$15 minimum wage proposal scrapped, amended to raise minimum health insurance standards for minimum wage workers

An ambitious measure that sought to raise Nevada’s minimum wage to $15 an hour has been substantially amended to focus only on health care plans offered by employers to minimum wage workers.

Legislators in the Assembly Commerce and Labor Committee voted Wednesday to approve a proposed amendment to AB175 that would remove all language raising the state’s minimum wage and instead requires employers who pay a $7.25 minimum wage to provide a minimum insurance standard equivalent to a Bronze plan under the Affordable Care Act. 

The measure was opposed by four Republicans on the committee.

Nevada’s current minimum wage is $7.25 for workers with employee-offered health insurance, and $8.25 for all others, with roughly 44,000 workers statewide earning less than $8.25.

The state’s tiered minimum wage is set in the state constitution, but the state’s Supreme Court has ruled that employers need to only offer, not enroll, their employees in a health insurance plan to qualify for the lower wage.

The amended version of the bill, which places higher minimums on the types of health plans that can be offered on low-wage jobs, would become effective immediately upon passage. It’s scheduled for a vote at 1 p.m. in the Assembly Committee on Commerce and Labor.

Another measure raising the minimum wage to a tiered system of $11 and $12, SB106, still hasn’t been scheduled for a committee vote ahead of the Friday bill deadline, though Democratic Sen. Kelvin Atkinson said leadership planned to exempt the measure from legislative deadlines, meaning it can be discussed or voted on at any time during the 120-day session.

 A similar constitutional amendment raising the wage, SJR6, hasn’t been heard in committee since it was introduced in February.

Ab175 Amendment by Riley Snyder on Scribd

Update at 3:30 p.m. - Updated to reflect that bill passed out of committee.

Update at 11:23 a.m. - Updated to include that SB106 will likely be exempted from legislative deadlines.