LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — A deadline for bills to pass through the committee in which they were originally introduced passed Wednesday, and while not meeting that requirement, the Right to Return bill, SB 386, was granted a waiver by legislators opening the possibility that it could still become law.
The "Right to Return" would force large-scale casino, hotel, stadium, and travel-related industries to offer laid-off employees their jobs back before offering the jobs to other people allowing them to retain their seniority and benefits.
Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro has championed the bill.
"It is the understatement, perhaps, of the year to say that this pandemic has sent shock waves through all facets of our society," she said.
The powerful Culinary Union has been pushing governments from Clark County to the state Legislature to pass Right to Return rules.
Secretary Treasurer Geoconda Aguello-Kline says hospitality workers have been hit with layoffs harder than any other group with 96% laid off when the economy was closed in 2020.
She said half of the workers still haven't found work.
"We have to make sure that our workers, who have shouldered so much of the fallout from this pandemic, are not left behind," Cannizzaro said.
The president of Unite Here, the national union over the Culinary Union, testified in front of the Senate Committee on Commerce and Labor that the bill would prevent large companies from using the pandemic as an excuse to separate from costly employees.
President D. Taylor says they wouldn't be allowed to ignore expensive veteran workers in favor of untrained young workers.
"No one who has dedicated their lives and years to serving these companies should be treated like an old pair of shoes and thrown out," Taylor said.
Committee Republicans raised their concerns about the bill.
Sen. Kieth Pickard said it could open the state's lifeblood industries up to frivolous lawsuits, and Senate Minority leader James Settelmeyer said it could harm the recovery.
"I'm very concerned that this will put more onerous regulations and rules on an industry that is already hurting and trying to survive from a government-imposed economic crisis," Settelmeyer said.
Republicans were joined in opposition by several Chambers of Commerce including Henderson, Las Vegas, and Reno and Sparks.