A bill introduced in the Nevada Senate on Tuesday would make it easier for local governments to change contracts with their unions during economic downturns.
SB168 would allow local governments to go back to the bargaining table during a financial emergency, and it defines a financial emergency as general fund revenues falling 5 percent or more year-over-year.
Existing law requires unions and governments to agree on when such a situation exists.
“There are no words that define fiscal emergency,” said Sen. James Settelmeyer, a Minden Republican who is sponsoring the bill. “Sometimes people don’t agree.”
The bill also shields three months’ worth of local government reserve funds in financial emergencies, up from one month.
It prevents arbitrators from considering those reserves when deciding whether a local government can pay out previously negotiated pay raises and other union contract provisions.
Settelmeyer said local governments may be setting those reserves aside for other projects, and paying them out could put them in a precarious position.
The measure was referred to the Senate Government Affairs Committee, but it has not yet been scheduled for a hearing.