Special session: Senators debate 4-day week for state offices | NevadaAppeal.com

Special session: Senators debate 4-day week for state offices

BRIAN DUGGAN
bduggan@nevadaappeal.com
Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal
NEVADA APPEAL | NEVADA APPEAL

In another attempt to close an $888 million budget shortfall, senators were discussing late Thursday a proposal to close state offices one day a week for the next 16 months while increasing furloughs for state workers.

Lawmakers adjourned without taking action on Senate Bill 3.

The measure would close most state agencies on Fridays with some exceptions while increasing monthly furlough hours for state employees from eight hours to 10. That would effectively increase pay cuts from 4.6 percent to 5.75 percent.

The four-day, 10-hour work week would save

$6.2 million. A similar measure has been passed in Utah.

The bill also allows local governments, including school districts, to implement a furlough program at their discretion.

Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, said more discussions will happen today to fine tune the bill.

“We want to ensure that we take every caution to do this right,” Horsford said, adding amendments would be ready on the bill this morning.

The bill would require all state agencies to implement furloughs. Agencies would have to apply for an exemption even if the agencies already have one for the furloughs established in 2009.

The Department of Corrections and the Nevada System of Higher Education would be exempt from closing operations one day a week.

The Department of Corrections also would establish two 12-hour shifts per day at its facilities, which drew praise from a labor group representing correction officers during Thursday’s meeting in the Senate chamber.

The Board of Regents would have control over how higher education employees are affected by the furloughs, instituting rolling schedules that would keep institutions open five days a week, with each employee only working four out of five days a week.

The State Board of Examiners also would determine which positions in the executive branch that cannot be furloughed.

The Board of Regents, Supreme Court, Public Employees Retirement Board and Legislative Commission would make similar decisions for their respective departments.