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Prevailing Wage Bills Gets Thru NV Assembly Committee

A Nevada Assembly committee on Tuesday passed a bill that would extend school construction bonds and suspend prevailing wage requirements for school projects, shortly after killing it in a split vote.

A motion to advance SB119 to the floor of the Assembly without a recommendation failed on a 7-7 vote. But the Assembly Government Affairs Committee reconsidered the measure later in the morning and two Republican opponents — Assemblymen Glenn Trowbridge and John Moore — switched to "yes" vote. The measure then passed 8-6.

The Republican-sponsored bill would give school boards the authority to continue issuing construction bonds for 10 years beyond the time period approved by voters, although districts would not be allowed to raise property-tax rates to pay debt service on the bonds. Included in the bill is a provision removing prevailing wage, a sort of minimum wage for contractors, for the school construction jobs.

Democrats and unions are strongly opposed to the prevailing-wage provision, saying it would gut the paychecks of middle-class workers and give jobs to out-of-state contractors.

But the bill also has opponents on the other side of the political spectrum.

Several Assembly Republicans said they were concerned that the bond-rollover provisions could be seen as a tax increase, which is why committee chairman Assemblyman John Ellison called for a vote to move the bill without a recommendation to the floor of the Assembly. Ellison said Assembly Republicans were planning to review the bill in private and bring forth any possible amendments on the floor.

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