March 19, 2021
We have now made it to the 7th week of the Nevada Legislative Session with 74 days left until the end. There was supposed to be a large number of bills introduced on March 15th because that was the bill deadline, but due to COVID-19 this deadline has been extended to March 22. Despite this, we still have a few very important bills to go over.
AB116 from Assemblywoman Nguyen was heard this week and this bill aims to decriminalize minor traffic offenses. As it stands now, any unpaid traffic fine, whether it be for speeding or a broken tail light, could put someone in jail in Nevada. Traffic fines are very expensive and can be upwards of $400. For many people, this is not something that they can afford, especially anyone facing financial difficulties from the pandemic. AB116 will make it so we are no longer filling up our prisons with those who cannot afford to pay a traffic offense on time. This bill received a broad base consensus.
Another bill heard this past week was SB144 from Senator Spearman. This bill was made to change the HOA (HomeOwners Association) foreclosure process. Many people may not be aware of this, but if you live under an HOA and have an excess amount of fees and fines, the HOA can foreclose your home. Even if you are caught up on your mortgage payments, they still have the right to do this. Your house could go up for auction so the HOA will get the money. This primarily affects communities of color ability to build generational wealth because homeownership is the usual way that they do that. If we take a look at the communities that live in Nevada zipcodes with the highest rates of HOA foreclosure, it is overwhelmingly Black and Hispanic people living there. SB144 will create an online portal that will provide people with access to view all their possible fines and easily pay them there. It will also make it so foreclosure must go through the judicial process and have free mediation provided by the state of Nevada. This bill is very important for keeping Nevadans in their homes.
Some bills introduced this week were: AB321 and AB332. AB321 by speaker Friarson will permanently expand the ability for Nevadans to use mail-in ballots. This creates greater access to voting and more efficiency. This bill is an extension of AB4 which allowed for mail-in ballots due to the pandemic, but AB321 seeks to have mail in ballots as a permanent part of the Nevada voting process.
AB332 by Assemblywoman Peters will create a landlord registry. The registry will be made through the Nevada Housing Division and will collect information on landlords and the properties they rent out. This will be an essential tool for us in the future by giving us public data to assess what we need to do to provide more protections and rights for tenants. As of right now, we are relying on the stories and accounts of those affected by unfair housing treatment, so this registry will give us irrefutable data to use to help tenants.
A bill being heard on March 24 is SB218 from Senator Ratti. It is an overall tenant’s rights bill that deals with predatory fines/fees, fees hidden in leases, security deposits, and providing a grace period to those who are on fixed incomes. This bill is important for once again helping impoverished people stay in their homes.
Something we should all pay attention to is that the eviction moratorium implemented by the CDC expires March 31st. This means that on April 1st Nevadans can and will start being evicted from their homes at an alarming rate. It is estimated that at least 5,000 Nevadan residents will be left homeless. Please help us prevent this by showing your support for AB141 and AB161. The passing of these bills will make all the difference in countless people’s lives. This is the time to support those who are vulnerable as much as possible and make sure no Nevadans are left behind. Show your support for these two bills and other bills mentioned here.