CARSON CITY — A bill that would raise Nevada’s minimum wage moved forward on a 4-3 party-line vote Monday.
The Senate Commerce, Labor and Energy Committee passed Senate Bill 106 to the full Senate. If it wins approval there, it must still be heard in the Assembly.
Nevada’s current minimum wage is $7.25 an hour for employees who are offered qualified health benefits from their employers. The minimum wage for employees who are not offered health benefits is $8.25 per hour.
The bill would increase the minimum by 75 cents each year until it reaches $12 if employers do not offer health insurance and $11 if insurance is provided.
Supporters of raising the wage testified at a committee hearing in February that paying low-wage earners more would help lift them out of poverty and benefit the overall economy by giving them more buying power.
But opponents countered it would mean increased burdens for small businesses and lead to higher prices, job losses and fewer opportunities for young workers to gain work experience.
Nevada’s existing wage, if insurance is provided, is on par with Idaho and Utah, but lags behind California, Arizona and Oregon.
Another measure being considered seeks to amend the constitution to raise the minimum wage.
Senate Joint Resolution 6 would require the minimum wage to be increased by 75 cents an hour each year beginning on Jan. 1, 2022 until it reaches $12. It would also require the state minimum wage to be set at the federal rate if that rate is higher than what is proposed in the resolution.
The measure would have to be approved by the Legislature twice, this session and again in 2019, and then be approved by voters in 2020, before it could take effect.
Current minimum wage:
6 states have a wage of $10 or more, including California and Arizona.
12 states have a wage of $8.75 to $9.99
11 states have a wage of $7.50 to $8.74
19 states have a wage of $7.25 or they defer to the rate set by the federal government
2 states are below the federal minimum wage.
Contact Sean Whaley at email@example.com or 775-461-3820. Follow @seanw801 on Twitter.