Nevada Senate approves up to $100 million for Lake Tahoe |

Nevada Senate approves up to $100 million for Lake Tahoe

CARSON CITY, Nev. ” With their 2009 session scheduled to end in a few days, Nevada lawmakers kept working Friday on still-pending measures covering a wide range of issues.

The Senate gave final legislative approval to AB18, which authorizes up to $100 million in bonds that would pay for environmental improvement projects at Lake Tahoe over the next 10 years.

Proponents say Lake Tahoe’s famed clarity has been declining and the bonds will pay for projects to stop that trend. The general-obligations bonds will be paid back through property tax revenues.

The Senate Finance Committee passed AB561, which eliminates the state Consumer Affairs Division for the next two fiscal years.

Sen. Bob Coffin, D-Las Vegas, was the only committee member to cast a no vote. In a reference to Gov. Jim Gibbons, who sought the elimination, Coffin said, “I am opposed to dismantling another good agency ” unlike the governor.”

Senate Finance members also passed SB330, Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford’s plan for sweeping regulatory reform of the state Department of Education and the elected board that oversees K-12 schools.

The Assembly passed AB564, which authorizes the state Public Works Board to issue up to $144 million in bonds for capital improvement projects. Because of the poor economy, there’s not much in the way of new construction. Most of the revenue will be used for maintenance and repairs.

Projects that will be constructed include an $8 million regional medical center at High Desert Correctional Center in southern Nevada.

Also Friday, the Assembly went along with Senate amendments to a bill that steps up state record-keeping to help keep guns away from the mentally ill. Under AB46, any court records on mental competency, insanity pleas, forced admissions to mental health facilities or appointments of a guardian for someone deemed to be incompetent would be forwarded to the state’s central repository for crime records.

Among the bills on the latest list of bills signed into law by the governor was SB162, which moves the date of Nevada’s mid-August primary elections to early June.

Gibbons also signed:

” AB10, which protects nurses against retaliation for disclosing problems that endanger patients at hospitals or othermedical facilities.

” AB102, which allows Nevada, the nation’s No. 1 gambling state, to have special court programs for problem gamblers charged with crimes such as passing bad checks, embezzlement, forgery, insurance fraud, or even robbery or assault.

” AB149, a measure aimed at ending the downward spiral of home foreclosures in Nevada, which has the highest foreclosure rate in the nation. The bill mandates good-faith mediation between lenders and borrowers.

” AB151, which would require mortgage brokers to include a disclosure document that lists the lender’s license number, and would require financial institutions to include a document that states the value of the home and the terms of the loan in “language that is easy to understand.”

” AB162, which requires both public and private health insurance companies to screen and provide treatment for autism spectrum disorders up to a cap of $36,000 a year. The requirement goes into effect in 2011.

” AB229, requiring “fire-safe” cigarettes that would self-extinguish if left unattended. Proponents say cigarette-related blazes are the nation’s leading cause of fire deaths in homes.

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