Domestic violence, child screening bills get Nevada Assembly OK, advance to Senate

Domestic violence, child screening bills get Nevada Assembly OK, advance to Senate

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LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Two important tools for law enforcement took a big step forward on Thursday, getting unanimous approval on the Assembly floor and advancing to the Senate. Here’s what each of those bills does:

Expanding time frame for domestic violence arrests

Assembly Bill 51 (AB51) has been hailed as legislation that will save lives, expanding the window when people can be arrested in domestic violence cases. Currently, police have 24 hours to make an arrest before they have to obtain a warrant.

Advocates for AB51 have said suspects just go into hiding for a day before they show up at the scene of the crime again. It’s a situation that puts victims in a desperate situation with no real protection.

Serena Evans, policy director for the Nevada Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence, testified for AB51 when it was presented in late February. “Victim survivors feel a very valid and real terror,” she said, and the 24-hour arrest window leaves victims to fend for themselves.

AB51 extends probable cause in domestic violence cases to seven days.

Nevada ranks No. 7 in the nation for domestic violence and domestic violence deaths, according to information provided by Nicole Reilly, ombudsman for domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking at the Nevada Attorney General’s Office.

Child sexual exploitation screening

Assembly Bill 183 (AB183) makes it mandatory for child welfare agencies to screen children to determine if they are victims of commercial sexual exploitation — sex trafficking. The reality in Clark County is that this is already happening, but the bill would make it mandatory and expand the reach of the program by determining a common screening process.

Bottom line, fewer children will slip through the cracks. Mandatory reporting to appropriate law enforcement agencies is included in the legislation.

The children that would be screened are often in the facilities because they are being evaluated for needs for mental health services or substance abuse services.

Both AB51 and AB183 passed on 42-0 votes on Thursday. Now they just need approval from the full Senate before going to Gov. Joe Lombardo for a signature. The bills were among 20 that received approval from the Assembly on Thursday.

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