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West Virginia Senators vote to remove wage protections

By ASHTON MARRA

The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register

CHARLESTON, W.Va.  — West Virginia senators have approved a bill to dismantle the wage bonding requirement for certain industries in the state.

Members voted 21-12 Monday morning after some debate on the chamber floor.

Senate Bill 224 would get rid of the requirement for employers in certain industries– including mineral extraction and construction — to bond the wages and benefits of their employees for the first five years of operation.

The bond is money paid to the state that would cover a month of wages and benefits for employees if the business closes. Under current law, only construction companies, or businesses that extract or transport minerals like coal or natural gas, have to create a wage bond.

Sen. Charles Trump, R-Morgan, who chairs the Judiciary Committee, previously called the bond an impediment to business in the state, and pointed to surrounding states that don’t have the same requirement, including Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Sen. Glen Jeffries, a Putnam County Democrat, said the bill actually puts the state out of line with a majority of states in the country.

Other Democrats argued over the vulnerability of the industries required to implement the bond and said the bill removes protections for workers in those industries.

The bill now goes to the House of Delegates for further consideration.

Marra is a reporter for West Virginia Public Broadcasting.

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