CARSON CITY — The focal point of most legislative activity moved this week from chamber floors to virtual committee rooms, with lawmakers taking up marquee bills on voting rights, capital punishment and cannabis laws.
That hearing activity is expected to intensify in the week ahead as lawmakers face a Friday deadline for bills to pass the committee to which they were originally referred. If bills fail to meet the deadline, they’re considered dead for the rest of the session.
Majority Democrats stoked the media’s attention ahead of a Thursday hearing on Assembly Bill 321, which would make mail-in voting permanent and establish it as the preferred method of casting ballots. Republicans sought to slow that momentum in committee and in media statements, sowing doubt about election security. GOP-backed bills instead are aimed at tightening voting procedures in Nevada, reflecting national party efforts across the country.
Lawmakers also heard a proposal to abolish capital punishment and commute death sentences to life without parole, again tapping into a divisive national issue. Supporters of Assembly Bill 395 cited the death penalty as inhumane, a costly and ineffective deterrent rooted in long-standing systemic racism, while prosecutors argued for retaining it in the interest of delivering justice to the families of victims.
The Legislature bookended the week with hearings on setting a new legal standard for driving while under the influence of marijuana and opening lounges for recreational marijuana use, as the state continues to address the ramifications of legalized casual use.
Another bill is aimed at garnishing casino winnings from people who owe child support, similar to how lottery winnings are withheld. Gaming interests were cool to the proposal.
More than 75 bills are scheduled for hearings next week, and more likely will be added.
The Assembly Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hear