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KY Prevailing Wage Cut Dies in Committee; GOP Leader Says House Backing Off “Right-to-Work”

KY House Minority Leader, Jeff Hoover

KY House Minority Leader, Jeff Hoover

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The Kentucky Senate’s recently passed prevailing wage rollback has died in the house, failing to pass a panel.  The bill would have exempted schools from paying the prevailing wage on educational facility construction projects over $250,000. 

Prevailing wage supporters, including Bill Finn, Director of the Kentucky State Building and Construction Trades Council, noted that the statistics being used by bill sponsor Sen. Wil Schroeder were outdated.  House Democrats read other peer-reviewed studies which countered Schroder’s claims and argued that prevailing wages are vital wage and productivity protections.

Other Democrats wondered why, if the bill’s goal was to save taxpayer money on construction projects, the GOP did not attempt to do away with prevailing wages for higher-priced professionals in architecture, accounting, and engineering, all of which are involved in school construction.

Sen. Schroder was not surprised by the outcome, but said he expects the fate of the repeal to change if the upcoming special elections go the GOP’s way:

“I’ll be here to fight another day next session.  We know that committee makeup is going to change. We have some people retiring and we are going to have some special elections. If you listened to some of the responses today, some of them were very comical comparing apples to oranges.”

The good news for Kentucky construction workers did not stop there.  GOP leaders indicated that they are not going to push for a “Right-to-Work” bill despite it being previously labeled a priority.  It turns out that somewhere between eight and 12 Republicans do not favor such a bill.  Democrats, who are traditionally opposed to the anti-worker legislation, currently hold a majority in the state house of 50 to 46.

House Minority Leader Jeff Hoover gave the lay of the legislative land:

“Most of our caucus does not believe that right to work or prevailing wage are bills what we want to move forward on at this time, and we understand the makeup in the House.

We also know that several members of our caucus actually are opposed to the majority of what our caucus believe on that bill, and those types of bills, you want to have a comfortable majority, and it’s just not something really that’s on the top of our priority list right now.”


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