The full Nevada Legislature meets very odd-numbered year. The 78th Assembly ended June 1, 2015, with some significant small-business victories. The next regular session of the Legislature will convene Feb. 1, 2017. There are interim legislative committee meetings in between.
Stopped a minimum wage increase
Senate Bill 93 started out as a way to fix Nevada’s antiquated overtime bill, but it was amended to increase Nevada’s minimum wage by 75 cents. Several NFIB members provided testimony and letters showing that increasing minimum wage leads to an increase for all wages, not just those being paid minimum wage, and that increasing it actually hurts part-time and young workers disproportionally. The overtime portion of the bill was watered down during the session, and NFIB, along with other business groups, fought to kill the bill that would have hurt all businesses in Nevada.
Exempted small businesses from the new Commerce Tax
Reducing taxes on entrepreneurs is a critical for NFIB, and we fought hard against the commerce tax that was created in the 2015 Legislature. While we opposed the tax, we fought to ensure that small business would not be hurt by it and supported exempting the first $4 million of a business’ revenue from the tax. We also supported eliminating the payroll tax on the first $200,000 of a business’s payroll.
Improved Nevada’s Construction Defect Law
Nevada had the worst home construction defect law in the nation, and it has affected not just companies that build homes, but the many businesses that support that industry, such as landscapers, electricians, window installers, realtors, and even insurance providers. This bad law has increased the price of homes and forced dozens of businesses around the state to close. NFIB supported Assembly Bill125 that stopped the practice of allowing attorneys to automatically collect fees and extort money from contractors and subcontractors by threatening them with writing a check or going to court — whether or not they had anything to do with the defect. The bill also changed the definition of a “defect” and reduced the ability for class action suits that had historically benefitted attorneys and not homeowners. NFIB members have already reported a reduction in their insurance rates with the passage of this bill.
Pushed for business liability reform
Nevada’s civil litigation system has discouraged businesses from moving here, as well as hurt businesses based in Nevada. Excessive liability damage and punitive awards are counter-productive to Nevada’s economy. NFIB supported many tort reform bills in the 2015 session, including Senate Bill134, which placed limits on surety bonds for small business, and Senate Bill160, which changed the trespass liability laws to better protect business owners.
Protected independent contractors and the businesses that hire them
Protecting a person’s ability to be self-employed is a key issue for the NFIB. NFIB was a strong supporter of AB224, a bill that better defines who is an independent contractor. The bill will help protect businesses and individuals who chose to work together on a contractual rather than an employment basis by providing a clear definition for “independent contractor.”