Asking state agencies to give plenty of notice when making or changing rules no small matter to Main Street
NFIB/Nevada State Director Randi Thompson reports from Carson City on the small-business agenda as of May 30.
While there are a few hearings still this week, most of the major bills have been heard and are awaiting floor passage. NFIB expects the session to end midnight, June 5, as required by law. Although there are still big issues to address, legislators should be able to get them done.
Big NFIB Regulatory Victory
NFIB worked with Sen. Heidi Gansert on developing legislation that would ensure small-business participation in the regulatory process. Her Senate Bill 160 went on to pass both houses of the Legislature and was signed into law by Gov. Brian Sandoval. The new law requires state agencies to post on their website a new or revised regulation three working days before that regulation’s consideration at a hearing. The law also requires an agency to provide at least three working days’ notice of its intended action before holding a second or subsequent hearing on a regulation. The new law takes effect July 1, 2017.
Regulations are no small matter for small business. Of the 75 issues NFIB measures every four years and publishes in its Small Business Problems & Priorities report, “Unreasonable Government Regulations” came in second in 2016, a three-point jump from its fifth place in 2012. In a special poll just on regulations that NFIB conducted in 2017, about 28 percent of small employers cited compliance costs as their largest regulatory issue followed by 18 percent citing the difficulty of understanding what they must do to comply. Seventeen percent find the extra paperwork required as their biggest issue. The balance of the results includes time delays regulations cause, limits placed on actions you want to take, and other reasons. The poll also found that one-third of small employers have had a government official enter their place of business to inspect or examine their records and/or licenses or otherwise check on their compliance with some government requirement.
The minimum-wage increase bill (Senate Bill106) and the paid leave bill (Senate Bill196) are still alive and are continually being “teased” as the trade-off for Governor Sandoval to ensure funding for Education Savings Accounts (ESAs).
Other bad-for-business bills are still alive and could be included in a trade for ESA’s, but the entire business lobby is united in telling the governor’s office and Republicans in both houses to please NOT throw business under the bus to fund ESAs. SB 106 and SB 196 will come down to the wire.Tim Wulf, chairman of NFIB/Nevada’s leadership council, signed an opinion piece against raising
Tim Wulf, chairman of NFIB/Nevada’s leadership council, signed an opinion piece against raising the minimum wage that ran in The Nevada Independent, which can be read here.
Bad-For-Business Bills Still Alive
NFIB continues its fight against the following bills (updates in bold):
- Senate Joint Resolution 6 proposes to amend the Constitution to increase the minimum wage starting in 2021 to $9 an hour, then annually by 75 cents until it reaches $12 an hour. The resolution also contains a provision that an employee who prevails in any legal action that shows the employer failed to pay minimum wage to be awarded triple damages. Awaiting a vote on the Senate floor.
- Senate Bill 106 would raise the minimum-wage rate by 75 cents a year until the hourly pay reaches $12. It passed the Senate on a party-line vote. It passed the Assembly Commerce Committee on a party-line vote and is awaiting a vote in the full Assembly.
- Senate Bill 196 would require that any business with 25 or more employees that has operated in the state for one year to give workers at least 24 hours, the equivalent to three work days, of paid leave a year. Additionally, an employer may limit the accrual of sick leave to a maximum of six days. It has passed both houses on a party-line vote and has been sent to the governor to either sign or veto. The governor must sign or veto a bill within five days, which would be this coming Friday, June 2.
- Senate Bill 397 would impose new penalties for “equal pay” complaints and opens up employers to more lawsuits. It has passed both houses on a party-line vote and was sent to the governor. He has until Friday, June 2, to sign or veto it.
- Assembly Bill 175 would require an employer to offer hourly minimum-wage employees a bronze-level insurance plan, in order for that employer to qualify for using the lowest minimum-wage rate of $7.25 an hour for their compensation. Current law basically says you can offer employees any insurance policy an employer wants, and if they don’t accept it, the employer has the option to pay $7.25 an hour because they rejected the insurance coverage. Passed the Assembly on a party-line vote and is being heard in Senate Commerce Committee May 31.
- Senate Bill 253 essentially codifies into state law the Federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act. It would require employers with 15 or more employees to treat pregnant employees and applicants for employment as other employees and applicants who have similar abilities or limitations. The Act covers all aspects of employment, including hiring, firing, promoting and providing benefits and protects against discrimination of a person who is pregnant. The bill passed the Senate unanimously and passed the Assembly 34-7. It will likely be signed by the governor.
Bills Helpful for Small Business
- Assembly Bill 94 would repeal the prospective expiration of the NV Grow Program. This will allow for continued support of the Small Business Development Centers at UNR and UNLV, organizations that provide great resources to entrepreneurs and start-up companies. This bill is exempt from deadlines. It was passed out of the Assembly Taxation Committee and was heard in the Ways and Means Committee last week.
- Assembly Bill 281 would allow a business whose Nevada gross revenue is $4 million or less annually to file its tax form at the same time as it renews its State Business License. This will streamline the state registration process for more than 100,000 small businesses. This bill is exempt from deadlines and was passed out of the Taxation Committee and sent to Ways and Means.