State Battles

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Budget and Taxes / Infrastructure / Labor Standards

In March, the Commission on Fiscal Stability and Economic Growth “issued its report and unanimously adopted several policy recommendations… The most egregious proposal rescinds state employee’s collective bargaining rights on pension and healthcare benefits after the expiration of the SEBAC agreement in 2027.  Benefit levels from that point forward would be determined by the General Assembly.  The Commission also recommends having a public-private task force review the terms of the current SEBAC agreement and examine the possibility of implementing privatization schemes, removing quasi-public agency employees from the SEBAC agreement, establishing a job freeze and using structured financial transactions to pay down unfunded liabilities.  The Commission stated its hope that SEBAC will voluntarily reopen the agreement to incorporate such changes.”  Also, the Commission’s report included a section that “involved reworking state tax policy to cut personal income taxes by $2.1 billion and eliminate both the estate and gift taxes.  Lost revenue would be replaced with increases in sales tax, corporate income tax, the gas tax, and other revenue sources.  It would also reduce corporate tax expenditures….” The report also recommended, “increasing prevailing wage thresholds to $1 million on both new construction and renovation projects.”  Information about other commission recommendations can be found here.  Labor leaders’ statements about the commission’s recommendations can be found here.

The Joint Committee on Labor and Public Employees held a hearing this week on the following bills:


Anti-prevailing wage bill

Anti-prevailing wage bill HB 293 remains in the House Administration Committee. The bill would rewrite the state’s prevailing wage by basing the wage on payroll information provided to the State Department of Labor, rather than on employer surveys.


Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner is in big trouble in November.



The nation’s second primary election produced a stunning result Tuesday — little-known conservative state Rep. Jeanne Ives nearly upset GOP Governor Bruce Rauner. Even in defeat, Ives’ performance raised serious questions about Rauner’s ability to win reelection in November in a blue state with President Donald Trump serving as the backdrop.  Read more...

Aamer Madhani and Nicole Gaudiano, USA TODAY

CHICAGO—Veteran Rep. Dan Lipinksi defeated a well-funded primary challenger, heading off a push by abortion rights groups and other left-leaning advocacy organizations looking to unseat one of the most conservative Democrats in Congress.  Read more...


Prevailing Wage

In March, prevailing wage back pay measure SB 572 received a second reading in the Senate and was passed with amendments.  The bill would allow an employee on a public works project, who are paid less than the prevailing wage rate for the work performed to sue their employer to recover the difference between the prevailing wage rate and the amount received by the employee. House companion bill HB 1243 remains under consideration in the House Economic Matters Committee.

The Senate Finance Committee has not yet taken post-hearing action on prevailing wage bill SB 278. The bill would require that the prevailing wage rate is paid for the construction of a structure or work that is located in a tax increment financing (TIF) district and is built using proceeds from local government bonds authorized in the statute for use in those districts.  However, the bill applies only if a political subdivision, Baltimore City, or the Revenue Authority of Prince George’s County authorizes the payment of prevailing wages for the relevant construction project. House companion bill HB 546 remains under consideration in the House Economic Matters Committee.


Repeal of Prevailing Wage

In January, anti-prevailing wage group Protecting Michigan Taxpayers submitted 380,000 signatures to the Michigan Election Bureau. The Bureau took a sampling of 535 signatures and found that only 370 were valid – shy of the 373 valid signatures required for Board of State Canvassers to recommend approval. The Bureau now will move to determine whether enough valid signatures were gathered by reviewing a larger sample.  If 252,523 valid signatures are certified, the petition to repeal the state’s prevailing wage will go to the state legislature, which would have 40 days to approve the measure or send it to the ballot in November.


Right to Work

HCR 102 was introduced and read for the first and second times last week.  This resolution would move the election date for voting on the referendum on right to work legislation passed in 2017 from the November 2018 ballot to the August 7, 2018, ballot. Companion bill SCR 49 was referred to the Senate Rules, Joint Rules, Resolutions, and Ethics Committee this week.

HJR 103 was read for the second time this week.  This bill would refer a right to work constitutional amendment to the ballot for the November 2018 election (or to the ballot for a special election to be called by the governor for that purpose).

Anti-Prevailing Wage Bills

SB 555 and SB 599 have been placed on the Senate Perfection Calendar (Monday,3/12).  SB 555 would repeal the state’s prevailing wage law, and SB 599 would modify how the prevailing wage is applied to specific public works and maintenance projects.   SB 688, which would also modify how the prevailing wage is applied to specific public works and maintenance projects, was passed by the Senate General Laws Committee in February.

This week, the House gave initial approval to HB 1729, a measure that would repeal the state’s prevailing wage law for all taxpayer-funded public works projects. Another vote is needed before the bill can be sent to the Senate, where a similar bill stalled last year. The bill summary can be found here.

Both HB 1313 and HB 1594 remain under consideration in the House Rules and Legislative Oversight Committee.  HB 1313 would prohibit the Missouri Housing Development Commission from requiring a prevailing wage on a project for a housing tax credit.  HB 1594 would allow municipalities to opt out of the state’s prevailing wage law.

HB 1270 and HB 1271 remain before the House Labor and Economic Development Committee.  HB 1270 would allow any county to exempt political subdivisions and public colleges and universities from the prevailing wage law.  HB 1271 would establish the School Construction Act, which exempts construction and maintenance work for certain school districts from prevailing wage requirements with the school board’s approval.

Also, the following bills remain before the House Economic Development Committee, where they have not yet been heard in committee:

  • HB 1272 would allow public bodies to opt out of prevailing wage laws for public works projects that are $750,000 or less.
  • HB 1293 would repeal provisions relating to prevailing wages on public works.
  • HB 1561 would exempt third and fourth-class counties from prevailing wage laws.
  • HB 1562 would exempt third and fourth-class counties from prevailing wage laws for public works projects less than $500,000.

New Mexico

Right to Work

Otero County held a hearing on a local right to work ordinance in March. Proposed ordinance 18-01 can be found here. Information about the hearing can be found here.


Anti-Worker Measures

Six anti-worker measures remain before the House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee.  These measures would refer anti-worker referenda to the November 2020 ballot. The measures would require passage by 3/5ths of the House and Senate before they could go to the ballot.  These measures are as follows:

●     Public sector right to work measure HJR 7 would refer a public sector right to work constitutional amendment to the ballot.  The measure would also eliminate exclusive representation.  

●     HJR 8 would refer a private sector right to work amendment to the state constitution to the ballot.  The measure also includes a provision to eliminate exclusive representation in the private sector. 

●     HJR 9 would refer a constitutional amendment to the ballot that would prohibit public authorities from requiring contractors to pay prevailing wage;

●     HJR 10 would refer a constitutional amendment to the ballot that would prohibit public authorities from requiring project labor agreements in contracts;

●     HJR 11 would refer a constitutional amendment to the ballot that would require public sector employee unions to be recertified on an annual basis. 

●     HJR 12 was introduced on 12/21.  This measure would refer a constitutional amendment to the ballot that would prohibit payroll deduction for union dues.  The measure would also prohibit unions from using dues or fees for purposes “in support of partisan politics or ideological causes not germane to the work of employee organizations in the realm of collective bargaining.”    


Apprenticeship Program

The state legislature adjourned sine die on Thursday, 3/8. 

SB 5576  is awaiting a date where it will receive a second reading in the House. This bill would address compliance with apprenticeship utilization requirements.

The legislature has passed SB 6126, and the bill will be sent to the Governor for consideration. This bill would require completion of an apprenticeship program to receive a journey level electrician certificate of competency.

Prevailing Wage

HB 1673 was sent to the Governor this week. This bill would include training on public works and prevailing wage requirements to responsible bidder criteria. The measure passed the House in 2017, and the bill was carried over to the 2018 legislative session.

SB 5493, a bill that would establish the prevailing rate of wage based on collective bargaining agreements or other methods if collective bargaining agreements are not available, was sent to the Governor this week.