The ACLU of Nevada and the Nevada Policy Research Institute are calling on Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro to allow the Senate to vote on Assembly Bill 420, which has yet to be heard despite having passed the Assembly by a 34-6 margin.
The bipartisan, supermajority of lawmakers who voted for AB420 in the Assembly include Assembly Majority Leader Jason Frierson and Minority Leader Jim Wheeler.
AB420 would reform Nevada’s civil asset forfeiture process, which allows police to seize — and directly profit from — personal property based on the mere suspicion of criminal wrongdoing. In certain instances, neither a criminal charge nor conviction is required for forfeiture to apply. Such laws upend due process and are known to be rife with abuse. Further, NPRI’s own research has illustrated that forfeiture has a disparate impact on marginalized communities.
“Protecting Nevadans’ civil rights is not a partisan issue,” ACLU of Nevada Executive Director Tod Story said. “We commend Majority Leader Frierson and Minority Leader Wheeler for voting in favor of AB420 and ask that Senate Majority Leader Cannizzaro act swiftly to ensure her colleagues have a chance to vote for AB420 as well.”
The current, amended version of AB420 reflects a compromise between proponents of forfeiture reform and law enforcement, and would likely pass the Senate with bipartisan support. However, the bill has yet to advance in the Senate, creating questions about Majority Leader Cannizzaro’s reluctance to hold a vote before the Legislature adjourns this Monday.
“AB420 would ensure all Nevadans have the full protection of due process, as is their fundamental right,” NPRI Policy Director Robert Fellner said. “We would like to thank Assemblyman Steve Yeager for advancing AB420 and ask that Majority Leader Cannizzaro ensure the bill receives a vote in the Senate immediately.”