- Associated Press - Friday, January 1, 2016

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - The new year brings new rules for Nevadans. Here’s a look at some of the 50 laws that hit the books, either in whole or in part, on Friday.

SAMPLE BALLOTS VIA EMAIL

Casting a ballot online remains out of the question, but voters may soon be able to access a sample ballot through email or a website. AB94 authorizes city and county clerks to come up with systems for electronic sample ballots, allowing voters to choose whether they want a paper copy or a virtual one.

PLAYTIME AT DAYCARE

Childcare facilities will be required to include moderate to vigorous physical activity in their schedules, and limit sedentary activities for children. The bill, AB152, doesn’t spell out how much active playtime children should have but directs state or local health boards to adopt regulations on the matter.

YELLOW DOT PROGRAM

Lawmakers directed Clark County to start a Yellow Dot Program, which aims to give first responders a heads-up about a person’s medical needs in the event of a car crash. Under the program, drivers place a large yellow sticker on their car window alerting first responders that information about the occupants’ medical needs and insurance is in the glove box. The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada has already started distributing kits that include the stickers.

TEACHER PERFORMANCE PAY School districts must set aside a pot of money to give performance-based bonuses to at least 5 percent of teachers and administrators. Existing law required districts to set up a merit pay system, but the new law, AB483, goes further by requiring a separate account for the bonuses that can’t be swept away by union contracts.

CALL IT CRASH, NOT ACCIDENT

Parts of Nevada law that refer to car “accidents” will be reworked to say “crash.” The change, authorized by SB188, aims to send a message that many car crashes are preventable and drivers should take responsibility for keeping the roads safe.

VETERAN DRIVER’S LICENSE

Veterans will have an easier time showing off their status on their driver’s licenses. Previously, veterans who wanted the designation on their license had to present a specific certificate documenting they were honorably discharged from the service. SB209 loosened that requirement, allowing veterans to show any documentation of honorable discharge that the Department of Motor Vehicles finds satisfactory.

CURBING PRESCRIPTION DRUG ABUSE

State officials already keep a database of certain drug prescriptions to help flag abuse, but SB288 tightens the rules to ensure more doctors are using it. The bill requires doctors who prescribe medications to get training on how to use the database, rather than simply allowing them to access the database and get training if they choose.

HEMP FOR RESEARCH

Colleges with proper permission from the state will be able to grow hemp for research purposes. SB305 eased up on a law that largely barred the cannabis plant in the state. Hemp is derived from the plant but is generally used for products unrelated to marijuana, such as oil and cloth.

POLITICAL GIFT DISCLOSURES

Does a lawmaker need to disclose when they take a fact-finding trip on a lobbyist’s dime? SB307 aims to clear up the ambiguity by creating a special category for educational trips and requiring lawmakers and lobbyists to publicly report them. The law would be more lenient about educational travel, such as a trip to Israel that included policy workshops, than it would be about gifts, such as a recreational cruise to the Bahamas.

COLLEGE SAVINGS TAX CREDIT

Businesses can get a tax credit if they match their employees’ contributions to a Nevada college savings plan. SB412 allows a credit up to $500 in a business’s tax bill per year, per employee who’s contributing to a plan.

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