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House Democrats Attempt to Slow Prevailing Wage Bill

sponaugle_and_armstead.jpg
Perry Bennett
/
West Virginia Legislative Photography
(left) Del. Isaac Sponaugle, D-Pendleton County discussing the addition of a fiscal note to the prevailing wage bill with (right) Del. Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha County, Speaker of the House.

The House Government Organization Committee approved a bill Wednesday that would repeal the state’s prevailing wage - the hourly wage rate and benefits workers are paid on state construction projects. The bill hasn’t had its first reading on the floor yet, but House Democrats are still trying to slow it down.

In 2015, a bill aimed at repealing the prevailing hourly wage rate in West Virginia caused an uproar from Democrats in both chambers of the legislature - so much so that leadership decided to rethink a full repeal and passed a compromised version that called for a recalculation of the rate.

This year, House leadership is once again proposing a repeal of the wage rate and the bill is on the fast track, making it back to the House floor just a week into this legislative session.

On the floor Thursday, Delegate Isaac Sponaugle, a Democrat from Pendleton County, tried to keep the bill from moving forward by asking for fiscal note, a report that tells lawmakers what the economic impact of a piece of legislation will be.  

Members discussed the relevance of the request at the House Speaker’s podium for fifteen minutes before House Speaker Tim Armstead rejected Sponaugle’s request.

“...The bill in and of itself, and the language of the bill does not increase a tax; it does not specifically and expressly change revenue sources coming in to a state or county; it may have the impact of doing that, and that will certainly be, I’m sure, a subject of debate on the House floor, but the bill itself does not have a tax increase, a tax decrease, or any type of fee increase or decrease that would specifically require that it be sent to an agency for a fiscal note...” - Delegate Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha County, Speaker of the House

The House will likely vote on the prevailing wage bill sometime next week.


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