Missouri Senate debates prevailing wage reform

Proposals range from partial to full repeal of the statute

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Several state lawmakers are seeking changes to Missouri’s prevailing wage law, the statute mandating a minimum hourly rate for workers on public construction projects. That baseline normally varies by county and trade, and almost always exceeds the state’s minimum wage.

Opponents of prevailing wage say the law stifles economic development and makes construction prohibitively expensive in poorer communities. Supports of the law say it protects the rights of Missouri workers from out-of-state contractors.

Four proposals were heard by the Senate General Laws Committee on Jan. 24. The same committee is set to hear one more bill on Wednesday — what some, though not all, are calling a piece of compromise legislation from Sen. Gary Romine, R-Farmington.

The debate so far is divided along party lines; Democrats, by-and-large, are standing by the prevailing wage statute as it’s currently written, while Republicans are seeking out reform.

The Missouri General Assembly is controlled by a supermajority of Republicans in both chambers. The Missouri GOP also holds the governor’s mansion, making changes to prevailing wage quite possible.

As a multimedia specialist for the Missouri Senate, I created a video package on lawmakers’ efforts to reform the prevailing wage law. Watch the video below, and don’t forget to check out Missouri Senate Communications’ full coverage of the 2018 legislative session on the Senate’s official website.

Author: Zachary Reger

A graduate of the University of Missouri with degrees in journalism, philosophy and film studies, Zach's primary interests lie in political reporting, media production and social philosophy.

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