Senate leader’s “balancing act” envisions “business-friendly” wage, sick leave bills

By: - February 6, 2019 2:06 pm
balancing act

Erstwhile state Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson during a video interview with the Latin Chamber of Commerce in January.

balancing act
State Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson being on the Latin Chamber of Commerce.

When it comes to passing paid sick leave and minimum wage legislation, state Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson said it will be a “balancing act.”

During a video interview with the Latin Chamber of Commerce last month, which was linked in Jon Ralston’s newsletter Wednesday, Atkinson discussed his own experience as a business owner, and gave reassurances that business “shouldn’t be worried about our caucus. I think this is one of the more business-friendly caucuses I’ve been in, and they get it.”

Asked Wednesday by the Current if that meant business did not have to worry about the Legislature mandating earned sick leave or raising the minimum wage — policies that the business leaders have resisted in the past, and that Gov. Brian Sandoval vetoed in 2017 — Atkinson said it’s possible to address business concerns while passing needed legislation.

“Just because we’re business-friendly doesn’t mean we don’t believe that we need to have workable wages in this state or paid sick leave,” Atkinson said. “I don’t necessarily think the small business advocates or small businesses are against it. I just think, from what I understand from talking to them, is they would like to be at the table when those discussions are had and they would like to have a little more influence to how it works.”

Gov. Steve Sisolak and Democratic lawmakers have indicated general support for raising the minimum wage and expanding the availability of earned sick leave among private sector employees, but no specific legislation on either issue has been unveiled yet.

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Michael Lyle
Michael Lyle

Michael Lyle (MJ to some) has been a journalist in Las Vegas for eight years. While he covers a range of topics from homelessness to the criminal justice system, he gravitates toward stories about race relations and LGBTQ issues.