Prevailing wage debate takes center stage at capitol

6 months 2 weeks 5 days ago Tuesday, March 28 2017 Mar 28, 2017 Tuesday, March 28, 2017 7:09:00 PM CDT March 28, 2017 in News
By: Meg Hilling, KOMU 8 Reporter

JEFFERSON CITY - A bill looking to remove construction worker payment restrictions on contractors is moving along in the capitol following a perfection vote by the Missouri House of Representatives Tuesday.

Under Missouri's Prevailing Wage Law, bidders of public works construction projects are required to pay workers a set minimum wage rate. Under Rep. Warren Love's, R-Osceola, proposed legislation that would no longer be the case.

Prevailing wage in Missouri is determined yearly, based contractor information, public bodies, labor groups and other organizations through the Contractor's Wage Survey. The rate varies by county and by the type of work being performed.

According to Warren, repealing of Missouri's Prevailing Wage Law would open to door for more job opportunities in the state.

"I know my opposition as you know 'well workers are going to take a pay cut.' That may be in some of the city areas. But in the rural areas it'll be job creation," Warren said. "I mean all of a sudden there will be work to do that they don't even have."

But while perfected by the house with a 93-60 vote, not every representative is getting behind the bill.

According to Rep. Doug Beck, D-St. Louis, the bill will harm construction workers wages and open the door for contractors outside the state to come in with their teams and leave the state with the money earned.

"It's not going to create more jobs. It'll create a lot of lower paying jobs that'll be done by a lot of out of state people is what's going to happen," Beck said.

Love's bill faces a final vote on the house floor before being sent to the Senate. The Senate, with it's own repealing version, is set for perfection this week as well.

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