Wisconsin Senate committee passes prevailing wage ban

A Republican-backed measure eliminating minimum salary requirements for state construction projects is moving forward in the Legislature.

The Senate’s labor committee on Tuesday passed the bill on a party-line 3-2 vote, with all Republicans in support and Democrats against. The bill could be taken up by the full Senate as soon as next week. It must pass the Senate and Assembly and be signed by Gov. Scott Walker before becoming law.

Democrats and unions oppose the measure, saying it will erode the middle class and send skilled workers out of the state. But Republican backers say eliminating the prevailing wage requirement for state public projects will save hundreds of millions of dollars.

The bill comes after the Legislature in 2015 voted to end the prevailing wage for local projects.