,391,545 in 2009-10 and $781,837 in 2010-11.

Earnings are earmarked from the Department of Corrections based upon charging the Offenders' Store for rent, charging the Offenders' Store for the rent of gymnasiums and for 50% of the costs of officer salaries for visitation posts, charging inmates a one-time energy surcharge on the purchase of electronic devices, cancelling the Choices contract, a reduction of medical payments to the Medicare rates, and a reduction of debt-service costs for the Women's prison.

The bill would hold vacant 12 positions at Lake's Crossing.

The bill requires the closing of Summit View Youth Correctional Center and the elimination of 49 positions at the facility.

SB 3, which passed the Senate and Assembly and is awaiting signature by the Governor, establishes a 4-day workweek for "the offices of all state officers, departments, boards, commissions and agencies" unless granted and exemption.  The bill provides that the Supreme Court shall determine exemptions from the requirements of this section for offices within the Judicial Branch of State Government.  The bill also provides that newly hired classified employees in the state system  shall be subject to a pay plan that does not include any special or other adjustments to the base rates set forth in the pay plan.  Under the bill, corrections officers must be scheduled to work not less than 3 consecutive 12-hour shifts and not less than 7 12-hour shifts during each 14-day pay period. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Week

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Monday, February 23 - US Supreme Court hears oral argument in United States v. Navajo Nation and Rivera v. Illinois (whether the erroneous denial of a defense peremptory challenge is subject to harmless error analysis).

Monday, February 23 8:30 - Assembly Judiciary Committee: AB 114 (Makes various changes concerning compensation to victims of crime); AB 116 (Revises provisions concerning compensation for victims of crime); AB 120 (Makes changes concerning orders for protection of victims of sexual assault).

Monday, February 23 9:00 - Senate Judiciary Committee: SB 125 (Prohibits the unauthorized possession, reading or capturing of another person's personal identifying information through radio frequency identification); SJR 2 (Proposes to amend the Nevada Constitution to revise provisions relating to the selection of justices and judges).

Tuesday, February 24 - US Supreme Court hears oral argument in Burlington No. & Santa Fe R. Co. v. United States and Shell Oil v. United States and hears argument in Carlsbad Technology v. HIF Bio.

Tuesday, February 24 8:00 - Assembly Committee on Corrections, Parole and Probation: AB 81 (Makes various changes relating to the Central Repository for Nevada Records of Criminal History); AB 117 (Makes various changes relating to prisoners and parole).

Tuesday, February 24 8:30 - Senate Judiciary Committee: SB 130 (Revises certain provisions governing certificates of permission to perform marriages); SB 141 (Enacts the Uniform International Wills Act).

Wednesday, February 25 - US Supreme Court hears argument in Hawaii v. Office of Hawaiian Affairs and Flores-Figueroa v. United States (whether the federal crime of aggravated identity theft requires the Government to show that the defendant knew that identification he used belonged to another person).

Wednesday, February 25 8:00 - Assembly Judiciary Committee: no criminal law bills.

Wednesday, February 25 1:30 - Senate Committee on Government Affairs: Discussion of issues related to public employees' compensation levels, benefits and retirement and overview of related reports issued by the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce.

Thursday February 26 - Nevada Supreme Court opinion release day

Thursday, February 26 8:30 - Senate Judiciary Committee Work Session:

S.B. 34 Makes certain changes concerning the use of court reporters in certain court proceedings.

S.B. 35 Repeals the provision that prohibits the prosecution of a person in this State for a crime after the person is convicted or acquitted of the crime in another state, territory or country.

S.B. 44 Designates certain employees of the Department of Corrections as category II peace officers.

S.B. 45 Revises provisions relating to certain criminal cases involving older persons and vulnerable persons.

S.B. 55 Makes various changes concerning commercial recordings.

S.B. 67 Revises provisions governing declarations of homestead. 

S.B. 82 Makes various changes relating to technological crime.

S.B. 83 Makes various changes relating to the regulation of gaming. 

S.B. 99 Limits the peace officer powers of taxicab field investigators. 

S.B. 101 Makes various changes relating to securities. 

S.B. 106 Revises provisions governing the purchase of a home or improved lot that is adjacent to open range.

S.B. 107 Limits the liability of certain nonprofit organizations and their agents, employees and volunteers under certain circumstances. 

S.B. 113 Creates statutory subcommittees of the Advisory Commission on the Administration of Justice.

Thursday, February 26 approx 9 am - Assembly Judiciary Committee Work Committee:

A.B. 27 Clarifies requirements and procedures for obtaining a Nevada identity theft passport.

A.B. 63 Makes various changes to provisions regarding justice courts.

A.B. 88 Establishes a civil remedy for a person who was a victim of a sexual offense which was used to promote child pornography.

A.B. 93 Revises the definition of the crime of assault.

A.B. 104 Revises the provisions governing the failure to appear in court for the commission of certain misdemeanor traffic offenses.

Thursday, February 26 1:00  - Advisory Commission on the Administration of Justice's Subcommittee on Juvenile Justice.

Friday, February 27 8:00 - Assembly Judiciary Committee: A.B. 64 (Increases the number of judges in the Second and Eighth Judicial Districts); A.B. 65  (Provides for the collection and disposition of additional court fees); A.B. 102 (Revises provisions governing problem gambling).

Friday, February 27 8:30 - Senate Judiciary Committee -  SB 142 (Establishes the crime of criminal gang recruitment) and other non-criminal law related bills.

The State Bar of Nevada will hold its February 2009 Bar Examination on Tuesday, February 24, Wednesday, February 25 and Thursday, February 26.

Broadcasts of Legislative Committee Meetings are available here.

Assemblypersons Anderson, Leslie, Ohrenshall, Segerblom, Buckley, Atkinson, Claborn, Hogan, Horne, McClain, Munford and Pierce have introduced Assembly Bill 190, which if enacted would establish a moritorium on the execution of sentences of death until July 1, 2011 and would conduct a study on the fiscal costs of the death penalty in Nevada.  The study would require an examination and analysis of the costs of prosecuting and adjudicating capital cases compared to noncapital cases.

Nevada is not alone in considering the fiscal impact of the death penalty.  Both New Mexico and Montana are considering abolishing the death penalty in those states.

Other states have studied the fiscal impact of the death penalty and all have concluded that the death penalty is far more expensive than a sentence of life without the possibility of parole.  Details are available after the jump.

This Week

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Tuesday, February 17 - 8:00 Assembly Committee on Corrections, Parole and ProbationAB 35 (Revises provisions governing petitions by offenders under lifetime supervision for release from lifetime supervision); AB 36 (Revises provisions pertaining to lifetime supervision of sex offenders); AB 38 (Provides that sex offenders who are under lifetime supervision must not have their civil rights automatically restored).

Tuesday, February 17 - 8:30 Senate Committee on JudiciarySB 34 (Makes certain changes concerning the use of court reporters in certain court proceedings); SB 100 (Revises the provisions governing the period of revocation of a driver's license upon conviction of certain offenses involving driving under the influence).

Wednesday, February 18 - 8:00 Assembly Committee on JudiciaryAB 1 (Prohibits certain demonstrations at a funeral, memorial serivce or ceremony); AB 45 (Requires the State Public Defender to provide defense services to indigent persons in counties without county public defender offices and to fully fund such services); AB 105 (Makes various changes concerning genetic marker testing of certain criminal defendants).

Wednesday, February 18 - 8:30 Senate Committee on Judiciary.  SB 84 (Authorizes cities to create departments of alternative sentencing). 

Thursday, February 19 - Nevada Supreme Court opinion release day

Thursday, February 19 - 8:00 Assembly Corrections, Parole and Probation.  AB 78 (Requires the State Forester Firewarden to establish and carry out a program for operating conservation camps); Audit Report - Dept. of Corrections, Inmate Programs, Grievances, and Access to Health Care.

Thursday, February 19 - 8:30 Senate Judiciary Committee.  SJR 1 (Proposes to amend the Nevada Constitution to replace the State Board of Pardons Commissioners with the Clemency Board appointed by the Governor); SJR 9 (Proposes to amend the Nevada Constitution to allow the Legislature to establish an intermediate appellate court).

Friday, February 20 - 8:00 Assembly Judiciary Committee.  AB 27 (Clarifies requirements and procedures for obtaining a Nevada identity theft passport); AB 46 (Makes various changes concerning the right of certain persons to purchase or possess a firearm); AB 61 (Requires notification of certain victims of crime of the discharge, conditional release or escape of certain persons from the custody of Mental Health officials).

Friday, February 20 - 8:30 Senate Judiciary Committee.  SB 44 (Designates certain employees of the Department of Corrections as category II peace officers); SB 99 (Limits the peace officer powers of taxicab field investigators).

Friday, February 20 - 10:00 - 1:00 Indigent Defense Commission Meeting

Oral arguments at the United States Supreme Court will resume on February 23.

The Nevada Supreme Court will hear its next oral arguments on March 2.

This Week

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Monday, February 2 - Nevada Supreme Court en banc oral arguments in Glover v. District Court and Hartford Fire Ins. Co. v. Trustees of Constr. Indus. (NRAP 5).

Monday, February 2 - Nevada Legislature opens its 2009 Session.

Tuesday, February 3 - Nevada Supreme Court en banc oral arguments in MGM Mirage v. Insurance Guaranty Ass'n, Allstate Insurance Co. v. Fackett and Shelksohn v. Yeh.

Tuesday, February 3 - 8:00 Assembly Committtee on Corrections, Parole and Probation meets and BDRs may be introduced.

Tuesday, February 3 - 9:00 Assembly Judiciary Committee meets.  Presentation on Nevada Criminal Law by Ben Graham.

Wednesday, February 4 - 8:00 Assembly Judiciary Committee meets.  Audit reports presented.  The Committee will consider AB 88, concerning civil remedies for a person who was a victim of a sexual offense which was used to promose child pornography.

Wednesday, February 4 - 8:30 Senate Judiciary Committee meets.  It will hold an informational hearing on activities by the Advisory Commission on the Administration of Justice. 

Wednesday, February 4 - 12:00 NACJ Board Meeting at the Federal Public Defender's Office.

Thursday, February 5 - Nevada Supreme Court opinion release day.

Thursday, February 5 - 8:30 Senate Judicary Committee meets.  The Committee will consider SB 35 (repeals the provision that prohibits the prosecution of a person in this State for a crime after the person is convicted or acquitted of the crime in another state, territory or country; SB 45 (revises provisions relating to certain criminal cases involving older persons and vulnerable persons); SB 82 (makes various changes relating to technological crime).

Friday, February 6 - 8:00 Assembly Judiciary Committee meets.  The Committee will consider AB 42 (grants administrative subpoena power for the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit within the AG's Office to obtain certainr records and materials); AB 59 (creates a rebuttable presumption against an award of custody or unsupervised visitation for any person who has abducted a child in the past).

Friday, February 6 - 2:30 p.m. Investiture Ceremony for new district court and family court judges: Doug Smith, Abbi Silver and Cynthia Giuliani.

 

No orders or opinions are expected from the United States Supreme Court as the Court is in a four week recess.  Oral arguments will resume on February 23.

Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons is proposing what I consider to be the most outrageous, deficient and insulting budget I can imagine.  The 2870 page document is available here.  Many of his proposed cuts will have a direct impact upon criminal justice issues - both in the short and long terms.

The Governor proposes that state employees take the brunt of the budget cuts: by a 6% reduction in pay, elimination of merit increases and longevity pay.  State employees would also pay more for insurance benefits.  The Governor also proposes a substantial reallocation of some property tax funds from Washoe and Clark County.  If those are approved, additional cuts in county budgets could also have a significant impact on the courts, public defenders, the detention center, mental health treatment, and other programs paid for by the counties.

The Nevada Supreme Court proposed budget is at page 255 of the PDF (Courts - 1 in the document).  The proposed budget shows a drastic cut in the budge for Information Services.  The amount in 2007-08 was $628,178.  The Court's request is for $160,034, and the Governor proposes $177,023, for 2009-10.  The Court requested $20,401 for training of legal staff, the Governor proposes $10,300.  The Court requests $113,333 for funding in order to complete a case management system, which the Governor proposes to fund as a re-appropriation from funds not previously spent.  The Governor's plan to suspend merit increases results $19,616 less for 2009-10 and $55,468 less ofr 2010-11.  The longevity payments suspension would mean $18,800 less in 2009-10 and $21,150 less for 2010-11.  Cuts in the insurance subsidy to current and retirmed employees would result in a reduction of $178,850 for 2009-10 and $226,270 for 2010-11.

The Governor does not propose cuts in district court judge salaries.  Their budget is at page 264 of the PDF (Court - 10 in the document).  He proposes a reduction in the amount allocated to senior judges of $147,456 below that requested by the courts and approximately $300,000 less than the amount spent this year on senior judges.  With a whole new batch of senior judges adding to the existing roles, it will be interesting to see how this plays out.

The law school had a proposed budget of $14,365,171, but the Governor recommends a budget of $12,688,982 for 2009-10.  The budget is at page 783 of the PDF (NSHE - 89 in the document).

The State Public Defender's budget is at page 1404 of the PDF (DHHS Director's Ofc - 43 in the document).  The current budget is $2,665,016.  The Governor proposes $2,666,269 for 2009-10 and $2,700,503 for 2010-11.  These small increases reflect that the funding needed for indigent defense, especially in the rural counties, will not increase in any meaningful manner, as mandated by the Indigent Defense Commission and its performance standards.

The Governor proposes the closure of the Nevada State Prison on July 1, 2009 and notes that this will eliminate 10 medical staff positions and result in a budget reduction of approximately $1,000,000.  This is at page 2100 of the PDF (Corrections - 13).  It does not appear that additional medical positions will be added at other prisons which will take the inmates from NSP - despite the existing lawsuit and enormous concerns over prison medical care.  He proposes adding approximately 150 inmates to Ely State Prison, but allocates no new funds for them.  Instead, he claims the cost per inmate will drop from $68.25 per day to $60.75 per day.  This is nuts.  Other prisons reflect similar increases in inmate population, decreases in cost per inmate per day, and no explanation as to how this is possible other than a much lower guard per inmate ratio - which is a significant issue of public safety at many of the facilities. 

While substantial cuts are being imposed, the Governor proposes increases in the budgets of other departments.  Some of the increases are beyond puzzling.  For example, at page 144 of the PDF (Elected - 105 in the document), is the proposed budget for the Council for Prosecuting Attorneys.  The Council develops training for prosecutors, coordinates the development of policies for conducting criminal and civil litigation and coordinates proposed legislation.  Most of the funding comes from court assessments, but there is no reason that this funding could not be sent to more critical functions of state government.  The 2007-08 budget was $221,066.  The agency requested $255,200 for 2009-10, but the Governor, despite cutting many other areas, proposes a budget of $269,580.  Likewise, the Governor recommends $264,445 for 2010-11, nearly $30,000 more than the agency's proposed budge of $235,597.  I'm not opposed to DA training, but this is a function that can easily be performed in-house within the DA's existing budget during times of financial crisis.

More bills to watch

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Assembly Bills on file were reviewed yesterday.  Today the Senate:

SB3 - Creates the Legislative Committee on Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice. 

SB33 - Revises the provisions governing the administration of programs for the treatment of alcoholism or drug abuse for certain offenders with third offenses of driving under the influence.

SB34 - Makes certain changes concerning the use of court reporters in certain court proceedings.

SB35 - Repeals the provision that prohibits the prosecution of a person in this State for a crime after the person is convicted or acquitted of the crime in another state, territory or country.

SB45 - Revises provisions relating to certain criminal cases involving older persons and vulnerable persons.

SB51 - Revises provisions governing the subpoenaing of public utility records by a law enforcement agency.

SB60 - Revises provisions governing buildings, motor vehicles and other property that has been used in crimes involving methamphetamine or certain other substances.

SB82 - Makes various changes relating to technological crime.

SB84 - Authorizes cities to create departments of alternative sentencing.

SB85 - Revises provisions relating to the financial support of regional facilities for the detention of children.

SB93 - Excludes the judiciary from certain provisions concerning access to public records and handling of personal information.

SB100 - Revises the provisions governing the period of revocation of a driver's license upon conviction of certain offenses involving driving under the influence.

 

 

Bills to watch

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The legislative session starts in a few weeks.  There are a number of Assembly bills worth watching for those practicing criminal law:

AB1 - Prohibits certain demonstrations at a funeral, memorial service or ceremony.

AB17 - Revises provisions concerning persons who steal parts of streethlights and traffic-control devices.

AB33 - Revises provisions governing subsequent convictions of battery which constitute domestic violence.

AB34 - Authorizes prisoners in certain state correctional institutions or facilities to use certain electronic communication devices under certain circumstances.

AB 35 - Revises provisions governing petitions by offenders under lifetime supervision for release from lifetime supervision.

AB 36 - Revises provisions pertaining to lifetime supervision of sex offenders.

AB 38 - Provides that sex offenders who are under lifetime supervision must not have their civil rights automatically restored.

AB 45 - Requires the State Public Defender to provide defense services to indigent persons in counties without county public defender offices and to fully fund such services.  Note - this title is misleading as this bill also addresses counties with public defender offices and would impact every county in the state.  This is a biggie.

AB 46 - Makes various changes concerning the right of certain persons to purchase or possess a firearm.

AB 47 - Revises provisions relating to specialty courts.

AB49 - Authorizes a board of county commissioners, under certain circumstances, to provide a civil penalty in lieu of a criminal penalty for the violation of certain ordinances.

AB50 - Prohibits certain demonstrations at a funeral, memorial service or ceremony.

AB63 - Makes various changes to provisions regarding justice courts.

AB64 - Increases the number of judges in the Second and Eighth Judicial Districts.

AB65 - Provides for the collection and disposition of additional court fees.

AB77 - Revises provisions governing the unlawful killing or possession of wildlife.

AB81 - Makes various changes relating to the Central Repository for Nevada Records of Criminal History.

AB83 - Makes various changes concerning the reporting and investigation of allegations of child abuse and neglect.

AB85 - Revises provisions relating to sex offenders.

AB88 - Establishes a civil remedy for a person who was a victim of a sexual offense which was use to promote child pornography.

AB92 - Revises the provisions governing the benefits of a retired justice or judge.

AB93 - Revises the definition of the crime of assault.

AB99 - Makes various changes relating the security and safety of participants in the legal process.

AB104 - Revises the provisions governing the failure to appear in court for the commission of certain misdemeanor traffic offenses.

AB105 - Makes various changes concerning genetic marker testing in certain criminal defendants.

 

 

 

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This page is a archive of recent entries in the Legislature category.

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