After 120 days, the 2017 Legislature adjourned sine die. Our business community did not need additional and unnecessary regulations and mandated increases in employer costs and reporting requirements. That’s why throughout the session, the Metro Chamber’s Government Affairs team was on the ground in Carson City every single day to make sure your voice was heard. We know that most businesses do not have the time or money to do this on their own – that’s why they need the Chamber.
This session started with some very challenging bills that would have imposed significant costs and burdensome regulations on businesses – including small businesses. Some of these proposals failed to take into consideration the consequences of what would happen to businesses, as well as employees in Nevada – proposals such as a hike in the minimum wage and the associated costs that would have resulted, mandatory paid sick time off, and laws that would have given too much and overly-broad power to regulatory agencies to find for discrimination charges and assess potentially excessive costs and penalties. The Metro Chamber ensured that any associated costs with these proposed bills, as well as the impacts on businesses and employees, was taken into consideration.
These bills and others would have burdened employers with more regulations, costs and reporting and resource requirements, ultimately hurting employees with job cuts. Finally, at a time when businesses are starting to gain some ground post-recession, with optimism in the air, these measures would have been a harmful set back to business profitability and growth, as well as morale.
The Metro Chamber’s Government Affairs team was in the State Capitol, relentlessly fighting these measures, every day. With more than 1,000 bills introduced, the Metro Chamber tracked 560 of them and testified on well over 100. By end of session, your Chamber’s Government Affairs team spent more than 1,300 hours at the Legislature protecting you.
We made sure lawmakers heard why these proposals would hurt employers and jobs in Southern Nevada; for example, what added costs would be imposed that weren’t readily apparent from reading the bills, the real-life consequences that would result based on expected impacts on real businesses in Nevada, and the great potential harm of the cumulative effects of various pieces of proposed legislation. Our job was to make sure legislators understood what would happen to jobs and the economy if these bills passed – which we were able to explain based on surveys and lots of conversation we had with businesses in Southern Nevada, like yours.
The Metro Chamber and its Government Affairs Committee took its role as “the voice of business” seriously in other ways as well. Protecting businesses from burdensome legislation required not only engaging in the process with legislators and staff and other officials every day; it also required working hard as the convener and central point of information for other business and trade organizations in the state, to ensure that the vast business community within the state was speaking with one voice as much as possible. With the Metro Chamber taking on this responsibility to maintain coordination and communication, this allowed the broader business community to present a unified front on several business issues.
And the Metro Chamber was there for the “end game” as well – working to make sure we were always nearby when help was needed and decisions were being made.
We made the commitment to keep you informed on the latest activity in Carson City that could potentially impact you. Through the Carson City Calls, the Paul Calls, the weekly Rundown, the Business Voice, video messages from Kristin McMillan and the Government Affairs team, and our up-to-the-minute social media posts, we made sure you had the opportunity to stay informed.
Nothing matters more to legislators than hearing from you. When we issued calls to action, you stepped up. Your feedback was invaluable – you helped us illustrate to lawmakers the harmful consequences of these proposals. You helped amplify the voice of business, whether contacting a legislator directly, testifying or engaging on social media.
Your voice helped the Metro Chamber ensure that these types of legislation which would have adversely impacted employers failed and did not become law. Nevada’s business community is better off with that outcome because of our efforts, engagement and work done in Carson City.
There were some good bills that passed, as well, that will help Southern Nevada grow and prosper. Southern Nevada Forum priorities such as planning money for the College of Southern Nevada and Nevada State College Health Sciences Building and $38 million in funding for the UNLV Medical School to help cover construction and operational costs were passed. These initiatives will help us train more doctors and expand our healthcare sector, which is good for economic growth. The Metro Chamber thanks Governor Brian Sandoval and those legislators that stood with Nevada’s employers.
While the 2017 Legislature is over, the Chamber’s job of looking out for you isn’t done We continue to be your champion – vigilant at the local and federal government levels about proposals that could harm our economy and your business.
Click here to view the bills that the Metro Chamber engaged on your behalf during the legislative session. Please note some bills are pending final review and action by the Governor. Thank you for your engagement and support.