Legislative Briefly March 9

Assembly panel OKs special session bill

(AP) - A resolution allowing Nevada legislators to call themselves into special session with a two-thirds vote in both houses is moving forward.

A version of Assembly Joint Resolution 5 narrowly failed on the 2006 ballot, but passed 9-6 out of committee Tuesday along party lines, with Democrats in favor.

The resolution passed in the 2009 session. If it passes both houses this session, it will go to voters.

The Nevada Constitution says only the governor can call a special session; proponents say that vests too much power in one person.

AJR5 would change the constitution to allow a 20-day special session for disciplinary proceedings, emergencies or reconsideration of vetoed measures.

The resolution also specifies the session must end by midnight according to the time zone used in the rest of Nevada.

Nevada medical pot registry faces backlog

(AP) - Nevada's health division is requesting extra employees to handle a backlog of people applying for medical marijuana use permits.

Officials asked legislators Tuesday for three more workers to help handle a glut of 700 applications to the self-funding Medical Marijuana Registry, which has one permanent employee and is missing its 30-day statutory requirement for processing the permits.

Keeping demand for marijuana high could be a good thing for Nevada children. Permits cost $150 per year, and a proposed bill would transfer an estimated $700,000 in built-up reserves to fund children's mental health programs.

About 4,000 people are on the registry, but Health Division Chief Luana Ritch warned that a rush of permit applications may be over and the program may no longer have the surplus to provide mental health funds.

Bill would keep donated booze flowing for charity

(AP) - Small Nevada breweries would legally be able to transport their donated alcohol to charitable events if a new bill passes.

Sparks Assemblywoman Debbie Smith and others are sponsoring AB200, which clarifies a portion of Nevada statute and enables brew pubs to apply for a free liquor transportation permit through the Department of Taxation.

The issue arose when state officials questioned a Reno-area brewer who was taking donated booze to a fundraiser. Illegally transported liquor is subject to confiscation, auction, destruction or disposal, and officials came close to seizing the beer an hour before the event.

Brewmaster Tom Young of Sparks-based Great Basin Brewing Company said clearing up the legal ambiguity would help breweries continue their frequent charity work.

The Assembly Taxation Committee did not vote on the bill Tuesday.


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