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September 30, 2014

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From marriage costs to cockfighting, more than 150 new state laws take effect today

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Cathleen Allison / AP

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval signs bills in his office at the Capitol with intergovernmental affairs manager Tyler Klimas, center, and Chief of Staff Gerald Gardner during the final hours of the 77th legislative session in Carson City, Monday, June 3, 2013.

New Laws

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Starting today, transgender people will have more protection against discrimination, teenagers could be fined for possessing cigarettes, and employers will no longer be able to take action against a worker merely because he or she is a member of the Communist Party.

And that summarizes just three of the more than 150 laws that take effect today.

Most bills passed by the 2013 Legislature became effective upon passage or on July 1, the start of the new fiscal year.

But the 1989 Legislature changed the law to permit the Oct. 1 effective date. Lawmakers said the sessions were getting longer and it was difficult for the public to know all the laws that were passed by July 1.

For instance, the regular session this year ended June 3, and the special session closed a day later. Gov. Brian Sandoval didn’t sign the special-session bills until June 13.

Former Assemblyman Bob Sader pushed for extending the date in 1989, and he said last week that the public and local governments need time to review new laws before they take effect.

The upcoming laws cover a wide range of topics ranging from the placement of garbage cans in homeowner associations to prohibiting a jail inmate from having a cellphone to raising the fees for performing marriages.

Lawmakers approved a bill to toughen the penalty for an attack on a person because she or he is transgender. An offender will face an additional prison sentence of up to 20 years for such an attack. Lawmakers also increased the penalty for a person convicted of attempting to embezzle from someone older than 60.

After today, counties will be able to enact ordinances that sanction minors for possessing tobacco products. An initial citation carries a $25 fine; a second offense carries a $50 fine; and a third offense carries a $75 fine, plus the juvenile court can suspend or delay the issuance of the individual’s driver’s license for 30-90 days.

The Legislature repealed an obsolete law, dating to the Cold War days, that permitted businesses to take disciplinary action against an employee because he or she was a member of the Communist Party.

Another law effective today prohibits businesses from making employment conditional based on credit reports.

Lawmakers passed a slew of bills aimed at protecting animals. There are increased penalties for people who train or permit their animals to engage in cockfights. The first offense is now a felony, up from a gross misdemeanor. And witnesses to these contests will be guilty of a gross misdemeanor rather than a misdemeanor.

A person who sells an animal at a swap meet will be guilty of a misdemeanor unless the county or city has an ordinance permitting this. Also, dogs cannot be labeled dangerous because of their breeds.

The cost of getting married by a justice of the peace or a commissioner of civil marriages is going up. Justices of the peace have been allowed to charge $50 for a ceremony, and that will rise to $75. Remaining in the law is the requirement that $5 must be sent to the state for the victims of domestic violence.

The fee charged by commissioners of marriage rises from $45 to $70. The new law permits a notary public to perform a wedding for a fee of $75.

Drivers of a motorcycle or moped, or those riding a bike, may now go through a red light if the stop light does not change after two completed cycles or the signal does not change because of a malfunction. If the stoplight fails to detect the presence of one of these vehicles, the driver is free to proceed against the red light but must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and other traffic.

Starting today, a crematory may not be located within 1,500 feet of a residence, and a licensed doctor from another state may provide free health care in Nevada if he or she is affiliated with a sponsoring organization that is registered with the state.

Common interest communities also may now impose restrictions on where garbage cans are located, keeping them out of public view. And it is now a misdemeanor for a person to harass or threaten the manager or executive board official of a common interest community.

Owners of taxicab companies must post signs in the vehicles that an assault of the driver carries a prison term of one to six years.

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