2021 Nevada Legislature – Changes for Public Employers
June 9, 2021
On May 31, 2021, the Nevada Legislature ended its 81st Session with the passage of many bills affecting Nevada’s employers. Below is a summary of new laws that may impact public employers. For each, we have provided a link to Nevada’s legislative website where you can view the final text of the bill (click on “As Enrolled”). If you have questions about these bills, please contact a KZA attorney.
AB 253 – Open Meeting Law. This bill amends NRS Chapter 241 to authorize a public body to conduct a meeting using a remote technology system. It also simplifies the public notice requirements for a public body’s meetings and changes a testifying witness’ privilege to a qualified privilege. Finally, it changes how certain agencies in the State’s Executive Department give notice of an intent to act upon a regulation. This bill became effective on June 2, 2021.
AB 385 – Compensation of Public Officers/Employees. This bill amends NRS Chapter 281 to prohibit a public body from entering into an employment contract that entitles an officer or employee to receive a bonus (unless it is based on merit and awarded at a public meeting) and any fringe benefit to which others in similar positions are not entitled. The bill restricts what a public body can pay an officer or employee who is terminated for cause or resigns during a pending investigation and sets forth certain payments and benefits to which an officer or employee is entitled to upon termination of employment. This law becomes effective December 1, 2022.
SB 294 – Local Government Collective Bargaining. This bill changes dispute resolution procedures for local government employers and employee organizations (other than firefighters, police officers, teachers, and educational support personnel) by removing the option to form a panel to determine whether a fact finders’ findings and recommendations should be final and binding upon the parties and allowing either party to submit findings and recommendation to a second fact finder to serve as an arbitrator and issue a final and binding decision. It becomes effective on July 1, 2021.
SB 51 – State Employees and Sex/Gender Harassment. This bill prohibits an employee of the Executive Department of the State Government from engaging in sex or gender based harassment, requires the adoption of a harassment policy for such employees, and creates a Sex or Gender Based Harassment and Discrimination Investigation Unit within the Division of Human Resources Management of the Department of Administration. The bill further sets forth the Unit’s responsibilities. This bill became effective on June 3, 2021.
SB 212 & AB 396 – Law Enforcement Use of Force. Senate Bill 212 amends Nevada’s deadly force statute, NRS 171.1455, and requires each law enforcement agency to adopt a written policy and provide training regarding the use of force against certain individuals. The bill limits the use of a restraint chair to certain conditions and procedures and requires a law enforcement agency to adopt a written policy regarding such restraints. The bill also addresses a peace officer’s actions in relation to a protest or demonstration. It further requires each law enforcement agency to submit reports involving use of force and complaints and to participate in the National Use-of-Force Data Collection of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Many of these changes become effective October 1, 2021.
AB 396 also amends NRS 171.1455 to limit the persons authorized to use deadly force to a peace officer and require that for deadly force to be used, the threat of serious bodily harm must be imminent. These changes become effective July 1, 2021.
AB 304, 336 & 409 – Peace Officers. Each of these bills require the Peace Officers’ Standards and Training Commission to adopt or amend regulations to expand training and hiring requirements for peace officers. AB 304 expands a requirement for mental health continuing education courses to include topics on crisis intervention. AB 336 requires a new standard for an annual behavioral wellness visit for peace officers to aid in preserving the emotional and mental health of the peace officer and assessing conditions that may affect the performance of duties by the peace officer. AB 409 requires evaluations during recruitment and selection of peace officers to identify implicit bias.
AB 315 – Mental Health Assistance. This bill amends NRS Chapter 281 to require the employer of a police officer, firefighter or correctional officer to make available during the course of employment information relating to the awareness, prevention, mitigation and treatment of mental health issues. It further requires such employers to provide such employees with 2 hours of mental health counseling within three months after retirement. This law becomes effective July 1, 2021.
AB 96 – Emergency Response Employees. This bill amends NRS 450B.340-450B.390 to allow a governmental entity that licenses and regulates emergency response employees to contract with a nonprofit organization to establish a program to provide peer support counseling to emergency response employees. It also expands the definition of “emergency response employee” to include emergency medical dispatchers and law enforcement dispatchers. This law became effective on May 25, 2021.
AB 220 – Law Enforcement and Mobile Devices. This bill amends NRS 289 to require every law enforcement agency to adopt a written policy on standards of conduct for the use of mobile devices issued by the agency to any peace officer for work use. The bill provides specific requirements for the written policy. It also prohibits a law enforcement agency from approving any mobile device that uses end-to-end encryption. This law becomes effective on October 1, 2021.
AB 55 – City of North Las Vegas Charter. This bill makes a variety of changes to the Charter of the City of North Las Vegas, including addressing what the City can do in relation to riots. It became effective on June 2, 2021.
SJR 8 – Equal Rights. This resolution, initially passed by the 2019 Legislature, proposes to amend the Nevada Constitution to add a new section to Article 1 that provides: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by this State or any of its political subdivisions on account of race, color, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, ancestry or national origin.” It only becomes effective if approved by the voters during the 2022 general election.
KZA Employer Report articles are for general information only; they are not intended and should not be construed to be legal advice. Reading or replying to such articles does not establish an attorney-client relationship. In addition, because the subject matters and applicable laws discussed in Employer Report articles are often in a state of change and not always applicable to every type of business entity or organization, readers should consult with counsel before making decisions based on the same.