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Nevada Applies Budget, Accepts Green Cards as ID in New Laws

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — The launch of recreational marijuana sales was not the only Nevada law to kick in over the weekend — a two-year, balanced budget went into effect and will send millions more dollars to needy students, while businesses were required to make it easier for some immigrants to prove their identities.

Here’s a look at some of the more than 300 laws that took effect Saturday:

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PAY RAISE FOR STATE WORKERS
Nevada state government workers got a 3 percent pay bump this weekend and are guaranteed a second 3 percent raise in July 2018. It is a fraction of what the employees asked for and will not return their benefits and paychecks to where they were before the recession, when the budget “was balanced on the backs of state workers,” union leader Harry Schiffman said.

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IMMIGRANT ID
Any Nevada business, government agency or court that accepts a state-issued identification card, such as a driver’s license, as proof of identification for a transaction or legal proceeding must now also accept green cards, which are issued by the federal government to lawful permanent residents.

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SCHOOL FUNDING
Nevada can begin divvying up a new pot of “weighted” school funding that builds on Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval’s 2015 education investments. State education officials are dividing $72 million among public schools not currently served by the 2015 reforms — $1,200 for each low-achieving student who is learning English or comes from an impoverished family.

It will be used to establish after-school programs, language tutoring, professional development and other strategies to help students who need extra attention. Some schools are expected to put the money to work by contracting with private and nonprofit organizations that have proven to the state they have a track record of success, including Communities In Schools, Pearson and Achievement Network.

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JUVENILE OFFENDERS’ RIGHTS
Nevada enshrined in law juvenile offenders’ rights to clean clothing, personal hygiene products, education and treatment with “basic human dignity and respect” at correction centers. Minors detained in state and local lockups are now also guaranteed religious accommodations and regular communication with family.

In a separate law championed by First Lady Kathleen Sandoval, the state will broadly expand data-gathering across the youth corrections system, require mental health screenings before final court judgments and establish tiered punishments for juvenile offenders who break parole.

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MOVE OVER, DRIVERS
Nevada is cracking down on drivers’ unsafe lane decisions. Drivers can now face misdemeanor charges if they fail to slow down or change lanes to avoid state Department of Transportation vehicles, or travel slower than the speed limit in the far-left lane on Nevada freeways.

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FAMILY PLANNING FUNDS
State health administrators can begin distributing $500,000 to local governments and nonprofit organizations like Planned Parenthood to provide birth control, pregnancy counseling and other family planning services. Another $500,000 will be awarded next year. State officials could use the funds to backfill a massive cut in federal aid to state-run health clinics in rural Nevada.

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