Politics & Policy
ABC’s October Regulatory Roundup—Learn About the Latest Developments Affecting the Construction Industry
ABC’s September Regulatory Roundup—Learn About the Latest Developments Affecting the Construction Industry
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The Mackinac Center for Public Policy recently published a study evaluating the effects of state prevailing wage policy on road construction and maintenance costs. Prevailing wage requirements undermine nonunion contractors’ competitiveness for public works contracts by standardizing the payment of union wage rates via methodologically defective surveys.
On March 24, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed into law S.B. 34 and H.B. 4007, which respectively repeal the state’s right-to-work protections and reinstate prevailing wage requirements for public construction projects. The actions reward labor unions’ substantial financial and political contributions to Michigan Democrats’ unified state governmental control and garnered significant opposition from ABC of Michigan, the wider business community and Republican lawmakers.
On July 1, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 3684, the INVEST in America Act, by a vote of 221-201. H.R. 3684. This $715 billion surface transportation reauthorization and water infrastructure bill represents House Democrats’ attempt to reauthorize the expiring 2015 FAST Act and implement partisan, anti-merit shop priorities in infrastructure spending.
On June 28, eight members of the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services sent an ABC-supported letter to Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen expressing concerns about the department’s guid
On April 14, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure hosted a “Members’ Day Hearing” to seek recommendations on the policy priorities of members of the U.S. House of Representatives as they begin to consider legislation to reauthorize surface transportation legislation, which expires at the end of September.
On March 31, the Biden administration released a more than $2 trillion infrastructure outline titled the “American Jobs Plan.” While the plan calls for federal spending over the next eight years to improve the nation’s infrastructure, including for transportation, broadband, energy, and drinking water, it also includes funding for schools and child-car
According to findings of an ABC membership survey published on March 3, 2021, ABC members overwhelmingly support repeal or reform of the federal Davis-Bacon Act and related state and local prevailing wage laws that increase costs and reduce competition from qualified contractors on taxpayer-funded construction projects.
In a victory for ABC, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu vetoed legislation that would have imposed prevailing wage requirements on state projects for the first time since the law was repealed in 1985 on July 19.
As the New York state legislature adjourned in Albany, ABC’s Empire State Chapter members celebrated the successful blockage of an extremely onerous effort to expand prevailing wage in the state well beyond its typical applicability on public works projects.
A new report released by the Empire Center for Public Policy on April 24 found that prevailing wage requirements inflate the cost of publicly funded construction projects in New York by between 13 percent and 25 percent. The varying percentages are based on the area or region of the state. Taxpayers can expect to pay billions in extra costs, given the tens of billions the state plans to spend on public projects over the next five to 10 years.
On April 7, Arkansas Gov.Asa Hutchinson signed a bill repealing the state’s prevailing wage law. The legislation, SB 601 (Act 1068), was approved by the Arkansas House of Representatives on March 30 by a vote of 70-24; the Arkansas Senate passed the bill on March 21 by a bipartisan vote of 28-5. Arkansas is now the 22nd state without a prevailing wage and the second state to take significant action on the issue this year. Kentucky signed a prevailing wage repeal bill into law in January. In 2015, Nevada made significant reforms to its prevailing wage law, while Indiana and West Virginia joined the list of states without a prevailing wage.
Kentucky became the 27th Right to Work state and 21st state without a prevailing wage after Gov. Matt Bevin signed ABC-supported legislation. The free enterprise-based laws are historic victories for the merit shop platform and provide tremendous momentum at the state level to begin the 2017 legislative season.
In a victory for taxpayers and merit shop contractors, the Illinois House of Representatives failed to reach the three-fifths majority required to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s (R-Ill.) veto of S.B. 2964. The bill would have tied prevailing wage rates for public projects to local union rates.
On July 22, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed a bill that would have significantly changed the prevailing wage calculation process by tying wage rates to union collective bargaining agreements. In vetoing the bill, Gov. Rauner said Senate Bill 2964 would effectively discount the wage rates of those who have chosen not to join a union and who make up a majority of the construction workforce.
On Feb. 12, the West Virginia legislature voted 18-16 to override Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s vetoes of a prevailing wage repeal bill and the West Virginia Workplace Freedom Act, making West Virginia the 26th Right to Work state in the country and the fourth state to pass Right to Work since 2012.
Last week, the New Hampshire House rejected a bill (House Bill 1641) that would have required prevailing wage be paid on all state construction projects. Citing a union-backed study, proponents of the bill argued the legislation would create jobs, spur economic activity, and raise workers’ wages without increasing the cost of projects. Opponents rejected those assertions and insisted the state would pay more for construction projects under the provisions of the bill.
The New York Independent Budget Office (IBO) has released a revised report on the impact prevailing wage requirements would have on affordable housing projects built with the 421a property tax break. The 421a tax credit had been the subject of extensive negotiations in the past months. In Jan. 2016, the parties involved announced they could not reach a compromise, killing the tax credit and jeopardizing Mayor de Blasio’s plans for 80,000 affordable housing units for New York City residents. The agency had initially estimated that prevailing wage requirements would add $2.8 billion to the initiative’s total, bu
On Feb. 4, the West Virginia Legislature sent two important bills to the governor’s desk. The House of Delegates passed ABC-supported right-to work legislation, the “Workplace Freedom Act” (SB 1) by a vote of 54-46, while the state Senate approved legislation repealing the state’s prevailing wage law along party lines. The measures were intensely debated in both chambers in the weeks leading up to the votes. West Virginia’s prevailing wage law was mired in controversy following the passage of a reform bill in 2015 and ABC’s West Virginia Chapter has been a vocal supporter of repealing the state’s prevailing wage.
During a controversial budget session, Wisconsin significantly reformed its prevailing wage laws with the help of the ABC Wisconsin Chapter which organized a coalition of local chambers of commerce, school districts, small businesses, and municipal utilities to repeal prevailing wage requirements on all Wisconsin public works projects except those built by the state of Wisconsin and state highway projects.