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

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.

Michael Lyle
Michael Lyle (MJ to some) has been a journalist in Las Vegas for eight years.  He started his career at View Neighborhood News, the community edition of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. During his seven years with the R-J, he won several first place awards from the Nevada Press Association and was named its 2011 Journalist of Merit. He left the paper in 2017 and spent a year as a freelance journalist accumulating bylines anywhere from The Washington Post to Desert Companion. While he covers a range of topics from homelessness to the criminal justice system, he gravitates toward stories about race relations and LGBTQ issues. Born and mostly raised in Las Vegas, Lyle graduated from UNLV with a degree in Journalism and Media Studies. He is currently working on his master's in Communications through an online program at Syracuse University. In his spare time, Lyle cooks through Ina Garten recipes in hopes of one day becoming the successor to the Barefoot Contessa throne. When he isn’t cooking (or eating), he also enjoys reading, running and re-watching episodes of “Parks and Recreation.” He is also in the process of learning kickboxing.


  1. Oh, so the small business people will be there at the table saying how they’re going to increase wages and paid leave. Not.


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