- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 4, 2015

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - A Republican-backed bill that would repeal Nevada law requiring employers to pay overtime after eight hours of work met stiff opposition from Democrats and labor groups on Wednesday.

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Labor and Energy held a hearing on SB 193, which would remove a law requiring employers to pay overtime after eight hours of work in a 24-hour period. Republican Sen. James Settelmeyer testified on the bill and said it would help workers and employees get more flexibility in their scheduling.

“They get flexibility to go the ballgame, and still get their full paycheck,” the Minden Republican said during the hearing.

Nevada is one of a handful of states with overtime provisions that kick in after eight hours and is the only state with a 24-hour reset period for worker schedules, meaning work shifts over a 24-hour period are subject to overtime pay. Current law requires employers to pay one and a half times regular wages after employees work 40 hours during a week.

Settelmeyer said current law exempts large portions of the state’s workforce from paying overtime, including unions with collective bargaining agreements, agricultural workers and professional workers.

Democratic Sen. Kelvin Atkinson said he was concerned the bill was a “slippery slope” that could lead to longer hours for low and middle income workers. A number of union and labor lobbyists, including AFL-CIO union President Danny Thompson, said the bill could lead to more workers’ compensation cases due to longer shifts.

“If you remove this section of the law, working people more than eight hours in one day will become commonplace,” he said. “There’s no question that tired employees, fatigued employees make mistakes.”

Former assemblyman and labor lobbyist Skip Daly testified against the bill, saying he understood concerns with the 24-hour recess but that the bill “rolled back” safeguards in place protecting low-paid workers.

The committee took no action on the bill.

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