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Nevada legislators face Friday deadline on some bills

May 25, 2019
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FILE - In this Feb. 4, 2019, file photo, assembly members gather before the Nevada State Assembly in Carson City, Nev. The 2019 session that started on Feb. 4 is scheduled to draw to a close as Nevada lawmakers face a Friday, May 24 deadline as they move to pass dozens of bills. (AP Photo/Ryan Tarinelli, File)

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Nevada lawmakers have approved bills to ban private prisons, restore voting rights to felons and streamline the process for sealing low-level marijuana convictions.

Some other bills, however, are facing a deadline Friday that will determine whether they die or move further toward becoming law.

Here’s an update on some of the bills:

BAN ON CHILD MARRIAGES

A bill on child marriages must clear the state Senate on Friday to have a chance of becoming law.

The original bill by Assemblywoman Shannon Bilbray-Axelrod banned child marriage in Nevada, but the Democrat said Friday it is expected to carve out an exemption for 17-year-olds.

A judge would have to consider several factors to allow the marriage to move forward. Some of those factors could include the age of the spouse and reasons why the couple could not wait for an adult-age marriage, she said.

The amendment, she said, will also include a residency requirement as a way to keep people outside Nevada from taking advantage of the state’s marriage laws.

Bilbray-Axelrod expressed some concern the amended bill will not advance.

She said Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro is expected to bring the amended bill for a vote Friday.

Current law allows teens between 16 and 18 to marry if they receive the approval of either parent or a legal guardian.

Children under 16 can also marry. The law stipulates that those marriages can be approved by a district court “in extraordinary circumstances” and if the child receives consent from a parent or legal guardian.

Bilbray-Axelrod has argued that people younger than 18 who marry often see lifelong negative consequences and the marriage can lead to family instability, domestic abuse and mental health needs.

FELON VOTING RIGHTS

A bill that restores voting rights to convicted felons passed the Senate this week along partisan lines. The legislation stipulates that felony offenders would be given the right to vote after being released from prison. Current law grants certain felons the right to vote two years after being released.

Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson says a person seeking to return to society must have a voice in the political process. “What better way to ensure or increase the chances of someone valuing and cherishing their freedom,” he said.

PRIVATE PRISON BAN:

A bill that would ban private prisons in Nevada has cleared both chambers.

Lawmakers approved the measure last session, but it was vetoed by former Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval, who raised concerns the legislation limited the discretion of the director of the state’s Department of Corrections.

This session’s bill passed the Democrat-controlled Senate in a party-line vote.

The measure would require the “core correctional services” at each prison to be performed by local or state authorities.

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