Schroder & McDaniel Bill Would Exempt School Construction from Prevailing Wage Law

The state Senate passed a measure Thursday that would exempt public schools from a statute requiring them to pay construction workers a specified minimum – often referred to as the prevailing wage law.

“While we can debate the policy of workers’ wages, we can all agree that our children of the Commonwealth deserve the best, and they deserve the best we can provide them now,” said Sen. Wil Schroder, R-Wilder, who sponsored the bill along with Sen. Christian McDaniel, R-Taylor Mill.

Schroder said the legislature’s own report found the measure (Senate Bill 9) would decrease construction costs of elementary and secondary education buildings by 7.6 percent.

“When we are dealing with multi-million dollar projects, this adds up quickly,” Schroder said. “Senate Bill 9 would simply allow more to be done with less with no change in quality of overall projects. More schools could be built from the savings, allowing more of our children to be placed in updated schools sooner.”

Sen. Ray S. Jones II, D-Pikeville, was one of 12 Senators who voted against SB 9, arguing that the measure would redistribute “money from hard working construction workers to construction company owners.”

Jones said prevailing wage laws across the United States date to the Great Depression when U.S. Congress passed the Davis-Bacon Act that mandated contractors pay prevailing wages on federally funded projects. He added that Kentucky passed its first prevailing wage law in 1940s.

SB 9 now goes to the state House for consideration.

From the Legislative Research Commission

Photo: Wil Schroeder presents the bill (via GOP Senate)