State lawmakers act on mandate from Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak to expand workforce development and labor-friendly legislation in the state
Nevada’s historic 80th legislature adjourned last week after 120 days of deliberation and debate on more than 1,000 bills—passing nearly 500 of them. Among those that passed were three important bills for Nevada’s union building and construction trades. All three bills, which have now been signed into law by the governor, are exciting first steps toward increasing and improving the skilled labor pool in Nevada’s construction workforce.
Introduced and carried by Nevada State Assemblyman Jason Frierson, Assembly Bill 136 corrected prevailing wage cuts made by state Republicans in 2015. Those cuts set prevailing wages for school construction projects to 90% of established prevailing wage, raised the threshold for projects from $100,000 to $250,000, and made charter schools exempt from prevailing wage laws. The 80th legislature reversed those cuts, ensuring that all public school construction workers on projects of $100,000 or more will receive 100% of local prevailing wage.
Why it’s important: AB136 directly impacts Nevada’s construction workforce, putting more money in the pockets of the hardworking men and women that build our public schools. That money not only benefits current construction workers, it increases interest in building and construction careers, which a) helps address shortages in the construction workforce, and b) improves the quality of candidates, which raises the standards of school construction for everyone.
Introduced by Nevada State Senator Chris Brooks, Senate Bill 207 requires contractors award public works projects to employ one or more apprentices for a minimum percentage of the total hours worked on those jobs, and requires contractors to enter into apprenticeship agreements for all public works projects in the state of Nevada.
Why it’s important: SB207 increases the overall number of apprentices working on public works projects in Nevada, which boosts the benefits and impacts of registered apprenticeship programs in the state and their contribution to the overall development of a skilled workforce in Nevada.
Introduced by Nevada State Senator Chris Brooks, Senate Bill 231 eliminates language intended to discourage public entities from hiring or awarding tax abatements, financial grants, or exemptions to contractors with labor unions agreements. That language, implemented in 2015, negatively impacted Nevada’s registered apprenticeship programs and undermined the state’s skilled labor market.
Why it’s important: SB231 struck anti-worker and anti-union language from legislation surrounding public works projects, which strengthens project labor agreements, increases the state’s skilled workforce training programs and retention, and keeps more construction dollars in the community.