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Prevailing-wage repeal to get vote Tuesday

A Wisconsin state Senate panel plans to vote Tuesday on a bill that would eliminate prevailing-wage requirements for state-commissioned projects.

Following on lawmakers’ elimination of the pay requirements for local projects two years ago, Senate Bill 216 would completely bring about the end of Wisconsin’s decades-old prevailing-wage laws. The Senate Committee on Labor and Regulatory Reform is scheduled to vote on the legislation at a meeting starting at 9 a.m. Tuesday in Room 400 Southeast of the state Capitol.

If given a favorable recommendation then, the bill would next go to the full Legislature.

Senate Bill 216 was debated earlier this week at a public hearing that saw industry representatives argue the minimum-pay requirements help ensure construction jobs remain attractive to skilled and experienced workers. Opponents of the bill also contended that the loss of prevailing wages would fall particularly hard on veterans, who are employed at a higher rate in construction than in other industries.

Proponents counter that getting rid of prevailing wages would promote competition by making it easier for small companies to bid on public projects. They also said that the requirements harm taxpayers because they artificially inflate the cost of government contracts.

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