Assembly Bill 47
Revises provisions relating to unfair trade practices.
Legislative Summary: AB 47 as originally introduced provides the Office of the Attorney General with additional oversight and authority as it relates to restricting the use of non-compete agreements, the extensive review of mergers and acquisitions within all industries and additional regulations relating to the healthcare industry. It would also allow a three-year period for a lawsuit to be filed against the employer, the existing standard in Nevada is a two-year period.
The Vegas Chamber opposed the bill as introduced because of the restrictions placed on the use of non-competes by employers, the broadness of the authority the office would have with mergers and acquisitions and the burden it would place on the healthcare industry.
Primary Bill Sponsor: Assembly Committee on Commerce and Labor
Assembly Bill 124
Revises provisions relating to employment.
Legislative Summary: AB 124 would ban an employer’s ability to ask wage history from applicants as part of the potential hiring process. The bill would allow for a class action lawsuit to be filed against employers by prospective applicants and the recovery burden would be placed on employers as well.
Regarding the premise of the bill, the Chamber has no issue with the intent and supports efforts in addressing pay equity. The Chamber supports the principle that there should be equal pay between employees for equal work regardless of gender. However, the Chamber opposed the bill because of several provisions of the bill that would negatively impact the state’s legal climate for employers.
Primary Bill Sponsor: Assemblywoman Bea Duran
Assembly Bill 146
Revises provisions relating to water.
Legislative Summary: AB 146 would set additional, more stringent requirements on how the State Environmental Commission and the State Department of Conservation and Natural Resources manage and prescribe controls to mitigate water pollution from diffuse sources, and more specifically monitor and mitigate the effects on historically disadvantaged communities.
AB 146 also proposes wide ranging changes to the requirements for permitting and mitigation that affect the mining industry, as well as small local water authorities. Because of the sweeping nature of this bill, it is unclear how current state and federal laws such as the Nevada Water Pollution Control Law, the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Clean Water Act would interact with the legislation as written. Additionally, it is unclear how the proposed legislation would interact with the regulatory authority of the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection, more specifically their regulation of mining permits.
Due to the uncertainty and additional layers of bureaucratic compliance added to this bill that ignores current long standing requirements for groundwater antidegradation, the Vegas Chamber is opposed to AB 146.
Primary Bill Sponsor: Assemblywoman Sarah Peters
Senate Bill 184
Creates the Office of Small Business Advocacy within the Office of the Lieutenant Governor.
Legislative Summary: AB 184 creates the Office of Small Business Advocacy within the Office of the Lieutenant Governor. Per AB 184, the Office of Small Business Advocacy would provide support to small businesses by helping to answer questions, field complaints, provide clarification on regulations as they take effect and review interactions and guidance provided by state regulatory agencies. Additionally, the Office of Small Business Advocacy would be responsible for gathering data on the operations of small businesses, the effects of rules and regulations, and suggesting pro-business legislation to address concerns.
The Chamber supported the bill as establishing the Office of Small Business Advocacy would provide tangible support to small businesses throughout the state who are struggling to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The Vegas Chamber is in strong support of AB 184.
Primary Bill Sponsor: Speaker of the Assembly Jason Frierson
Assembly Bill 190
Provides certain employees with the right to use sick leave to assist certain family members with medical needs.
Legislative Summary: AB 190 would require a private employer regardless of employee count that provides employees with sick leave to allow an employee to use accrued sick leave for an absence due to an illness, injury, medical appointment or other authorized medical need of a member of the employee’s immediate family members. The bill defines immediate family members as a child, foster child, spouse, domestic partner, sibling, parent, mother-in-law, father-in-law, grandchild, grandparent or stepparent of an employee; or any person for whom the employee is the legal guardian.
The Chamber is neutral on the bill as it does not mandate for employers to provide sick leave to employees. The Chamber does not have an issue with the expansion of the sick leave definition as many employers have been transitioning to Paid Time Leave policy because of the greater flexibility it offers for employees.
Primary Bill Sponsor: Assemblywoman Shannon Bilbray-Axelrod
Assembly Bill 222
Revises provisions governing employment practices.
Legislative Summary: AB 222 would codify and expand the current tort policy that has been set forth by the Nevada State Supreme Court as it relates to retaliatory employment practices and whistleblowers protections. The bill expands protections to employees who only report the alleged conduct to their supervisor or employer. The bill would also require employers to prove that an employee engaged in “gross misconduct” as the justification for termination if they had reported a whistleblower complaint. The fire able offenses for gross misconduct would be limited to theft, fighting, intoxication and criminal activity.
The Chamber opposed the bill because of the broadness of the be good faith standard. The legal remedies especially that only the employee would be entitled to recover legal fees is unbalanced. The significant shift in burden to the employer and expansion of tort claims beyond current remedies is a concern.
Primary Bill Sponsor: Assemblywoman Selena Torres
Senate Bill 128
Directs the State Treasurer to conduct a study concerning publicly funded scholarship and grant programs in this Nevada.
Legislative Summary: SB 128 would require the State Treasurer to contract one or more independent consultants to conduct a comprehensive review of the effectiveness of publicly funded scholarship and grant programs and their recipients. Reviewing the scholarship and grant programs' efficacy is an important benchmark for every program to succeed continually.
The Chamber has been supportive of and will continue to support scholarship and grant programs in Nevada. This bill would optimize financial assistance programs for students within higher education.
Primary Bill Sponsor: Senator Moises Denis
Senate Bill 165
Establishes provisions relating to Esports.
Legislative Summary: SB 165 would create a commission for Esports. With the growing popularity of Esports and an increasing amount of dollars being spent to promote, conduct and host Esports competitions, SB 165 seeks to address the unique regulatory framework that distinguishes them from more traditional sporting and gaming events.
The Vegas Chamber testified in support of this legislation as it serves to promote tourism and economic development in a new segment of the entertainment economy.
Primary Bill Sponsor: Senator Ben Kieckhefer
Senate Bill 202
Revises Various Provisions Relating to Education
Legislative Summary: SB 202 would allow the State Board of Education to adopt computer coding as a foreign or world language, which students would receive credits for. The coding language will help our students gain a better understanding of technology and how it shapes our world and can work with technology around them. Also, this bill emphasizes the importance of investing in STEM initiatives. Adopting computer coding as a credible foreign language in our schools is imperative for our Nevada students to excel in the future and the future workforce. There is an escalating number of businesses that depend on computer code, not just those in the technology sector.
With a current shortage of computer science professionals, engineering professionals, product developers, software professionals, and system integrators, the Chamber believes the influx of coding in the schools prepares students for real-life circumstances and sets them up for a strong move into the workforce and is supportive of SB 202.
Primary Bill Sponsor: Senator Ben Kieckhefer