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Sisolak signs measures on prevailing wage, public construction

CARSON CITY — Minimum wage bills passed in the Assembly and Gov. Steve Sisolak signed measures on prevailing wage and public construction into law Tuesday, while lawmakers also heard a new education funding bill and set a Wednesday morning hearing for reworked gun control legislation in another busy countdown day for the Legislature.

Assembly Joint Resolution 10 and Assembly Bill 456 both passed on straight party line votes, 28-12, and now move to the Senate. The first measure proposes constitutional changes on how the state minimum wage is set and raised in the future. It would go to voters if lawmakers approve it again in 2021. The other bill would raise the minimum wage in stages starting in January until it reaches $12 an hour.

The state’s minimum wage currently is $7.25 if an employer provides health coverage, and $8.25 if not. AJR 10 would also do away with the two-tier system.

Assemblywoman Maggie Carlton, D-Las Vegas, speaking in support of AJR 10, cited her other occupation working for a non-profit sustained by grants. “And we can afford to pay a living wage, benefits and retirement,” she said. “If you value your employees, you’re going to put your money where your mouth is.”

Republicans voted no as a bloc.

“Instead of passing this legislation, we need to continue to foster a business friendly environment that creates high quality and high-paying jobs,” Assembly Minority Leader Jim Wheeler, R-Gardnerville, said in opposing AB456.

Later in the day, Gov. Sisolak held a signing ceremony for Assembly Bill 136, which restores full prevailing wage rules for public construction projects, and Senate Bill 231, which removes restrictions on unionized workers on such projects. Both bills reversed actions taken by the Republican-controlled Legislature in 2015.

In remarks, the governor said the bills aimed at “ensuring our economic recovery reaches every kitchen table in every working household in this state.”

Other actions of the day:

Assembly Bill 291, a broad-based gun control measure reworked in the past week, was set for a hearing Wednesday. Bill advocates Tuesday decided not to incorporate school safety provisions from another bill and will keep the two measures separate. The revised bill would ban bump stocks, which increase the rate of fire of semiautomatic weapons, add stricter laws on safe gun storage and a provision to take away guns from potentially dangerous people.

A scheduled Tuesday hearing on Senate Bill 551, which extends a business payroll tax to provide nearly $100 million to education, got pushed to Wednesday. The measure restores money for school safety, programs for underperforming students in lower-income parts of the state, and $4 million to pre-kindergarten programs.

Contact Bill Dentzer at bdentzer@reviewjournal.com or 775-461-0661. Follow @DentzerNews on Twitter.

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