LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — New state laws go into effect on Oct. 1 including a $1,000 limit on up-front payments for home improvement projects, regulations on the sale or possession of catalytic converters and big changes to insurance laws that are causing concern for business owners.
Bills that passed this year and were signed into law by Gov. Joe Lombardo didn’t all go into effect immediately. Many of them had effective dates of Oct. 1, and some others don’t begin until Jan. 1, 2024.
In all, more than 100 new laws go into effect on Sunday, Oct. 1. Here are some of the noteworthy changes:
CONSUMER PROTECTION: After too many stories of home improvement rip-offs, lawmakers gave consumers some help with Assembly Bill 39 (AB39). The law bars contractors from charging more than $1,000 upfront — unless they post a Consumer Protection Bond with the Nevada State Contractors Board. If the whole job is less than $10,000, the down payment can only be 10% of the total. AB39 applies to work performed at single-family residences. It cuts some of the risk for homeowners, and the state has produced a “contract checklist” to help consumers know their rights.
INSURANCE CHANGE: AB398 introduces a lot of uncertainty into the Nevada market for insurance, taking legal fees out of the equation. That means insurance companies are going to re-evaluate policies, and perhaps charge more for separate coverage for legal fees. Under current law, a $100,000 liability policy might only pay $60,000 to the consumer because there were $40,000 in legal fees. AB389 says that’s not allowed — the policy amount is the policy amount. There are predictions that some companies will just decide they’re not doing business in Nevada anymore. In any case, a lot of policies are likely to change, and insurance companies are required to provide 60 days notice that the policy will be altered or non-renewed.
I CAN’T BREATHE: Although Metro police say its current policies make Senate Bill 362 (SB362) unnecessary in Las Vegas, lawmakers changed state law to make sure all police departments listen and act to get medical assistance when a person is in distress. SB362 also allows the Department of Motor Vehicles to adopt regulations to give drivers the option of indicating a medical condition with a symbol on their license that can be easily identified and expedite an appropriate medical response. It’s voluntary on the driver’s part. SB362 also addresses an odd practice reported in other states in which police have “weaponized” music clips — playing copyrighted music while interacting with the public — to prevent video sharing on YouTube. That hasn’t happened in Nevada, officials said.
SEXUAL ASSUALT: SB321 establishes the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights. It prevents law enforcement from using evidence collected in a sexual assault investigation to prosecute the victim on other criminal charges. DNA collected from a sexual assault investigation may not be added to databases that are stored or exchanged with other law enforcement agencies.
ANIMAL CRUELTY: SB269 prohibits restraining a dog for more than 10 hours during a 24-hour period. It also eliminates some exceptions to rules related to boarding facilities.
CATALYTIC CONVERTERS: SB243 gives law enforcement the tools to stop catalytic converter thieves, establishing common-sense restrictions on possession of the devices. Before this law, police were unable to arrest suspects unless they were caught in the act of stealing a catalytic converter. Starting Oct. 1, you’ll need to sign a statement that you own the device and abide by strict record keeping requirements for sales. SB243 sets up the framework for tracking sales to licensed scrap metal processors.
ELECTION WORKERS: SB406 puts protections into place for election workers, making it a category E felony to threaten or try to use force, intimidation, coercion, violence, restraint or undue influence in an attempt to interfere or retaliate against them. It’s also against the law to disseminate personal information of an election worker with the intent to bring harm to them.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ARRESTS: The law requiring police to make an arrest within 24 hours of a domestic violence call gets an important update, now allowing police seven days to make an arrest. AB51 is crucial, supporters say, because it’s too easy for offenders to hide for a day to elude police. The change means police won’t need to obtain a warrant if the arrest is made within a week.
ID CARD RULES: AB135 contains several changes to help the homeless obtain identification, and provisions of the new law also include the 988 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number on school IDs. Homeless youth (under 25) can have a one-time waiver on fees for DMV ID cards.
REPORTING SEX TRAFFICKING: AB183 requires child welfare workers to screen children for signs of sex trafficking — “commercial sexual exploitation.” This is already happening in Clark County and Washoe County according to testimony presented to lawmakers, but standard screening methods are now going out to rural counties.
FENTANYL LAWS: SB35 establishes the amount of fentanyl that constitutes trafficking and high-level trafficking. Fentanyl doses are so small — and potentially deadly — that existing drug trafficking laws rarely allowed charges that were more serious than possession. The new law sets fentanyl trafficking thresholds: 28-42 grams for trafficking and 42-100 grams for high-level trafficking (both category B felonies).
STATE EV CONVERSION: AB262 mandates a preference in state purchases for vehicles that minimize emissions and have lower costs over the life of the vehicle. It also requires the Fleet Services Division to keep records on the fuel used by each vehicle. While it doesn’t explicitly require the purchase of electric vehicles (EVs) in every case, AB262 declares that it’s the state’s goal to transition to “zero tailpipe emissions by 2050.”
TRICK DRIVING: AB408 gives police the authority to tow vehicles involved in trick driving displays. If the vehicle is helping to facilitate a trick driving display, it’s also subject to towing. AB408 contains several provisions related to towing companies.