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Minimum wage proposal would change Nevada Constitution

Updated May 10, 2017 - 2:31 pm

CARSON CITY — A proposed amendment to the Nevada Constitution to raise the minimum wage saw support from education and opposition from business during a Senate committee hearing on Wednesday.

Ruben Murillo, president of the Nevada State Education Association, testified in support of the bill and said that parents who do not earn a living wage affect their children’s ability to do well in school. A lack of nutritious food and an inability to participate in their children’s education because they work more than one job are factors, he said.

Randi Thompson, Nevada state director with the National Federation of Independent Business, testified in opposition to the resolution.

“Small business is the engine that is driving Nevada’s economic recovery, creating 60 percent of net new job growth,” she said. “Smaller companies make up 98 percent of Nevada’s employer base and compose more than 43 percent of Nevada’s total jobs base of nearly 1.34 million. I fear this bill will impact the very businesses who are creating those jobs.”

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 the minimum wage is $12. It would also require the state minimum wage to be set at the federal rate if that rate is higher.

The measure would have to be approved by the Legislature twice, this session and again in 2019, and then be approved by the voters in 2020, before it could take effect.

Nevada’s current minimum wage is $7.25 an hour for employees who are offered health benefits from their employers, or $8.25 an hour without health insurance.

The resolution was heard by the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee, which took no immediate action. Another measure that would raise the minimum wage through state statute is also still alive in the Legislature.

Senate Bill 106 would raise Nevada’s minimum wage more quickly, by 75 cents per hour each year until it reaches $12 an hour without insurance and $11 if insurance is provided.

Contact Sean Whaley at swhaley@reviewjournal.com or 775-461-3820. Follow @seanw801 on Twitter.

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