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Compromise close on W.Va. prevailing wage bill

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Prevailing wage may prevail after all, as state senators appear close to crafting a compromise that would modify, but not repeal, the state law that sets wage rates for construction workers on many publicly financed construction projects.

“We think we have the elements of a deal,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, said Wednesday, after consideration of the bill (SB361) was delayed on the Senate floor for a third straight day.

As drafted, the bill would repeal the law that dates back to the Great Depression and sets essentially union-scale wages for construction workers on state and locally funded public works projects.

Carmichael admitted Wednesday he was one of several Senate Republicans who came into the session adamant about an outright repeal of the law.

“I was a free-market guy from the beginning on this,” he said.

However, senators heeded concerns from representatives of construction workers, who said a wage rollback could hurt the state’s economy, and from building contractors, who said an outright repeal could allow out-of-state contractors using migrant workers to underbid for state contracts.

 “Having heard all sides of the issue, we wanted to strike a proper balance…

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