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Senate Committee Passes Construction Wage Repeal

Steve Baker

A Senate committee Tuesday approved a bill repealing the state’s common construction wage while also adding new requirements for contractors on public projects. 

An amendment added in committee would require contractors to have training programs and liability insurance, and bars them from paying employees in cash. 

It also prohibits local governments from passing their own version of the common wage.  Sen. Brandt Hershman (R-Buck Creek), who authored the amendment, says it ensures workers are well trained and public projects well done.

“That can be done without continuing to allow a broken wage system to continue to operate at a cost to the taxpayer,” Hershman says.

But Sen. John Broden (D-South Bend) says repealing the common wage while requiring governments to accept the lowest bid on a project will create problems.

“It’s going to lead to some poorly-done projects; it’s going to lead to some regrets that are going to show up eight, ten, 12 years after these projects are built,” Broden says.

The committee approved the bill 8-5, with Ed Charbonneau (R-Valparaiso) joining Democrats in voting against it.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.
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