Friday, February 20, 2009

Prevailing Wage: Day Two

I had a loyal Krustacean help me with the video, with the economy I had to outsource it…

Yesterday the State House was going to start debating the prevailing wage bill at 9 a.m., then it was pushed back to the afternoon, then it was going to start at 9 pm, and then they called it a night. Now we are told the debate will begin today at noon and last no more than five hours. We will see.

So what went on last night? Here is what I’ve been able to find out.

As the day turned into night, House Republicans were very vocal about their opposition of debating this bill under the cover of darkness. Why was it so important for the prevailing wage bill that it could not wait until today? Republican’s won that battle. It’s one of their strongest arguments, if you are going to raise taxes on mom and pop contractors which could put them out of business you better be willing to do it while the people are awake and can follow the proceedings. With all of this talk about transparency, Republicans had a point.

I’ve also heard that Rep. Larry Marek was locked up in solitary confinement most of last night (Speaker Murphy’s office). Obviously Marek’s vote is key, and Murphy doesn’t want anyone to change his mind, even his constituents who are lighting up his phone.

I say we keep calling Marek and tell him to keep his promise to his constituents and vote against prevailing wage. His phone number in the house is 515-281-3221. If he doesn’t answer you can probably get him in the speaker’s office, that number is 515-281-5566.

Republicans are ready for the debate and plan to offer the following amendments:

H-1049 by Horbach strikes the entire bill and replaces with intent language that the Labor Commissioner must post the prevailing prior to the General Assembly debating a prevailing wage mandate

H-1041 by Tymeson changes the title to “Price Fixing for Public Improvements Act”

H-1042 by Tymeson adds language stating this section not be construed to promote or approve the price fixing of labor rates by competing contractors on public improvement projects

H-1030 by Watts adds language protecting local taxpayers from higher property taxes that result from inflated public improvement costs due to fringe benefits.

H-1028 by Watts states that “fringe benefits” do not include non-essential administrative costs associated with third-party trustees (attempts to eliminate a slush fund for the trade unions)

H-1036 by Horbach states that the prevailing wage rate is not required to be paid to union employees unless the unions can verify that all of its officers and employees are legal United States residents

H-1039 by Grassley, Schulte and Pettengill exempts disaster-related expenditures from prevailing wage, disaster-related expenditures means expenditures that include any state funding for a public improvement in an area that the governor has proclaimed a disaster emergency or the United States president has declared a major disaster during 2008 and in an area that experiences a disaster on or after January 1, 2009.

H-1040 by Van Engelenhoven requires the Attorney General and State Auditor to work with the Labor Commissioner to develop rules for the Act, this is necessary for added transparency to the process

H-1029 by Watts removes the authority of the commissioner to administer oaths, take depositions and subpoena the books, registers and payrolls of the contractors and subcontractors.

H-1037 by Helland removes punitive damages from the punishments, contractors would still be liable for wages and reasonable attorney fees (punitive damages were added in Labor Committee)

H-1043 by Tymeson tries to prevent union harassment of employees by not allowing them to collect union dues on the job site

H-1026 by Watts gives the State Auditor jurisdiction over third-party fringe funds in order to prove that the unions aren’t using prevailing wage for non-essential administrative expenditures

H-1032 by Horbach states that it is a violation of the Act to intimidate, threaten or interfere with the work of any person who is not working under a prevailing wage system on a public improvement

H-1048 by Lukan requires that the Labor Commissioner’s posting comply with the English only law

H-1059 by Struyk states that any employer who refuses to use the federal eligibility program (e-verify) shall not be eligible for public assistance

H-1060 by Struyk directs the Department of Public Safety to study the feasibility of developing a statewide database system designed to provide information related to the immigration status of a person


  1. Marek votes for this and I will send 100 dollars to whoever runs against him be it Sandy or Klein.

    He is a fraud who needs to be destroyed and ruined.

    But I bet GasTaxPaulsen will just want to give him a free pass since he has no fight in his bones.

  2. Marek has done a nice job distorying him self this last two weeks. I bet it is a long day for him at the forums tomarrow. That if he has the balls to show up.

  3. Marek's balls are in the unions' mouth.

  4. Marek was paid well to promote the casino in his county as economic development. He was rewarded with cash and a seat on the board.

    He'll do anything for money, even lie to the faces of his own neighbors.

    He just gave his seat back to the Republicans.

  5. Sen. Courtney (D, Burlington) who's district covers a tip of Muscatine County - is always at the forums in Muscatine.

    Two weeks ago (and he seemed well caffenated with a knee twitch) he sat through the form without anyone asking about the 4 bills. Toward the end he threw them out on the table himself - bantering with himself about being accused of dark of night passage, not this year... yada yada...

    I'm thinking to myself, yeah - because you have the VOTES this year...

    Found it odd that he brought it up when no one asked; his primary objective seems to be protecting Nathan R's right flank in these forums.

    This is just sick - and makes me proud to count Dawn Pettengill as a Republican now.

  6. If Marek votes for prevailing wage..the week after telling a LARGE group of Washington County residents, including two County Board of Supervisors members and Sandy Greiner, who held his seat before him...he's gonna have one HELL of a target on his back for '10.

    Those folks in Washington County don't like being lied to...and if Marek stabs them in the back..payback will be a coming...

  7. Does anyone know if Marek has a dog?

    Remember when the Union Thugs threatened to kill Dawn Pettingill's dog if she didn't vote for Fair Share?

    As an animal lover, I hope the Marek's can see to it that their pets are protected

  8. OMG is that true?

    Kill her dog? I never heard that one.

  9. go back and read the stories. pettingill is the bravest human being to ever be a democrat.

    they get their thug moniker for a reason.

    she's lucky she still has her kneecaps.

  10. Remember when the leadership wouldn't let Dolores take her medicine, and she had to be carried out of the chamber after Kevin McCarthy screamed in her face, she was so sick?

  11. I am trying to follow your logic. Does the prevailing wage only go to union workers or does it go to all Iowa construction workers?

    I thought the prevailing wage went to all construction workers in the states, not just union workers.