Three new laws passed in first 40 days of 2017 legislative session

2017 Nevada Legislature. (File photo: Sinclair Broadcast Group)

Three bills became laws in the first 40 days of the 2017 state legislative session, after Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval signed three veteran's services bills Wednesday.

All three bills were introduced by Sandoval's office, received bipartisan support and passed both houses unanimously.

Sandoval's office received a bill Thursday that would establish automatic voter registration at the Department of Motor Vehicles. He has until Wednesday night at midnight to sign or veto the bill, according to a spokeswoman.

"The Governor, among other issues, does have concerns with requiring individuals to "opt out" of compulsory voter registration and the unintended consequence of possibly registering individuals who are otherwise ineligible to vote," wrote Sandoval spokeswoman Mari St. Martin in a statement.

The Assembly is expected to vote to adopt the Equal Rights Amendment Monday after the Senate passed it 13-8 on party lines on March 1.

Republican Assemblyman Ira Hansen said lawmakers have wasted too much time on "superfluous" measures such as the ERA.

"I think we've done a lot of stuff here frankly that's symbolic for the folks out there that are liberals, progressives," Hansen said.

"Education, the budget, taxation, those are critical issues for the state. I think those should get the priority, not the stuff that's merely symbolic and political and advantageous to the majority party."

Democratic Assemblywoman and majority floor leader Teresa Benitez-Thompson said ratifying the ERA would be significant.

"We're going to be sending a good, hearty statement from Nevada to our nation's capital about exactly what we think about women being equal and there being parity in law for women," Benitez-Thompson said.

At the 40-day mark of the 2015 legislative session, 11 bills had become laws, according to the Legislative Counsel Bureau's research division.

At the same point in 2013, the Governor had signed two bills into law.

Monday is the deadline for lawmakers to introduce their bills.

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