89.1 WEMU

Michigan Senate To Consider Prevailing Wage Repeal Next Week

May 8, 2015

The state Senate will move forward with legislation to end prevailing wage requirements in Michigan. The state and many communities require that workers on publicly-funded construction projects get union-level pay and benefits.

Senate Bills 1, 2, and 3 would repeal those laws.

The Republican leader of the Senate says a panel expects hold a hearing and possibly vote on the bills before the end of next week.

State Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof (R-West Olive) “just simply does not believe that a taxpayer-funded project should have to cost more money,” according to his spokesperson Amber McCann.

“If there’s an opportunity to save some dollars for taxpayers, it’s an opportunity worth considering,” she said.

Gov. Rick Snyder has said he opposes the bills. He agrees with Democrats and some Republicans that say it would hurt working families. And he says the legislation would impede his efforts to promote skilled trades in Michigan.

“It’s not unheard of that the Legislature might disagree with the governor on an issue,” said McCann. “It hasn’t stopped us in the past from still having that discussion. It’s not going to stop us on this issue.”

Meekhof’s announcement comes on the heels of the historic defeat of the Proposal One road funding ballot question. There were reports late last year that Republicans promised to hold off on legislation to repeal prevailing wage in order to get Democratic support to put the measure on the ballot.

Some Lansing observers speculate that Proposal One’s failure this week triggered Meekhof’s announcement that the Senate will now take up the legislation.