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On Wage Repeal Bill, Opponents Push for Study Committee


The Indiana House easily approved legislation repealing the state’s common construction wage, and the bill’s support in the Senate looks strong.  For the bill’s opponents, pushing it to a summer study committee could be their best hope.

Set by local boards, the common construction wage is a sort of minimum wage for public construction projects. 

Pete Rimsans is the executive director of the Indiana State Building and Construction Trades Council, a workers group leading the charge to keep the common wage.  He notes that for a practice that’s been around for 80 years, lawmakers haven’t spent much time studying its repeal.

“It’s been bandied about in backrooms but there’s been no real formal vetting of it,” Rimsans said. “And normally the General Assembly’s pretty good about doing that during session or pretty good about doing that in a summer study committee.”

The bill came out of the House Employment, Labor and Pensions Committee. 

In the Senate, Republican Leader David Long says the chairman of the Senate Pensions and Labor committee isn’t completely supportive of repealing the common wage this year.

“I don’t think he’s opposed to the bill itself,” Long said. “I think he had been outspoken saying, ‘I would like a summer study committee first,’ which we thought we had last year and it got nixed at the end.”

But Long is bypassing the Labor committee.  Instead, the bill will go to Tax and Fiscal Policy, where’s it’s much more likely to come to the floor unchanged.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.