Las Vegas Sun

September 25, 2017

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Local Government:

Council may drop licensing requirement for food servers, pawnbrokers, others



Among workers in Clark County who are required to get work cards, bartenders pay the most — as much as $135, compared with a $45 minimum.

Restaurant servers, convenience store clerks and pawnbrokers could have an easier time finding work if the Las Vegas City Council votes Wednesday to do away with a work card requirement that includes mandatory police background checks. The council will discuss cutting in half the number of jobs that require work cards and receive a report on the safety of recently installed energy-efficient street lights when they meet at 9 a.m. at city hall, 495 S. Main St.

Work card changes

For decades, Las Vegas has required applicants seeking jobs in a variety of regulated industries to obtain a work card that includes a police background check.

A total of 16 jobs still require work cards, but some council members say the program, which was introduced to restrict organized crime’s access to certain industries, is outdated and needs to be pared down.

A new bill up for approval Wednesday would reduce the number of job types requiring a work card to eight. Restaurant servers, convenience store clerks, pawnbrokers and apartment staff are among those who would no longer be required to obtain a work card. Locksmiths, bartenders and erotic entertainers would still need a work card under the proposed changes.

If approved, the bill would also allow applicants whose work card was denied to appeal the decision to an administrative board. Currently, appeals must go before the City Council, forcing applicants to make their case in a public meeting.

Bright lights

Between 2010 and 2013, Las Vegas switched its 40,000 street lights from high-pressure sodium bulbs to more energy-efficient light-emitting diodes, or LEDs.

The switch was part of the city’s sustainability push and was intended to cut down on energy costs.

But with a rash of recent vehicle accidents involving pedestrians, some council members have worried whether the new LEDs are bright enough to adequately illuminate sidewalks and crosswalks at night.

On Wednesday, the city’s public works department will provide a report comparing the safety and brightness of the LEDs and the high-pressure sodium bulbs they replaced.

Fremont Street liquor debate returns

Concerns about a saturation of liquor stores under the canopy at the Fremont Street Experience have vexed city officials for months.

Council members and downtown businesses worry the area has too many stores licensed to sell packaged alcohol and that adding more could exacerbate safety issues in the area.

Four stores along Fremont Street find themselves at the center of the debate after applying for licenses to sell packaged liquor, beer and wine in July. The council has repeatedly put off voting on the applications while staff tried to determine whether the area already has too many liquor stores along Fremont Street and the consequences of adding more outlets. But despite 10 public meetings on the subject over the past several months, no resolution has been reached.

On Wednesday, the four packaged liquor applications that initially sparked the debate this summer will return to the council for a vote, although it's unclear whether council members are ready to consider the applications or if they will instead move for another delay while the city attorney’s office continues to study the issue.

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