News reports this week cover legislative action in four different states to reduce the scope of prevailing wage laws on public projects. Whatever your opinion on prevailing wage laws – love them, hate them, or somewhere in the middle – the effort to reduce the reach of those laws appears to be gaining momentum.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported on Nevada Senate passage of a bill to exempt school and university construction projects from prevailing wage laws. In Kentucky, theRiver City News ran an article on a Senate bill to exempt public schools from the prevailing wage law. The Charleston Daily Mail (West Virginia) ran an opinion piece, citing pending legislation in WV and supporting a modification of that state’s prevailing wage law. And in Indiana, as reported by ENR, the House Labor Committee has voted to repeal the state prevailing wage law and eliminate the boards that establish prevailing wage amounts.
Legislation in four states is not a tidal wave. But laws passed in a few states to reduce the breadth or impact of prevailing wage laws will likely result in more efforts to do the same in a greater number of states. Gradual reduction in the scope of prevailing wage laws is much more likely than outright repeal.