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GOP lawmaker opposes bill to impose big fines on unlicensed businesses


By Sean Whaley, Nevada News Bureau: Freshman GOP Assemblyman Mark Sherwood is taking Secretary of State Ross Miller to task for proposing legislation that he says will hurt Nevada’s business climate.

Sherwood, R-Henderson, said Assembly Bill 78, set for a hearing Thursday in the Judiciary Committee, “would kill jobs and destroy businesses.”

The bill would impose fines of at least $1,000 for businesses that fail to obtain or renew a state business license within 30 days of receiving notice of such failure from the secretary of state’s office.

Sherwood called the fines, which could rise to $10,000, unfair, noting they could be imposed even on businesses that accidentally failed to obtain a license within the specified time frame.

Current law allows for fines for willful failure to obtain a state business license. AB 78 would remove the requirement for willfulness before such fines could be imposed.

“The word willfully has been stricken from the new revision so no matter what, in 30 days, if you don’t pay this bill, you are on the hook for no less than $1,000,” Sherwood said.

Sherwood said an agent often obtains the license for the business, and the business owner may not see the documentation for 30 days.

“At a time when we should be doing all we can to assist small businesses and remove government obstacles to their success, it is simply outrageous to create new bureaucratic burdens on small business owners,” he said. “This is one of the most egregious anti-business proposals I have ever seen.”

Sherwood said he emailed his concerns to Miller but has not yet received a response.

Asked for a response to Sherwood’s criticisms of the measure, Miller said in an email: “It is unfortunate that, during a time when this state should be focused on coming together to find solutions, Mr. Sherwood has instead chosen to resort to partisan motivated publicity stunts before understanding or perhaps even reading the bill.”

As a member of the Board of Examiners, Miller has sought to ensure that businesses awarded contracts by the state have a state business license.

Sherwood said he has read the bill and is concerned about what such fines might mean to Nevada’s troubled economy and business climate.

“Times are hard enough on Nevada’s entrepreneurs,” he said. “As legislators, we should be working to remove Draconian government roadblocks, not create more of them.”

Audio clip:

Assemblyman Mark Sherwood says AB78 would fine businesses even for accidentally failing to obtain a business license within the specified time frame:

021111Sherwood :10 less than $1,000.”

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