Prevailing wage gets attention in Lansing
There has been a flurry of activity in the state's Capital City on the issue of prevailing wage and initiatives to repeal the state's prevailing wage law. Under current law, contracts for construction projects that are financially supported by the state must require the contractor to pay construction workers wages and benefits that are not less than the wages and benefits common in the locality where the work is to be performed.
Two proposals are underway to repeal the law:
1. Senate Bill 3, sponsored by Sen. Dave Robertson (R-Grand Blanc), would repeal Public Act 166, the prevailing wage law. The bill passed the Senate on May 14th by a vote of 22-15 and awaits consideration by the House Commerce and Trade Committee.
2. The Protecting Michigan Taxpayers group has had petition language approved by the Board of State Canvassers allowing them to collect signatures in support of repealing the prevailing wage law. The group has 180 days to collect 252,523 signatures and if achieved, the Legislature has 40 session days to adopt or reject the proposal. If the Legislature fails to act in that timeframe, the proposal will be placed on the next general election ballot.
The key difference between the two initiatives is the Governor's role. If Senate Bill 3 makes it to Governor Rick Snyder's desk, it's expected he would veto the legislation. However, if the Legislature acts as a result of the citizen-led petition drive, the law can be repealed without the Governor's approval.
Farm Bureau's member-developed transportation policy supports the removal of state mandated wage guidelines, which may not reflect actual market conditions. Therefore, Farm Bureau is supporting the concept of the prevailing wage repeal efforts.