AB 47 – Revises Provisions Related to Unfair Trade Practices
The office of the Attorney General introduced AB 47 in the first few weeks of session with the intention to limit non-compete agreements in situations the office felt were unnecessary. Met with strong opposition from the business community, there have been multiple redrafts of AB 47. Currently, the Chamber is part of a work group to uphold the bill’s original intentions while making the language palatable to the business community. Updates will come as hearings are scheduled.
AB 190 – Sick Leave
While there has not yet been a hearing, the Chamber will likely oppose AB 190, a bill similar to AB 90 from the 2019 session that ultimately did not pass. At the time, the Chamber opposed the bill and suggested language change from “sick leave” to “paid leave.” The concern from a business perspective is that it would have led to employers having to ask their employees for private medical information, a request that directly violates HIPPA laws and created confidentiality concerns in document retention. This language would need to be changed for the Chamber to be supportive of this measure.
AB 207 – An Act Related to Public Accommodations
The Chamber opposes AB 207 which would provide that certain businesses offering goods or services through an Internet website, mobile application, or other electronic medium are places of public accommodation. Essentially, this could affect small businesses with an online establishment component and has the potential to put them out of business. Because the language is vague, the bill could encompass so many organizations that it would be hard to regulate and put a strain on many business entities.
SB 24 – Workforce Development
While the Chamber has not yet taken a stance on this issue, with some minor language changes, we could be supportive of this bill. SB 24 revises requirements governing the approval of a program of workforce development by the Office of Economic Development and revises provisions governing the administration of the Workforce Innovations for a New Nevada Account. This is good news for the business community that has been concerned with funding for economic development on the heels of the pandemic.
SB 141 – Revises Provisions Related to Public Works
In 2007, the legislature authorized construction companies to use the CMAR delivery method, a system that expedites projects due to its efficiency. Because there was a sunset clause in this bill, the expiration date was changed again in the 2013 session to be in 2021. Now, SB 141 intends to eradicate the sunset clause altogether. The industry is incredibly supportive of this measure as is the Chamber. There was a hearing this week where there was overwhelming support of this bill. More updates will follow once this measure is voted on.
Links to all bill language, proposed amendments, scheduled meetings and legislators serving on various committees are available to the public via the State of Nevada’s NELIS website.
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President Signs $1.9 trillion COVID Relief Package; Restaurants and Bars to Find Financial Relief
Yesterday, President Biden signed into law the $1.9 trillion COVID relief package (“American Rescue Plan”). There are several aspects of the package that will provide financial support from increasing the child tax credit amount, providing stimulus payments to individuals, approving a $300 per week unemployment insurance, as well as providing aid to municipalities. At the Chamber, while we are generally focused on all aspects of bringing our economy back together, we are also focused on the package’s impact to business.
For those members who own small businesses such as restaurants, taverns and bars, the new package will include nearly $30 million for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, a need for which the Chamber has actively advocated on behalf of its members since the onset of the pandemic and in response to state business closures and restrictions. The fund will provide grants to eligible entities based on their “pandemic-related revenue loss.” Eligible entities include “restaurant, food stand, food truck, food cart, caterer, saloon, inn, tavern, bar, lounge, brewpub, tasting room, taproom, licensed facility or premises of a beverage alcohol producer where the public may taste, sample, or purchase products or other similar place of business in which the public or patrons assemble for the primary purpose of being served food or drink”, subject to other restrictions. The fund will be available through the Small Business Administration (SBA). As it stands, applications to apply are not yet set up on the SBA portal, but are expected to publish soon.
Finally, we at the Chamber strongly encourage your small business to investigate a first draw or perhaps additional draw opportunities to the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) as the program will phase-out on March 31. Contact your local bank or lender for details, or if you are looking for a participating lender, we encourage you to reach out to our Chamber lenders directly.
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Supporting strategic investments that encourage economic growth and recovery while reducing regulatory burdens and other roadblocks are at the center of the Henderson Chamber of Commerce’s advocacy conversations. In fact, the Chamber has served as the definitive voice of local business for more than 75 years and continues to pursue this important work on behalf of our more than 1800 member businesses throughout Southern Nevada.
This year alone, the Chamber has partnered with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, out of Washington D.C., to support recovery efforts for businesses here in our community, including: COVID-19 liability protections, deadline extension of the Paycheck Protection Program, support for transportation and infrastructure funding, and support for “Natural Gas. Natural Advantage” – a program that looks into common sense energy strategies.
More than letters, the Chamber continues its outreach to our Nevada Delegation members using its annual federal policy platform as a tool to move conversations forward. Thanks to the hard work of the Chamber’s Issues Committee and task force members championing the issues of business, the Chamber recently released its 2021 Federal Policy Platform.
Senator Cortez Masto Introduces Lands Bill in Washington D.C. March 3, Supports Henderson Development Association Work
For more than five years the Chamber’s Issues Committee and Henderson Development Association, which operates under the umbrella of the Chamber, has advocated for the passage of a federal lands bill that will provide local government with more authority as to how to develop and conserve lands to best meet the needs of Nevadans and our rapidly growing population. This work has been in partnership with Nevada’s federal delegation, members of the Clark County Commission, the City of Henderson Mayor and Council, as well as local stakeholder groups.
Last week, the bill (Southern Nevada Economic Development and Conservation Act) was introduced to the senate floor by Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (Nev.).The bipartisan legislation will protect more than 2 million acres of public land for conservation and recreation while allowing Clark County to develop affordable housing and responsibly plan for population growth projections through balanced economic development.
“This legislation is a win for Southern Nevada as it will enable local governments to provide direction as to how lands are used for smart development to diversify our economy. This diversification will lead to a more vibrant economic environment and drive enrollment towards our colleges and career training programs for students who are looking for new career opportunities. The bill also allows our community to address housing needs as lands are currently limited. In sum, the legislation increases our regional competitiveness, which attracts other industries to the area. We are grateful to Senator Cortez Masto for working with our organization on this long-term discussion and for bringing this bill forward,” said Scott Muelrath, President and CEO, Henderson Chamber of Commerce and Henderson Development Association.