Assembly passes bill that suspends prevailing wage on school construction projects in Nevada

IndustriesAssociated Press

The Nevada Assembly on Thursday passed a partisan bill loathed by Democrats that suspends a requirement to pay prevailing wage rates on school construction projects.

The bill, which now heads to the governor for consideration, was approved a day after the Assembly passed an emergency measure extending bond funds for such construction.

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The Assembly approved the wage bill, SB 119, on a mostly party line vote of 23-19, with Democrats and two Republicans voting against the measure.

Assembly Democrats decried Republicans for pushing through a bill that would essentially end a set minimum wage for contractors on school construction projects.

"There is nothing in this bill that protects Nevada workers," Assembly Minority Leader Marilyn Kirkpatrick said on the Assembly floor. "This is a disappointment for me."

Republicans said the bill would save money and open school construction to the free market.

Assemblyman Pat Hickey, R-Reno, said the bill would help the state better manage costs, and the Legislature could revisit the law in two years.

"I believe we're also helping the taxpayers today," he said.

SB119 is a two-part bill that also would extend school construction bonds beyond the term approved by voters as a way to ease overcrowding.

Democrats and a number of Republicans pushed through an emergency version of the bill after it became bogged down by opposition from Assembly Republicans.

The emergency bill signed into law Wednesday included the bond rollover but removed the prevailing wage portion over fears that it the two-part bill wouldn't pass.