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Nevada Republican Threatened into Switching Prevailing Wage Vote; Bill Subsequently Tabled

Anderson, the alleged aggressor.

Anderson, the alleged aggressor.

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Nevada’s SB 119, which was written to simultaneously allow school districts to rollover school construction bonds and suspend prevailing wage requirements for school construction, has played out like an episode of Days of Our Lives, with the drama on high. After multiple hearings, Assemblyman Moore claimed this week that a member of his party threatened him and intimidated him into voting in favor of the measure. Following his “no” vote he filed a complaint with police and switched his vote to yes, moving the bill through the assembly.

The controversial bill experienced little support from Democrats who did not want the prevailing wage language included in the bill.  On Wednesday night, at last, they got their way:

The emergency bill, Senate Bill 207, was a quick replacement Tuesday for Senate Bill 119, which was stalled in the Assembly because of another provision that would have dropped the requirement that workers be paid prevailing wages for school construction projects.

SB207 doesn’t include that provision against prevailing wages. The measure passed 27-14, with only Republicans in opposition. Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, R-Las Vegas, was absent for the vote.

The level of contention is excluded from this story in part because of the murky nature of the sequence of events. SB 119 initially did not pass the assembly (the vote was 7-7), then did pass (the vote was 8-6), and then appears to have been abandoned; presumably due to the physicaly altercation Moore reported:

The bill passed the Senate with only Republicans in support on Feb. 16, after Democrats tried unsuccessfully to amend the bill to pass only the school-building portion.
Meanwhile, Democrats in the Assembly had much the same reaction. During a marathon hearing Feb. 26, Minority Leader Marilyn Kirkpatrick, D-North Las Vegas, summed their feelings, saying the bill encompassed two separate issues, and deserved two separate debates.

She almost got her wish.

On Tuesday morning, in the Assembly Government Affairs Committee, two Las Vegas Republicans (Glenn Trowbridge and John Moore) joined with minority Democrats to kill the bill, potentially threatening the Clark County School District’s ability to have seven new schools open in time for the 2017-18 school year.

In desperation, Senate Republicans introduced Senate Bill 207, the “clean” school-building bill that Democrats had sought from the beginning, stripped of the prevailing wage piece. It was quickly passed on a vote of 15-4, with a quartet of conservative Republicans opposed. (Sen. Pete Goicoechea, R-Eureka, for one, said he wouldn’t support the school-building provisions without the prevailing wage reform.)

The bill arrived in the Assembly, but members of the Government Affairs Committee were still discussing the now-dead SB119. In Carson City, however, nothing is truly dead until the final gavel comes down. The committee went back into session and revived the original bill by another 8-6 vote, this time with Trowbridge and Moore joining with their fellow Republicans to pass the bill.

This is when Moore filed a report with the legislative police concerning the actions of Assembly Majority Leader Paul Anderson.  “He [Anderson] took me to the stairwell and made threats against me and intimidated me,” Moore said.

Anderson refused to comment on the situation to the Associated Press.  According to KTVN 2, Moore filed the report so that “a version of the event would be on the record,” but has asked the legislative police not to pursue the matter.  

The school bond rollover measure, which passed and was swiftly signed by Governor Sandoval, does not have a direct impact on workers.


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