Lawmakers in a number of states have made reforming outdated prevailing wage laws a major priority so far in 2015. In the past month, legislators in West Virginia, Nevada and Indiana have advanced legislation that attempts to narrow the types of construction projects affected by prevailing wage, and in some cases, to remove the law entirely.
The West Virginia House Government Organization Committee passed a sweeping reform of the state prevailing wage law on Feb.25. The bill, S.B. 361
, would exempt projects with less than $500,000 in state money from the prevailing wage law’s requirements, task a department within the state’s Department of Commerce with determining the prevailing wage rates based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and require legislative oversight for the prevailing wage rate calculation method.
The bill will now go to the full House of Representatives, where it is expected to pass. The Senate passed the bill on Feb. 12, but will need to approve the bill as amended by the House before it goes to Gov. Earl Ray Tomlin (D) for his signature or veto. Gov. Tomlin is expected to veto the bill, but only a simple majority of the legislature is required to override a veto in West Virginia.
In Nevada, Senate Republicans attached language to repeal state prevailing wage requirements on school construction to a measure extending bonding authority for education-related construction. The bill, S.B. 119
, passed the Senate on Feb. 16.
In addition, lawmakers in Indiana are considering legislation to repeal their state prevailing wage law entirely. The Indiana House of Representatives passed legislation on Feb. 23 that repeals the state’s common construction wage law. If this bill is enacted, Indiana would join the 18 other states with no prevailing wage requirements on taxpayer-funded construction. The Senate will now consider the legislation