LAS VEGAS — Nevada’s governor toured the Las Vegas area for bill-signing ceremonies Friday, making stops at a union hall, Chinatown Plaza, a state office building and a North Las Vegas community center to highlight the themes of crime, gun, health and immigration laws passed by the Democratic state Legislature.
Health care was the focus of three measures Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak signed at the home of the powerful Culinary Union.
One aims to reduce prescription drug costs by replacing the state Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee with a Silver State Scripts Board to designate which prescription drugs are eligible for coverage under Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Plan.
Another shifts decision-making about adding trauma centers from local to state officials tasked with working with counties to decide where to put new trauma care facilities.
University Medical Center in Las Vegas is the only Level I trauma center in the state. Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno and Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center in Las Vegas are Level II centers. St. Rose Dominican Hospitals – Siena Campus in Henderson is a Level III center.
A third law requires medical students in clinical rotations in Nevada to be enrolled in good standing at an accredited medical school.
A measure revamping Nevada’s decades-old system for allocating education funding and a voting-rights bill championed by Democratic Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson were among the 20 laws that Sisolak signed.
The voting bill implements an automatic registration law passed by voters in November. It registers people to vote when they apply for Nevada driver’s licenses or state ID cards unless they opt out.
The governor, who campaigned on a pledge to toughen gun laws following the 2017 mass shooting on the Las Vegas Strip, signed a ban on the kind of “bump stock” devices used by the Las Vegas shooter to mimic the rapid firing of a fully automatic weapon.
The law also includes so-called “red flag” provisions allowing guns to be removed from someone a judge deems a threat.
Sisolak signed a criminal justice reform measure that aims to cut the state’s bulging prison population by reducing penalties for some lower-level crimes including drug offenses and by using diversion programs as alternatives to time behind bars.
Another law provides for compensating people who were wrongly convicted with payments ranging from $50,000 for one year of wrongful imprisonment to $100,000 a year for more than 21 years.
At appearances with U.S. Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nevada, Sisolak signed bills related to immigrants and the 2020 U.S. Census, including a $5 million allocation to promote the upcoming count. The goal is an accurate tally and full participation in a state home to a population that is 28% Hispanic. Some experts worry that a citizenship question on the census may discourage participation from families with mixed immigration statuses.
Another law creates a state Office of New Americans to help immigrants navigate government services. The office is something the new governor called for in his State of the State address.
Sisolak also signed a law barring state licensing boards from denying professional licenses to someone because of their immigration status.
Lawmakers passed a similar but more limited law four years ago allowing non-citizens and those without legal permission to be in the U.S. to get a teaching license.
Another new immigration law sets baseline rules for how police departments help certify immigrants who are victims and witnesses to crimes if they are also applying for temporary protection from deportation.