Politicians and their supporters are already looking ahead to the 2014 and 2016 elections. In Nevada, executive branch elections will take place in 2014 with candidates vying to be governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, and other positions. Many Federal congressional positions are up for election in 2014. The cycle never stops.
Several months have now passed since Nevada’s 2013 legislative session ended, and many new laws are now effective in the state. Now is as good of a time as ever to begin to reflect on how new laws from the 2013 Nevada legislative session will impact businesses. Over the next couple of months, we will post several articles discussing the new legislation. This article will begin by discussing new laws relating to employment practices and foreclosures.
Assembly Bill 181 (Employment Law): AB 181 is a law for the 21st century. Among other things, it prohibits employers from requesting or requiring employees or prospective employees from divulging their user names and passwords for personal social media accounts and other online services, and prohibits employers from taking adverse actions against employees for failing to divulge such information. The law also prohibits employers and others from requesting or considering consumers reports when evaluating employees for promotions, employment, and other possibilities. Some exceptions apply to the latter.
Assembly Bill 273 and Senate Bill 321 (Foreclosure): AB 273 (the 2013 version, not to be confused with the 2011 AB 273) modified Nevada’s Foreclosure Mediation Program, requiring lenders to send notices concerning the mediation program separate from notices of default and also automatically enrolling homeowners in the program unless the homeowner opts out or fails to pay a fee. Senate Bill 321, called a “Homeowner’s Bill of Rights”, is a long, sweeping law containing many new requirements that lenders must satisfy before foreclosing on residential properties and prohibiting lenders from engaging in certain acts. A third foreclosure-related bill, Senate Bill 160, would have prohibited deficiency judgments for homeowners whose owner-occupied homes were foreclosed on, but it did not become law.
In 2011, the Nevada Legislature passed Assembly Bill 273. AB 273 limited the amount a third party purchaser of secured debt could recover in deficiency actions following foreclosure of real property, among other provisions. Since AB 273′s enactment, numerous cases percolated in Nevada’s trial courts, with courts sometimes disagreeing on the interpretation of the law. Until this month, the Nevada Supreme Court had not decided any key issues about AB 273.
That changed last week. In Sandpointe Apartments, LLC v. Eighth Judicial District Court, the Supreme Court finally ruled on arguments about the retroactivity of AB 273′s provisions concerns deficiency judgments. The Court held that the limitations on the amounts third parties who purchased secured debts could recover following foreclosures applied only to sales, either judicial foreclosures or trustee’s sales, occurring after AB 273′s enactment on June 10, 2011. The Supreme Court’s decision settles a long-pending question of whether AB 273′s modification of contract rights would impact pre-AB 273 debts and foreclosures.
The Nevada Supreme Court has handed down a couple of decisions impacting Nevada businesses over the summer.
Khan v. Bakhsh
The statute of frauds requires that certain types of contracts be in writing and therefore that some types of oral contracts are unenforceable. On August 1, 2013, the Nevada Supreme Court found that written contracts that are later lost or destroyed are not prohibited by the statute of frauds.
Clark County v. Howard Hughes Company, LLC
The Supreme Court held that a party challenging tax valuation may pursue an action in any district court in Nevada, ratifying a long-standing practice of bring such claims before the First Judicial District Court in Carson City.
On July 2, 2013, the Obama Administration announced that employers will have an additional year to comply with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirement to provide health insurance for full-time* employees or pay a tax penalty.
Originally, the ACA mandated that employers with more than 50 employees provide health insurance and report to the federal government details regarding employee access to and enrollment in those insurance plans starting in 2014. The announcement pushed this deadline to 2015. The Administration essentially acknowledged that the law’s complicated reporting requirements would strain businesses and the additional year will allow the Administration to “re-vamp and simplify” the reporting process. Because the tax penalties are assessed based upon the information reported by employers, no penalties will be assessed in 2014. The Administration couched the decision as the result of feedback from businesses needing more time to comply with the law.
We expect the Administration to publish additional guidelines in the coming weeks and months. In the meantime, employers can breathe a sigh of relief and assess their options with renewed hope that compliance with the ACA will be simplified.
*Under the ACA, a full-time employee is one who works an average of thirty (30) hours per week.
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This guest post is authored by Alka Bahal. Alka is a Partner and Co-Chair of Fox’s Corporate Immigration Practice and contributes to Fox’s Immigration View blog. She can be reached at email@example.com or 973.994.7800.
As you have probably already heard, on Wednesday, June 26, 2013 the Supreme Court ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”) is unconstitutional, which means that same-sex couples who are legally married in any jurisdiction that permits same-sex marriage can now apply for marriage-based immigration benefits. Accordingly, U.S. Citizens and legal permanent residents can now sponsor their foreign-born spouses for green cards and visas, as long as their marriage is recognized by the state or foreign jurisdiction where they married.
Some also believe that the striking down of DOMA will likely have a positive impact on the passing of the new immigration bill, S. 744. The several attempts to include an amendment to the bill favorable to married homosexual couples were highly contested and considered an impediment to the bill’s passage.
“This discriminatory law denied thousands of legally married same-sex couples many important federal benefits, including immigration benefits,” Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano said in a statement Wednesday. “Working with our federal partners, including the Department of Justice, we will implement today’s decision so that all married couples will be treated equally and fairly in the administration of our immigration laws.”
At the annual American Immigration Lawyer’s Conference in San Francisco yesterday, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Alejandro Mayorkas indicated that not only would USCIS comply with Secretary Napolitano’s directive to immediately implement the Supreme Court’s Decision, but that his office has maintained a list of all I-130 applications (U.S. Citizen/LPR sponsorship of a spouse for permanent residency) denied under DOMA, which will be put back into process and approved.
It’s a new era in immigration law – to be further invigorated by the vote on S. 744. Stay tuned!
Some assorted notes on the Nevada economy:
June’s report of economic indicators from Nevada Business magazine contains mostly positive news for the Nevada economy.
Southern Nevada’s retail market is on the rebound, according to the Las Vegas Review Journal.
The “fun tax” proposed by Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick will be scaled back but still faces and uncertain future.
The Las Vegas Sun’s Downtown reporter, Joe Schoenmann, had a Q-and-A with a representative from the Downtown Project.
The 2013 Nevada Legislature began on February 4th. What has happened in the nearly three months since then that may affect Nevada businesses? The short answer? So far, not much.
An initiative to double the tax on mining to fund education has been proposed by a group of Republican senators, but they face some resistance within their own party, including Governor Sandoval.
Among several bills that the Las Vegas Sun’s excellent political reporters note have advanced in the legislative process is one that would increase the sales tax in Clark County by 0.15 percent to fund local police departments. Five of Clark County’s seven commissioners voted to support the bill, so it appears poised to become law sooner than later.
Several bills that could have impacted Nevada businesses and corporations, have died. SB 422, which would have barred non-competition agreements for certain media-related businesses, failed to advance. So did AB 134, which would have eliminated a minimum age requirement for those serving on boards of directors or trustees of nonprofit corporation.
On April 1, 2013, the Nevada Labor Commissioner, Thoran Towler, made his annual announcement regarding Nevada’s minimum wage. The minimum wage will remain the same for 2013: $7.25 per hour for employees who receive qualifying health benefits and $8.25 per hour for employees who do not receive qualifying health benefits. Contact Rachel Silverstein to determine whether the health benefits you provide qualify for this reduction.
This announcement also means that the requirements for paying daily overtime will not change this year. In Nevada, employees who earn less than one-and-a-half times the minimum wage are entitled to overtime for more than eight hours worked in a day (unless they have an agreement to work four ten-hour shifts per week). Thus, the daily overtime requirement applies when an employee earns less than $10.88 per hour with qualifying health benefits or $12.38 without qualifying health benefits. Of course, both Nevada and Federal law outline several classes of employees who are exempt from both daily and weekly overtime requirements.
If you have wage and hour compliance questions, contact Rachel Silverstein at (702) 699-5923 or RSilverstein@Foxrothschild.com.
As the Nevada legislature continues its 2013 session, competing tax proposals are bubbling to the surface, and Nevada businesses are confronted with the question of their tax burden will be rising soon. Will Nevada’s vaunted position as one of the most favorable states for taxation be threatened?
Nevada’s voters will decide in 2014 whether to enact a 2% margins tax on businesses with more than $1 million in revenues. The bill is backed by the Education Initiative PAC, a Nevada political action committee with backing by teachers unions. The bill, introduced before the legislature as IP 1, did not make it out of committee within the 40 day window for the legislature to act on it. In January 2013, the Nevada Supreme Court rejected a procedural challenge to the initiative. Expect business to rally against the margins tax in the run up to the 2014 election.
Six of Nevada’s ten Senate Republicans have proposed a tax on the mining industry as an alternative to the margins tax. Senate Joint Resolution 15 would repeal the constitutional 5% cap on taxes to mining operations. The Nevada Mining Association insists the industry already pays more than its fair share. Proponents suggest that taxing the mining industry could raise hundreds of millions of dollars a year.
Nevada’s voters are notoriously anti-taxation. Still, the mining tax seems to have a better chance than the margins tax given the perceived unfairness of the latter to business. SJR 15, the mining tax, would also require voter approval in 2014 if it passes the legislature this year. Someone’s taxes may rise in Nevada — but we may not know who will be taxed until returns arrive on November 4, 2014.
This post was authored by Alka Bahal, Partner in Fox Rothschild’s Roseland, NJ office. It originally appeared on Fox Rothschild’s Immigration View blog.
On March 8, 2013, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a revised Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 for immediate use. The Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) published a Notice in the Federal Register informing employers of the new Form I-9. This form replaces all other forms and should be used from today forward for all new hires and reverifications. The previous editions of the Form (with an OMB control number expiration date of August 31, 2012) are valid for 60 days. Thereafter, only the new edition of the form is acceptable.
Improvements to Form I-9 include new data fields, a revised format that expands the form to two pages, and clearer instructions to both employees and employers.
All U.S. employers are required to complete a Form I-9 for every employee hired in order to verify that the individual is authorized for employment in the United States under the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA). Beginning May 7, 2013, employers must use the new version of the Form for all new hires and for re-verifying current employees with expiring employment authorization documentation. [Employers should not complete new Forms for existing employees who do not require re-verification.] A best practice would be for employers to begin using the new edition of the form immediately.
The new Form I-9 and List of Acceptable Documents is available on USCIS’ website in English and in Spanish. (Note, however, that the Spanish version of the Form may only be executed by employer’s in Puerto Rico; Employers in the 50 states, Washington, D.C., and other U.S. territories may use the Spanish version of the Form as a translation guide, only, but must complete the English version of the Form.)