Posts Tagged ‘bill drafts’

State Lawmaker Plans To Continue Mission In 2011 To Combat Child Prostitution In Nevada

By Sean Whaley | 6:24 pm September 29th, 2010

CARSON CITY – State Assemblyman John Hambrick has requested four bills for the 2011 session to continue with his mission of eliminating child prostitution in Nevada.

Hambrick, R-Las Vegas, won unanimous support for a bill in 2009 providing for civil penalties of up to $500,000 against those convicted of human trafficking of minor children. Funds collected under the provisions of Assembly Bill 380 can be used to provide care to those minors exploited for sexual purposes.

Hambrick now wants to extend that effort next session by increasing sentences for those involved in such crimes, including those who purchase the sexual services of an underage child, and allowing victims to clear their criminal records under certain conditions so they can go on to productive lives.

“Human trafficking is one of those things our parents would not have discussed in ‘polite’ society,” Hambrick said. “But the time has come to open the windows. We – all of us – must wake up and realize that Las Vegas is the national capital for human trafficking. Men come to our community and ‘buy’ the bodies of girls, some as young as 11 years old. This battle has to be fought and won.”

Las Vegas was identified in 2009 by the FBI as one of 14 cities around the country with high rates of child prostitution. Additionally, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department handled 150 cases of child prostitution in 2008 alone.

Hambrick said he was made aware of the situation after retiring to Las Vegas and getting involved in politics. Hambrick said he was skeptical at first, but soon learned the truth of how severe the problem is in Southern Nevada.

“Las Vegas is leading the country in this horrendous crime,” he said.

Hambrick said he has yet to see results from AB380, which took effect Oct. 1, 2009, because the last major prosecution for this crime was handled by federal officials.

Hambrick said Judge William Voy, a juvenile court judge in Clark County, wants to establish safe houses for the victims of these crimes. The new law could have generated some funding for the project if the federal prosecution had been handled at the state level instead, he said.

The civil penalties may seem large, but those engaged in his human trafficking make vast amounts of money, he said.

In testimony in support of AB380 in 2009, Las Vegas Police Sgt. Victor Vigna said that in a recent case his unit handled, a panderer had $400,000 in cash in his house.

Going after the money is the only way to bring a halt to child prostitution, Hambrick said.

Hambrick saw strong support for his 2009 measure.

Lois Lee, founder and president of Children of the Night, a Los Angeles organization dedicated to helping child prostitution victims, testified in support: “A.B. 380 is an obvious step in the right direction to begin to address the plight of young people – women and girls – who are victimized by prostitution and have nowhere to turn for help.”

Lee said Hambrick’s new proposals have merit as well. The concern is whether they will be applied equally to all offenders by law enforcement. Such laws have frequently been used nationally to target specific groups including women, minorities and homosexuals, she said.

“I think the intent of his legislation is excellent,” Lee said. “My concern is will it be enforced in the spirit that the Assemblyman wrote it.”

Hambrick’s new measures would:

-          Clarify that the crime of involuntary servitude can also include subjecting another person to commercial sex acts (similar to human trafficking under federal law).

-          Increase criminal and civil penalties for pimps and buyers. It would allow for jail time for someone convicted of either crime to increase to seven years minimum and 20 years maximum. It would also increase fines to as high as $50,000.

-          Allow for staggered penalties for buyers. The younger the victim, the more time a buyer would be required to serve. It would allow for the possibility of a life sentence with parole eligibility after 10 years in prison.

-          Allow a victim to start with a clean slate by petitioning a court to vacate convictions if certain conditions are met.

Audio clips:

Assemblyman John Hambrick said he did not realize the magnitude of the problem:

092910Hambrick1 :30 this horrendous crime.”

Hambrick said one of his new proposals would give victims a fresh start:

092910Hambrick2 :11 would be gone.”

Lois Lee, founder and president of Children of the Night, says the intent is excellent but such laws must be enforced fairly:

092910Lee :09 Assemblyman wrote it.”

New Bill Draft Requests Focus On Wide Range of Issues

By Sean Whaley | 7:00 am September 8th, 2010

CARSON CITY – More than 250 new bill requests were filed for drafting last week by lawmakers and others on issues ranging from requiring health insurance plans to cover acupuncture treatments to implementing a four-year cooling off period before former lawmakers could work as lobbyists.

Other measures would require the precise language of pending legislation to be posted on the Legislature’s website at least three business days before a vote, change the posting dates of campaign contribution and expense reports to make the information more readily available to voters and make changes to the modified business tax to encourage more hiring.

Assemblyman Joe Hogan, D-Las Vegas, said he requested a bill to change the dates of when campaign reports must be filed by candidates so voters would have more time to analyze the information. The current filing deadlines are right before the primary and general elections and give little or no time for voters to review the contribution and expense reports, he said.

The information isn’t available at all to the majority of people who choose to vote early, Hogan said.

Careful voters will try to have a look at the reports to see if a candidate is “wholly owned” by some special interest, he said.

The bill would also require a candidate to list a specific beginning and ending balance each year, he said.

“It would bring completeness to the reporting system that has been needed for a long time,” Hogan said.

The new bill drafts also include a number of proposals from outgoing Gov. Jim Gibbons, including measures to create a voucher program for students and eliminate mandatory collective bargaining for local governments and their employees.

The proposals, which now total 520, will be drafted into legislation for consideration by the 2011 Legislature. Sept. 1 was the deadline for state and local agencies to submit bill drafts. Lawmakers were also required to have some of their requests submitted by the same date.

Assemblyman Ed Goedhart, R-Amargosa Valley, requested the cooling off and bill posting measures.

“We always talk about how we are going to reform government – it has to start with transparency,” he said. “With transparency you will have increased accountability.”

Goedhart said he requested the cooling off measure for lawmakers and statewide office holders even before the controversy arose recently regarding Morse Arberry, who resigned as a long-time Assemblyman to accept a lobbying contract with the Clark County District Court system. That contract was rejected today by the Clark County Commission.

Goedhart said he has seen examples of lawmakers positioning themselves to take advantage of their connections when they leave office. A future payday should not be a reason for someone to run for public office, he said.

Requiring a four- or two-year cooling off period should eliminate that as a reason to run for elective office, Goedhart said.

The bill posting request is to ensure lawmakers and the public have a chance to read a measure before it is voted on, he said.

Goedhart mentioned two specific incidents, one in 2009 and the other in the February special session, where measures were rushed through without time for review. One was dubbed the “absolution resolution” which he said was intended to give lawmakers cover to vote for tax increases. The other was the last-minute vote in the special session on a bill to create construction jobs in Nevada. The bill in part eliminated the sunset of a tax levy in Clark County to fund the projects.

“It was the biggest tax increase that was never mentioned in the last (special) session,” Goedhart said. “These are the types of abuses that my bill hopefully will, if not make downright impossible, will at least make them a lot more difficult.”

Assemblyman James Settelmeyer, R-Gardnerville, requested the modified business tax (MBT) measure as a way to encourage hiring by Nevada businesses.

The proposal would be to exempt new employees from the MBT to provide an incentive to employers to hire more workers, he said.

“We have to look at ways to get new jobs,” Settelmeyer said.

The bill requiring acupuncture treatments to be covered by health plans offered in Nevada was requested by Assemblyman Tick Segerblom, D-Las Vegas, who sought a similar measure without success in the 2009 session.

In testimony in 2009, Segerblom said the coverage is not costly and results in health care savings. The state health plan offers acupuncture treatments and the benefit has not cost the plan a significant amount of money, he said.

Insurance company officials and small business representatives expressed concern, however, about the cost of adding mandated coverage because of the increased cost to consumers.

“Frankly this is a noninvasive medical procedure that in fact saves money,” Segerblom said today. “If it cures people, or deals with their pain problems, then it is better for everybody.”

___

Audio clips:

Assemblyman Tick Segerblom says requiring acupuncture coverage will reduce medical costs:

090710Segerblom :14 better for everybody.”

Assemblyman Ed Goedhart says a cooling off period would ensure people run for public office for the right reasons:

090710Goedhart1 :21 payday for themselves.”

Goedhart says giving lawmakers and public time to read bills before vote would reduce the number of questionable measures:

090710Goedhart2 :20 a lot more difficult.”

Goedhart says transparency will bring about accountability, fiscal responsibility:

090710Goedhart3 :18 fiscally responsible government.”

Bill Requests For 2011 Nevada Legislative Session Include Ban On Texting While Driving, Property Tax Protection, Castle Doctrine

By Sean Whaley | 2:17 pm July 1st, 2010

CARSON CITY – If a list of bills requested for drafting for the 2011 legislative session released today is any indication, a lot of lawmakers are concerned about people who use cell phones while driving.

Of the 152 bill draft requests submitted so far, mostly by lawmakers, three deal with cell phone use in vehicles: two to prohibit texting and a third to “restrict cell phone use” while driving.

The one-line descriptions of the bills being sought by lawmakers, interim legislative committees, state constitutional officers and others are made public on July 1 before each legislative session. The list will now be updated weekly through the session that begins in February.

The proposed bills to ban texting while driving were requested by Assemblyman Kelvin Atkinson, D-North Las Vegas, with three co-sponsors, and Sen. Shirley Breeden, D-Henderson. The bill to restrict cell phone use was requested by Assemblyman Harvey Munford, D-Las Vegas.

A bill to ban texting while driving was introduced in the 2009 session by Breeden. It passed the Senate but did not get a vote in the Assembly.

Assemblyman Don Gustavson, R-Sparks, has requested a measure to amend the state constitution to create a uniform and fair method of assessing property taxes. Gustavson, who is running for a seat in the state Senate, said the proposal is similar to previous measures he has supported to cap property tax increases at 2 percent per year or the consumer price index, whichever is lower.

Gustavson and Sharron Angle, a former state lawmaker now running for the U.S. Senate, have sought such a change for years, usually trying to get the proposal on the ballot through the initiative petition process rather than the Legislature. It is modeled on the Proposition 13 tax cap approved in California. Gustavson said his proposal may get more attention in the Legislature if Republicans pick up some seats in the November election.

Right now people can’t budget for their property taxes because they don’t know what the valuation will be from year to year, he said.

The measure would help property owners in the Incline Village area of Washoe County who have seen their properties valued improperly, Gustavson said. Despite winning court cases to get refunds of excess property taxes, Washoe County has so far failed to return the money, he said.

The current property tax cap approved by the Legislature in 2005 is not constitutional because it treats residential property differently than commercial property, Gustavson said.

Assemblyman John Hambrick, R-Las Vegas, is seeking a bill to adopt the “Castle Doctrine” in Nevada to provide legal protections for homeowners who defend themselves against criminals.

A similar measure was introduced in 2009 by Assembly Democrat Harry Mortenson, D-Las Vegas, but did not even get a hearing in the Assembly Judiciary Committee, Hambrick said.

“It had bipartisan support; many people were in favor of it, but for whatever reason it never saw the light of day,” he said.

Hambrick said the principle is “your home is your castle” and you have the right in common law to protect your property. This would put the concept in state law as many other states have done to provide legal protections from either civil or criminal liability, he said.

Hambrick said he would like to see the measure get a hearing in the 2011 session.

Some bill draft requests are unlikely to see any consideration in the upcoming session because they have been requested by lawmakers who will not return in 2011. One example is a proposal by Sen. Dennis Nolan, R-Las Vegas, to make the failure to wear a seatbelt a primary offense. Right now drivers cannot be pulled over in Nevada for failing to wear a seat belt.

Unless another lawmaker picks up the proposal and submits a bill in the session, the issue may not see any action next year. Nolan lost re-election in the June GOP primary.