Nevada Child and Human Services

Nevada Bills passed 2021 Government and Social Services

Our lawmakers in Carson City passed numerous bills governing all areas of the law in their 2021 session, even during the pandemic they were hard at work. Many of these laws focused on Government and Social Services. Our legislature was busy addressing many inequities based upon race and socio-economic position. They updated our laws to provide expanded services for disabled people and allowing homeless youth to make their own health care decisions. coverages to address these disparities. The following is a summary of the Open Government bill and the laws governing social services  that were passed by our Nevada legislature during the 2021 session.

Open government

Senate Bill 77:This Bill exempts from state Open Meeting Law certain pre-decision and deliberative public meetings involving National Environmental Policy Act proceedings. This bill is intended to allow local officials to discuss the bill before the open government groups begin. Specifically, the law is amended as follows:

Section  1. Chapter  241  of  NRS  is  hereby  amended  by  adding thereto a new section to read as follows:
 1. A  public  body  that  has  entered  into  a  memorandum  of understanding  or  other  agreement  with  a  federal  agency  for  the purpose  of  engaging  with  the  federal  agency  on  an  action  under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, 42 U.S.C. §§ 4321 et seq., may hold a closed meeting to engage in predicational and deliberative  discussions  on  the  subject  of  the  memorandum  or agreement. Any such discussions in a closed meeting must:  

(a)  Occur  only  during  the  period  before  the  federal  agency publicly  releases  the  document  addressing  the  action  under  the National Environmental Policy Act and begins the corresponding
public comment period; and  

(b)  Be  required  by  the  federal  agency  to  be  kept  confidential under the memorandum of understanding or other agreement. 

2.    If a public body holds a closed meeting pursuant to subsection  1,  the  public  body  shall  not  include  any  item  in  the discussions  for  the  closed  meeting  other  than  the  subject  of  the  memorandum or agreement entered into with the federal agency.

Effective immediately.

Social services

Assembly Bill 62: This Bill allows the state treasurer to seek private donations to fund start-up ABLE savings accounts before the age of twenty-six to save money in a specific account for Nevadans with intellectual or developmental disabilities. The ABLE Act allows individuals who were previously deemed to be disabled to open accounts and not jeopardize the government benefits they desperately need. Before this act was passed, a person with a disability who relied on benefits provided by the government to survive, such as SSI and Medicaid, could lose those benefits if they had more than $2,000.00 .  The loss of those benefits could mean the loss of housing, employment, transportation and other critical benefits that they receive. The ABLE Act allows people with disabilities to save money and feel more secure without being penalized.

 Effective April 21, 2021.

Assembly Bill 138: Reverses the law that made those convicted of felony drug crimes ineligible for federal food or family assistance. Unfortunately, there are hundreds of thousands of Americans who are currently serving time for drug offenses in our country. Some statistics say it is more than a half-million people. For many of these citizens, leaving prison with a felony conviction on their record creates an added level of difficulty in re-entering society. A 1996 federal law blocks felons with drug convictions from receiving welfare or food stamps unless the individual states choose to waive the restrictions.

The ban that was imposed did not apply to those  with convictions for any other crimes. These bans on public programs were put into  place as part of a sweeping reform of the nation’s welfare system in the 1990’s at a time when the “war on drugs” was in full swing. Two decades later, many states are rethinking this position and trying to help people released from prison for drug conviction re-enter society and  become productive citizens. The goal is to reduce the likelihood they will return to prison.

Since 1996, 18 states have reversed these  restrictions on food stamps, also known as the “Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program” and  allow people with certain types of drug felonies to be eligible those benefits. While states can make changes to welfare and food stamp policy, it primarily falls to the federal government to remove the hurdles that released drug felons face in receiving various government benefits for education, nutrition  and housing assistance.

In 2006, the federal government opened college grants and loans to those convicted of a drug felony which reversed a 1998 policy. However, if someone is convicted of a drug crime while receiving aid, they will lose the aid until they complete treatment or prove sobriety which seems perfectly reasonable if the program is also paid for by the government. Otherwise, they are back at square one and likely to recommit a crime.

 Effective July 1, 2021.

Assembly Bill 197: Authorizes minors who do not live with their parents or legal guardian to consent to certain health services for themselves or their children. The need for this bill reflects a very sad issue facing our community.  There is a rising trend of homeless youth in Southern Nevada. I was shocked to learn that our state  ranks fourth in the nation in total number of unaccompanied homeless youth. In addition, sadly, Nevada ranks first  in the nation in rates of Unsheltered Unaccompanied Homeless Youth. The rate of unaccompanied youth (aka homelessness) in Southern Nevada  is greater than the state as a whole and far exceeds the national average (24.7% compared to 6.54%). Another shocking fact is that 2,794 minors were rescued from human sex trafficking by Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department from 1994 through 2016. This is a number that shocked my conscious. The need to allow minors to make their own decisions will continue to grow in all areas of the law as long as these numbers exist.  

These numbers have been on the rise for the past several years .  Recent data from Clark County School District (CCSD) shows  that this trend  of an increasing youth homeless population has gone unabated in Southern Nevada. CCSD data reports show that the number of families with children and unaccompanied youth who identify themselves as homeless has gone up over the years from 9,284 children in 2013-2014 to almost 11,000 children in the 2016-2017 school year.  There are many organizations trying to help these kids including the following: 

Shannon West Homeless Youth Center

               1640 E Flamingo Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89119 

                Phone(702) 526-4990

Hearts 4 Angels Ranch/Shelter For Homeless Teens

               3960 Howard Hughes Pkwy Suite 508, Las Vegas, NV 89169

               Phone(702) 660-5240    

               Street Teens

                    5599 S Pecos Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89120

                     Phone(702) 215-4171

If you are able to help in anyway, these organizations are allowing taking donations to help these homeless youth.

Effective May 27, 2021.

Assembly Bill 406: This bill requires casinos to withhold casino gambling winnings from parents who owe child support. Although this law seems good on paper, enforcement may prove to be very difficult. There are thousands of parents who owe child support, and the statute requires that the paying entity have notice of the child support lien. The statute does not provide for the creation of a central data base that the casinos can access to check if child support is owed by the winner. Until there is a way for this to be conveyed to the casinos in Nevada, this will be a difficult provision to enforce.

Effective October 1, 2021.

At, we are here to serve our community and provide legal services in the Henderson and Las Vegas area. We are a boutique law firm providing experienced and personal representation to injured clients. At the Law Offices of Laura Payne, we provide professional and personal service to each and every one of our clients on various legal matters and have over 15 years of experience in reviewing insurance policies and in Nevada insurance law.   If you have a question regarding any type of personal injury or paying your medical bills from an accident, please do not hesitate to call the offices of and speak directly to attorney Laura Marie Payne, Esq. a Henderson Injury Attorney for over 15 years. Laura is recognized as one of Nevada’s Top 100 Lawyers. She has the experience and knowledge to obtain the maximum settlement you deserve. Please call our office if you or a loved one is injured. We can make sure that you receive the care you need and deserve and advise on how to preserve evidence. 

At our office, we are experienced in helping injured victims get the compensation to which they are entitled. Insurance companies never have the best interest of the injured person at the top of their priorities. They want to pay as little on every claim as possible. Having worked for an insurance company as an attorney for 9 years before opening my boutique law firm specializing in helping injured people, I have reviewed thousands of auto accident claims and policy provisions. 

At the Henderson and Las Vegas Accident injury law offices of, Laura Marie Payne, Esq. and her staff are here to help you and your family in the event that accidents and tragedies occur.  For any of your legal needs, do not hesitate to contact our Henderson and Las Vegas Accident injury offices. is a boutique, family-owned law firm that specializes in helping injured people and the community of Las Vegas and Henderson Nevada with legal issues involving auto accidents, wrongful deaths, slip and falls, truck accidents, injuries to children, bicycle accidents, dog bites, product liability claims, and all types of injury claims. Please do not hesitate to call us anytime you have a legal question or you or a loved one has sustained an injury at 702-450- 4868 and text 24/7 at 702-600-0032.