A Senate committee Tuesday approved a bill repealing the state’s common construction wage while also adding new requirements for contractors on public projects. The legislation eliminating the minimum wage for public construction projects heads to the Senate floor.
An amendment added in committee would require contractors to have training programs and liability insurance, and bars them from paying employees in cash. It also prohibits local governments from passing their own version of the common wage.
Buck Creek Republican Senator Brandt Hershman, who authored the amendment, says it ensures workers are well trained and public projects well done.
“That can be done without continuing to allow a broken wage system to continue to operate at a cost to the taxpayer,” says Hershman.
But South Bend Democratic Senator John Broden says repealing the common wage while requiring governments to accept the lowest bid on a project will create problems.
“It’s going to lead to some poorly-done projects," says Broden, "it’s going to lead to some regrets that are going to show up eight, ten, 12 years after these projects are built.”
The committee approved the bill eight to five, with one Republican joining Democrats in voting against it.