Governor Mike Parson, R, has signed into law a partial repeal of a state law known as prevailing wage, which involves the rate of pay for employees working on public works projects, for things like local jails, schools and courthouses. The legislation is among a batch of bills he signed today, the day before the deadline to take action on measures passed during this year’s regular session of the Missouri Legislature.
The proposal passed mostly along party lines with the Republican supermajority having the upper hand on the vote.
Prevailing wage is meant to reflect wages for work on similar projects in local areas. Critics of the law contend that it has led to inflated pay based on wages in urban areas. Democrats, who are generally supportive of organized labor, say changing the wage structure will hurt small contractors and workers.
Under the plan, there would be no prevailing wage unless there are 1,000 reportable hours of pay for a particular occupation in a given county or locality. The prevailing wage in such circumstances would be replaced by a county’s construction minimum wage. That rate of pay would amount to 120% of average wages determined by the Missouri Department of Economic Development.
The change in the law does not affect construction projects worth less than $75,000.
The bill, HB 1729, is sponsored by Jeffery Justus, R-Branson.
By Jason Taylor and Alisa Nelson
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