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Common Construction Wage Repeal On Its Way To Pence’s Desk

Joe Hren

Legislation eliminating Indiana’s common construction wage is one step away from becoming law after the House Thursday sent the controversial bill to the governor’s desk.

Debate over the future of the state’s minimum wage for workers on public construction projects is almost over.

The House version of the common wage repeal bill was simple: it just eliminated the common construction wage.  But as Rep. Jerry Torr, R-Carmel, notes, the Senate made significant additions to the bill in response to a specific concern.

“Quote-unquote ‘out of state and fly-by-night contractors’ would come in and wouldn’t be really qualified but would nevertheless would come in and have the low bid that would have to be taken,” Torr says. “I never really bought that argument.”

The bill aims to address that concern by creating new requirements for contractors on public projects, including mandated training programs.

But House Minority Leader Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City, says the Senate’s changes don’t matter; he says the core of the bill is an attack on Indiana companies

“We are undermining an age-old business model that has brought forth jobs for hundreds of thousands of workers,” Pelath says.

The House agreed to the Senate’s changes, sending the bill to the governor by a vote of 54-40. The governor, an outspoken proponent of the measure, is expected to sign 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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