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WV Senate fails to temper ‘prevailing wage’ repeal

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Legislation to repeal West Virginia’s 81-year-old Prevailing Wage Act (HB 4005) is one 18-16 vote away from heading to the governor, after the Senate rejected Wednesday, on party-line 18-16 votes, amendments intended to temper the repeal.

That included an amendment by Sen. Herb Snyder, D-Jefferson, to replace the state’s prevailing wage rates with the federal Davis Bacon Act rates.

“We already have to use federal Davis Bacon rates if there’s any federal money involved,” Snyder said, noting that most state highways projects pay the federal wage scales.

Enacted in 1931, and the model for prevailing wage laws in West Virginia and 31 other states, Snyder said Davis Bacon is intended to help assure that local contractors using local construction workers would not be underbid for federally funded projects.

“We should do everything we can to help West Virginia’s economy and put money back in West Virginians’ pocketbooks,” said Snyder, who said he believes the biggest controversy over West Virginia’s prevailing wage is over calculation of the regional wage rates.

“It gets West Virginia out of the calculating business,” he said of the proposal to use Davis Bacon rates.

However, Senate Government Organization Chairman Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, said Davis Bacon rates are not a viable alternative …

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