UPDATE: In a 17-3 vote, the State Senate approved marijuana consumption lounges in Nevada.
If the assembly concurs with an amendment, the bill will head to the governor’s office.
Original Story: Marijuana consumption lounges are one step closer to a reality in Nevada. The assembly passed AB341 on a 29-12 vote, Thursday. The bill's sponsor says the move would help visitors who come to Nevada and buy marijuana.
"People come and they purchase it and there's nowhere they can consume because most of them are staying in gaming properties or hotels that don't allow it and you're not allowed to consume it in public," Assem. Steve Yeager, D-Las Vegas said.
If the senate passes the bill and the governor signs it into law, dispensary owners could open a consumption lounge at one of its facilities. A cap of 20 independent companies could also open a dispensary in their own building. 12 republicans voted against the bill and four were in favor.
"I have supported some passage of bills that regulate this industry but this was one that I felt promoted it further and it was something that I just wasn't comfortable with," Assem. Jill Tolles, R-Reno said.
The assembly passed AB126, Wednesday. If successful, the bill would replace Nevada's presidential caucus with a primary election. It would also move the contest up to February, making it the first in the nation to vote.
Budgets are starting to move through the legislative process. The K-12 education budget passed the senate and assembly. It is the largest in the state's history, including $2.6 billion from the General Fund and $6.2 billion from the State Education Plan Account. This is the first budget that will fund the new Pupil-Centered Funding Plan Account.
"I think it's a very good bill as far as being able to fund education in the state. We hit about a little over 10 grand a student," Assem. Maggie Carlton, D-Las Vegas said.
"I am very happy that we are continuing to invest in education because it's our future," Tolles said. "Everything that we do in this state really in some way or another ties back to education."
The assembly passed AB492 to pay for capital improvement projects. Along with some transportation and construction projects, it also includes some renewable energy plans and money for nonprofits to build things like food bank warehouses.
"Capital improvement projects are critical across our entire state to make sure that we're funding our infrastructure, critical maintenance and repair needs in our buildings across the state as well as some exciting new projects," Tolles said.
"That is our jobs bill. If you would've ever told me that CIP would be the most fun bill but you get to build things, you get to fix things, you get to grow things," Carlton said.
The assembly passed AB493 which will fund salaries for state employees. Both bills still need a vote from the senate. The senate is preparing to vote on SB459, the authorizations bill. The assembly will likely vote on AB494, the appropriations bill, Friday.