Senate Hearing on Prevailing Wage Repeal Held

Yesterday’s hearing by the state Senate’s Labor and Government Reform Committee was on Senate Bill 49, which calls for full repeal of the state, local and highway prevailing wage laws.

School officials had a significant presence at the hearing, testifying mostly in support of the proposed repeal bill.  Board members present to testify in support included Glen Allgaier (Elmbrook), Dave Maxey (New Berlin), John Nyhuis (Oakfield), and Mary D’Amour (Mukwonago).  Steve Edlund (Waukesha) expressed concerns with repealing prevailing wage.  There were also several superintendents and business officials present.

A committee vote (executive session) on the bill has been set for tomorrow; however, a decision won’t be made until this afternoon about whether the committee will be voting on a full or a partial repeal of the prevailing wage.

State Sen. Steve Nass (R-Whitewater), chairman of the committee, said the decision could go either way. The Whitewater Republican, speaking after yesterday’s public hearing on full repeal, said he will know more after Senate Republicans meet in caucus this morning and this afternoon.

Yesterday, Sen. Nass released a substitute amendment that would repeal only the local prevailing wage law (which affects schools) and raise the threshold for state projects to $1 million for single-trade jobs and $5 million for multiple-trade projects. Those thresholds are now set at $48,000 and $100,000, respectively, for projects undertaken by schools and most communities.

In addition to repealing the prevailing wage for local projects, the substitute amendment would maintain a current ban on municipalities enacting their own prevailing wage ordinances.