Hiring people as independent contractors instead of employees is one strategy commonly used by businesses to their reduce expenses and maximize their profits.

But there are some problems with that. For one thing, it may be illegal.

This practice, whether intentional or unintentional, is called employee misclassification. Some Nevada legislators believe it costs the state millions of dollars in lost revenue and denies thousands of workers the employment benefits and protections they are legally entitled to.

SB 493 would start to address the problem by creating a task force to study the issue. An amendment proposed by Teamsters International would also create a series of escalating administrative fines and punitive measures for businesses found violating employee classification guidelines.

The bill received its first hearing Wednesday at the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee. The bill as introduced received mixed reactions from committee members, while the amendment detailing punitive measures was opposed by lobbyists representing business.