New laws, legislators and U.S. Congress members in Nevada

January 11, 2017

There will be some new laws in Nevada as a result of ballot measures passed by voters in the 2016 general election. In Washoe County, we are going to see a sales tax increase due to the passage of WC-1 on the November ballot. Nevada also bucked the national GOP trend in the last election, voting for Hillary Clinton and returning control of both houses of the Nevada State Legislature to Democrats. Former Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto was elected over Joe Heck to fill the U.S. Senate seat of retiring Harry Reid. Nevada State Senator Ruben Kihuen beat incumbent Crescent Hardy for U.S. House of Representatives District 4. Both of the winners are Democrats.

WC-1 – Washoe County School District Capital Projects Funding Ballot Question
Passed. Authorizes the Washoe County Commission to impose a sales and use tax of 0.54 percent to fund only capital projects of Washoe County School District for the acquisition, construction, repair and renovation of school facilities. WC-1 increases the Washoe County sales tax rate from 7.725 percent to 8.265 percent, the highest in Nevada. The increase will likely be implemented in April, 2017.

State Question No. 1 – Expand Gun Background Checks
Passed. The measure requires firearm transfers to go through a licensed gun dealer for a background check. Temporary transfers and transfers between immediate family members are exempted from the measure.

(Update: The Nevada Attorney General has ruled that the measure is unenforceable since the FBI is refusing to do background checks due to lack of funding. Several Nevada sheriffs have said they will not enforce the law until the situation is resolved.)

State Question No. 2 – Legalize Recreational Marijuana
Passed. The measure legalizes and taxes the recreational use of one ounce or less of marijuana by individuals at least 21 years of age. Recreational marijuana stores won’t be open until various regulations are in place, estimated to be around the end of 2017. Medical marijuana was already legal in Nevada. There are numerous medical marijuana dispensaries in the Reno region.

State Question No. 3 – Establish an Open Electric Energy Market
Passed. Adds language to the Nevada Constitution requiring an open, competitive retail electric energy market that eliminates energy monopolies.

State Question No. 4 – Medical Patient Tax Relief
Passed. Requires the Legislature to exempt sales and use tax on durable medical equipment, oxygen delivery equipment, and mobility enhancing equipment prescribed for use by a licensed health care provider.

Sources: Nevada Secretary of State, Washoe County Registrar of Voters, Reno Gazette-Journal, Politico.

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