Nevada officials work to adapt voter-passed ballot questions
LAS VEGAS (AP) — State officials have started working to implement an automatic voter registration law and other ballot initiatives passed by voters earlier this month.
Nevada voters rejected a ballot measure to break up a monopoly by the state’s electric utility but approved four other initiatives. A fifth ballot initiative to increase the amount of power that Nevada gets from renewable energy sources needs to be approved by voters a second time in 2020 in order to take effect.
Here’s a look at next steps for the five initiatives that passed:
A victims’ bill of rights initiative aims to make it easier for crime victims to be notified when a suspect in their case is released on bail. It also prioritizes victim restitution over other fines and forfeitures. Nevada Department of Corrections victims services coordinator Jennifer Rey told the Las Vegas Sun that the ballot measure did not detail how the changes should take place but an ongoing study from a state justice commission and the Massachusetts-based Crime and Justice Institute is expected to help lay out next steps. Rey says an existing state victim notification system is an opt-in program and would be too expensive to open it for use by all victims across Nevada.
Voters opted to repeal the so-called “pink tax” on feminine hygiene products, treating them like other necessities that aren’t subject to sales tax like groceries and prescription drugs. Starting in January, women will no longer pay sales taxes on tampons, sanitary pads and more, according to Nevada Department of Taxation spokeswoman Stephanie Klapstein. She said the state is notifying businesses.
Similar to the “pink tax,” Nevada voters also opted to exempt medical equipment such as blood sugar monitors, crutches and oxygen equipment from taxes. But unlike Question 3, this initiative requires a change to the state Constitution. Klapstein said the governor and Legislature will have to make the change when they meet in 2019.
Nevada voters approved a so-called “motor voter” law that automatically registers eligible people to vote when they apply for a driver’s license or state ID card. The measure also calls for voter rolls to be automatically updated when someone renews their license or updates their information with the state Department of Motor Vehicles. Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske’s office and the DMV say they’re meeting to figure out how to adapt to the new system. The DMV is in the midst of a five-year technology upgrade so officials are working to see how they can incorporate the new law.
Voters opted to require that at least 50 percent of Nevada’s electricity come from renewable resources like solar, up from a current requirement to reach 25 percent by 2025. The initiative needs to be approved by voters again in 2020 in order to become law. Backers say that rather than wait for 2020, they’d like to see the Legislature take steps to pass the requirement itself next year. Electric utility NV Energy says it currently uses renewables for about 23.8 percent of the energy sold and is working to double that by 2023.
Information from: Las Vegas Sun, http://www.lasvegassun.com