Nevada Legislature: Senate exempts school construction from prevailing wage law

On an 11-9 party-line vote, the Nevada Senate Monday exempted school construction from the state’s prevailing wage law.

Senate Bill 119 also exempts university construction projects worth more than $100,000 from the requirement and allows school districts to extend voter-approved bonds for an additional 10 years without going back to the voters for approval.

The prevailing wage requirement sets hourly wage minimums for a long list of professions that opponents argue are arbitrarily much higher than what those same workers are paid on the open market.

Sen. Greg Brower, R-Reno, described the measure as “a very modest reform,” far less than, as Democrats on the floor have charged, “gutting” prevailing wage laws.

“This is a compromise bill,” he said. “We in the majority are not trying to gut the entire prevailing wage law.”

But Sen. Ruben Kihuen, D-las Vegas, said SB119 “is sending the message to working people of Nevada that we don’t care.”

Sen. Joyce Woodhouse, D-Las Vegas, urged members to amend the prevailing wage exemption out of the measure and simply pass the bond extension portion of SB119.

In the end, all nine Democrats present voted against the bill while the 11-member Republican majority unanimously supported it.

The legislation moves to the Assembly for consideration.


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