The Nevada Legislature consists of 42 members of the Nevada Assembly and 21 members of the Nevada Senate, elected from districts in the November of even-numbered years to determine the laws of this state in sessions that meet in Carson City in the February of odd-numbered years. The members elected last November have started filing bills for the session. These bills are intended, by their author, to be considered in the Legislature in committees, revised, amended, passed by both Houses and signed by the governor, at which point they become law.
Senate Bill 33 would clarify existing laws criminalizing sexual acts for prisoners. Sexual acts, including masturbation, between a prisoner and another person, including other prisoners, is already a Category D felony. This new law adds a required intent: “If the act is unauthorized and committed with the intent to abuse, appeal to or gratify the sexual desires of a person.” The bill also adds a list of several specific acts, including requiring another person to expose himself or herself, fondling, kissing, caressing, or watching a person bathe, use the toilet or change clothes, or attempting, threatening or requesting to engage in these acts.
Prison rape is a very serious issue. We owe the people we incarcerate protection from sexual assault, as both a human rights issues and as a public health issue, since HIV and other diseases are sadly so prevalent in prisons. Additionally, when there is an existing criminal statute, like there is in this case, it’s usually an improvement to add specific intent, as it makes the statute less vague. However, facing criminal charges is less likely to deter someone already in prison. Additionally, a person engaging in mutual consensual masturbation could get another felony sentence, adding to a person’s prison time for a harmless act. If the Legislature wants to address prison rape, it should do so in a way that puts the onus on the state to prevent rape, instead of on people already incarcerated.
Assembly Bill 43 clarifies the law regarding credits that prisoners can receive for good behavior or other positive acts while incarcerated. Under the proposed law, the prisoner may only receive enough credits to expire his or her current sentence.
Assembly Bill 30 would make searches on the online sex offender registry, as well as the contents of a sex offender’s registration with law enforcement agencies, confidential. When a person is convicted of a sex offense in Las Vegas, his or her name and information is available to the public. Currently, the state is to log all requests for information on the registry. This law removes that requirement, meaning, if convicted of a sex offense and put on the online registry, there will be no log of when people searched for your information. Additionally, the bill clarifies that the information a sex offender gives when registering with local law enforcement agencies is confidential, and not available to the public.
Assembly Bill 55 would make it an enhanced crime to conspire or attempt to commit murder, assault, battery, robbery, sexual assault or other crime against a person older than 60 years old or who is otherwise vulnerable. Currently, if a person is convicted of actually committing any of the crimes against a person older than 60 or who is vulnerable, the convicted person could face an enhanced penalty. Under the proposed law, if a person conspires or attempts to commit any of the acts, he or she could also face the enhanced penalty.
I’ve previously discussed, on this blog, a Bill Draft Request by Assemblyman Tick Segerblom for a bill that would address growhouses for medical marijuana. The BDR has not resulted in a filed bill yet, but there is still plenty of time for that to happen.