A package of bills designed to “chip away‟ at the state‟s Prevailing Wage Act cleared the House Labor and Industry Committee. The bills would reduce the number of projects that would fall under the wage law, and give local governments the authority to opt out of the law.
“Some wanted to be more aggressive even to the point of getting rid of the law all together,” said one Republican source who asked not to be indentified. “But the opposition to getting rid of the law from Republican members in the southeast is too strong for that.”
In fact, sources said it‟s unclear if the House Republicans have the votes to approve this package.
The state‟s Prevailing Wage Act requires a minimum hourly wage on construction projects financed with public money.
One of the bills in the package, HB 1271, would remove road maintenance jobs from the act.
“The bill gets around a court ruling that said milling and other road projects should fall under the Prevailing Wage,” the source said. “Construction projects will still fall under the law, but not every day maintenance.”
Other changes include allowing school districts, HB 709, and other local governments, HB 1191, to opt out of the law.
Finally, one bill, HB 1329, increases the minimum costs of the project, from $25,000 to $185,000, that fall under the law. It would also increase the minimum each year based on the change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI).