Published Tuesday, May 26, 2009 | 6:06 p.m.
Updated Tuesday, May 26, 2009 | 7:30 p.m.
CARSON CITY – Gov. Jim Gibbons has signed 43 bills into law, including one to tighten restrictions on animal fighting. He also vetoed two bills, including one that would have required anywhere from 200 to 425 off-road vehicles to be licensed and to pay a fee.
The fee would have been $20-$30 and much of it would be used to improve off-road trails and other areas.
In his veto message to Senate Bill 394, Gibbons said, “Although the fee increase has the support of some off-highway vehicle proponents and off-highway vehicle retailers, the fee would not be imposed on those groups but would instead be borne by the individual owners of off-highway vehicles.
“I do not support a new fee on an activity that Nevadans have previously enjoyed freely,” the governor said.
Gibbons has now vetoed 11 bills so far this session, one short of the record set by Gov. Bob List in 1981. And he has promised to veto the tax bills that are before him.
Leah Bradle, who was one of the leaders in getting passage of the off-road bill, said she was not surprised by the veto. The fee was the thing the governor objected to, said Bradle, of the Nevada Powersport Dealers Association.
She said she feels “pretty positive” that she will be able to muster the votes to overturn the veto. The bill passed the Senate 17-1 and the Assembly 34-6.
Dealers of these off-road vehicles complained that riders would go out of state to buy these vehicles, avoiding the sales tax and hurting Nevada businesses.
The governor also rejected Senate Bill 319, which expanded the requirement for reporting sentinel events by medical facilities.
He said the publication of these reports “creates an opportunity for mischief from those who would seek to profit from the misfortunes of others by identifying events that could become the basis of litigation.”
Gibbons said the reports are now filed with the state Department of Health and Human Services and it is equipped to deal with the problems.
The bill passed the Senate 14-6 and in the Assembly 29-13.
Of the 43 bills signed into law, one was to tighten restrictions on animal fighting.
Also approved was a bill to permit school districts to seek an exemption from the state from minimum spending on textbooks.
Assembly Bill 199 makes it a gross misdemeanor to own, train or promote a fight between animals. The bill, which becomes effective Oct. 1, also prohibits selling an animal if the owner knows it will be used for fighting.
Assembly Minority Leader Heidi Gansert, R-Reno, said Nevada is the only state where a person could buy, train or sell an animal for fighting. “This closes a loophole,” she said.
There are cockfights, and in some areas of Nevada dogs are being trained for fighting, said Gansert, who sponsored the bill. Yet authorities could not take any action, she said.
A second offense is a felony.
Assembly Bill 13 allows school districts to ask the state for permission not to spend the minimum on textbooks and supplies during an economic downturn. The bill prohibits the money saved from being used from salaries.
The law takes effect July 1.
The governor approved Senate Bill 339 requiring the Colorado River Commission to study the feasibility of constructing a hydrokinetic generation plant below Hoover Dam.
The commission must determine if this would be able to supply the needs of the customers it serves and also the requirements of the Southern Nevada Water Project. If the commission finds such a project is feasible, it should ask the federal government to look at building the project.
A new law will take effect Oct. 1 to step up recycling efforts in Nevada. Senate Bill 137 will require county commissions or city councils in Clark and Washoe counties to require the placement of recycling containers at apartments or condominiums.
There would be similar requirements in the smaller counties.
After Oct. 1, the governing boards would require plans for new apartment or condominium projects to include placement of recycling containers on the premises.
The bill also requires the Nevada System of Higher Education to place recycling containers at its universities, colleges and community colleges.