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September 19, 2014

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Law:

New laws for 2014 span driver’s licenses, taxes and tax credits, transportation and more

People living in the United States illegally will qualify for a Nevada driver's privilege card, filmmakers who produce in Nevada will be eligible for a tax credit, motorists in Clark County will pay an additional 3.4 cents for a gallon of gasoline, and thousands will have health insurance coverage under a new federal law managed by the state.

These are only a few of the 45 laws passed by the 2013 Legislature that take effect Jan. 1. But government offices are closed that day, so the public won't see any effects until Thursday.

Also in 2014, a second representative from Southern Nevada will sit on the state Transportation Board and sale of consumer products that contain Bisphenol — a carbon-based industrial chemical present in many hard plastic bottles or in metal-based food and beverage cans — will be banned.

Here's a closer look at some of the laws:

• The 2014 political seasons open early this year, as judicial candidates can begin filing their candidacy Jan. 6 instead of waiting until March. Scott Gilles, chief of elections, said Supreme Court Justice Mark Gibbons and District Judge Todd Russell of Carson City have already scheduled appointments.

• In early January, opponents of the Affordable Care Act intend to file an initiative petition with the Secretary of State's Office to repeal the health care act that is run by Nevada's Silver State Health Insurance Exchange. They will need to collect 101,667 registered voters' signatures to qualify the petition to be presented to the 2015 Legislature. If the petition is unsuccessful at the Legislature, it will go to the voters on the 2016 ballot.

• The Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles is ready for an expected influx of undocumented persons to apply for driver's privelege cards. DMV spokesman Kevin Malone said the computer programming is done and the forms are in place.

"The staff has been training for a month and we're ready to go," he said.

Legislators who backed the legislation predicted 60,000 would apply. There are four DMV offices in Clark County that will handle the applications.

• The DMV will also usher in another new law, which will phase in eight-year driver's licenses instead of licenses that expire every four years. Individuals with odd-numbered birth years still will receive a four-year license at their upcoming renewal; they will be issued an eight-year license on their next renewal. Those with even-numbered birth years will get the expanded eight-year license for their upcoming renewal. By 2018, everyone should have an eight-year license. Those 65 years and older will still have to renew their license every four years.

The DMV also is making the following license-related changes:Those taking the written driver's examination will be asked about their knowledge of the ban against using cellphones while on the road, and military veterans will be able to have a "veteran" stamp on their driver's license.

• In a three-year trial program, filmmakers who come to Nevada will be entitled to a tax credit. The Legislature set aside an annual $20 million in credits to offset the cost of production (those who produce pornographic films will not qualify for the tax credit). These credits can be sold to other companies by the filmmaker.

Steve Hill, head of the Governor's Office of Economic Development, said he has received a number of calls inquiring about the credit but will not accept applications until the law goes into effect.

• The Legislature gave the Clark County Commission the authority to increase the fuel tax for three years to pay for new roads and repair old streets. The commission approved a proposal that raises the tax with inflation through 2016, capped at a 10-cent increase.

• To give Southern Nevada a bigger voice in how the state spends highway dollars, lawmakers approved removing Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto from the state Transportation Board and replacing her with a Las Vegas resident. Gov. Brian Sandoval appointed Tom Skancke, who is recognized as a transportation expert.

• Another new law requires that advertisements by health care professionals include a list of licenses and certifications he or she holds. The professional also must display information about the licenses in his or her office.

• Out-of-state businesses that operate in Nevada must pay within 10 days a $200 registration fee for their first vehicle and $150 for each additional one. The permits expire after a year.

• Court records may not be sealed if the case involves a drunken driver who kills somebody.

• In eight sparsely populated rural counties, county equipment may be used on private roads if the owner pays the cost.

• In common interest communities, the homeowners association must follow certain rules in imposing a fine for violations. The association must detail the violations and in some cases include a photograph; the owner must have a "reasonable opportunity" to correct the violation.

• Taxicab drivers outside of Clark County must be examined to determine that he or she meets certain health requirements (already in effect in Clark County).

• A person who owns or operates a radiation machine for a mammography must provide the patient with information about breast density, breast cancer and the impact of breast density.

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