June 22, 2023
Carson City, NV – Today, Nevada Attorney General Aaron D. Ford thanked the State Legislature and Gov. Joe Lombardo for working with the Office of the Attorney General in passing the office’s legislative priorities.
“I am extremely proud of the work my office and my staff did in the leadup to the legislative session and during the recent months in Carson City,” said AG Ford. “I want to thank the Legislature and Gov. Lombardo for working with my office to ensure that every single one of our crucial legislative priorities were passed. With our legislative accomplishments this session, we’ve expanded our office’s ability to investigate organized retail crime; we’ve taken steps to further protect domestic violence victims and survivors; we’ve ensured law enforcement has the tools it needs to crack down on fentanyl trafficking; and we’ve protected both children and the elderly. Those are just a few of the priorities that our office succeeded in passing through the Legislature.”
During his tenure as attorney general, AG Ford has viewed the ultimate goal of his position as ensuring justice for all Nevadans — instituting the motto “Our Job is Justice” soon after taking office. To that end, AG Ford has based his priorities on what he calls the “Five Cs”: consumer protection, constitutional rights, criminal justice and reform, client service and community engagement. These priority areas were kept in mind when drafting legislation for the 2023 Legislative Session and when working with lawmakers through sine die.
For example, the Office of the Attorney General sponsored multiple bills dealing with criminal justice and reform in order to make the system work better for the safety and security of all Nevadans. Some of the bills passed with his priority in mind include Assembly Bills 50 and 51 and Senate Bills 35 and 36.
- Assembly Bill 50 amended Nevada law to specifically add authority for the Office of the Attorney General to investigate organized retail crime in the state. The Office of the Attorney General will now be even more of an active partner in the fight against organized retail crime and will work together with other law enforcement agencies and retailers to curb this worrying trend.
- Assembly Bill 51 made it easier for law enforcement to respond to domestic violence incidents. Before this bill’s passage, law enforcement could arrest someone who has committed misdemeanor domestic violence within 24 hours of the offense, whether or not a warrant had been issued, if the officer determines there was probable cause. Under Assembly Bill 51’s provisions, the length of time is extended to seven days.
- Senate Bill 35 reduced the weights involved in fentanyl trafficking offenses. Under the bill’s provisions, a low-level fentanyl trafficking charge now constitutes from 4 grams to less than 14 grams; a mid-level fentanyl trafficking charge ranges from 14 grams to less than 28 grams; and a high-level fentanyl trafficking charge can be made against a person in possession of 28 grams or more. The bill is carefully crafted to avoid a repeat of the failed “war on drugs” and represents the product of extensive work with various stakeholders.
- Senate Bill 36 requires a psycho-sexual evaluation for anyone convicted of Solicitation of a Child for Prostitution. This bill will also allow prosecution and defense to jointly request a psycho-sexual evaluation in any felony or gross misdemeanor or plea.
AG Ford also considered the priority of consumer protection often when drafting bills for the 2023 session. Bills that passed changes to laws that will help protect Nevada consumers include Assembly Bill 53 and Senate Bill 61.
- Assembly Bill 53 imposes a civil penalty on a tobacco retail licensee if that business sells tobacco or vapor products to those under 21. This bill adds another tool to cut down on underage tobacco consumption. The Office of the Attorney General already regularly conducts random, unannounced inspections of businesses selling tobacco or nicotine products to ensure these businesses are complying with age restrictions. These businesses are subject to inspection at least once every three years, and OAG officers conduct inspections year-round.
- Senate Bill 61 provides that the mere fact that a bank account is held jointly does not preclude criminal charges against a person for exploitation of an older or vulnerable adult. Previously, criminal intent had to be proven at a very narrow point in time for a theft charge to be brought against a person for removing money from an account that person shared jointly with another. Under the changes brought by SB61, if a person is on a joint account with a senior or an adult with a disability and later exploits that access for financial gain, they can be charged with a crime.
Other priorities, such as community engagement and client services, were realized in bills such as Senate Bill 37, which allows government attorneys to participate in pro bono mediation, and Assembly Bills 13 and 52, which amended the Nevada Whistleblower Protection Act and made changes to the state Open Meeting Law, respectively.