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Michigan Legislature repeals state’s prevailing wage law

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan has become the latest state to repeal its prevailing-wage laws.

Michigan followed Wisconsin and other states on Wednesday when lawmakers voted to eliminate decades-old statutes meant to ensure people employed on public construction projects are paid at a rate that is common in whatever place they are working in.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder wanted to retain the state’s prevailing-wage laws. But the repeal legislation advancing in the state’s Legislature was veto-proof because it was initiated using a ballot drive. It was approved 23-14 by the Senate on Wednesday and 56-53 by the House, mostly on party lines.

Michigan is just one of a handful of states that have eliminated their prevailing-wage laws since 2015. Wisconsin lawmakers voted to eliminate prevailing-wage laws for local projects in 2015 and for state projects in 2017.

Republicans say prevailing wages artificially inflate the cost of schools and other government projects. Democrats, union contractors and others say the repeal initiative is an attack on workers and the state’s prevailing-wage law, dating to 1965, ensures they are paid fairly and quality work is done.

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