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