- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 20, 2015

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said Wednesday that he doesn’t have the votes to repeal the state’s prevailing wage law, but he hopes to reform the statutes through the state budget.

The Juneau Republican told WTMJ-Radio that his caucus is “fractured” on the issue, with some saying a full repeal would disrupt the construction industry. He said the state’s construction industry is largely built around the law.

“This is something we have tinkered with, but nobody has the guts to talk about full repeal,” Fitzgerald said. “As flawed and ridiculous as prevailing wage is, the construction industry has kind of built itself upon that.”

Under current law, crews on state or local public projects and highway projects must be paid wages equivalent to what they would earn working on other projects in the area.

And Fitzgerald said the construction industry’s roots in prevailing wage law have complicated his caucus’ discussions about reforming the statutes, making them much more difficult than conversations about right to work laws.

“It’s very messy right now,” Fitzgerald said.

When asked whether the caucus needed Gov. Scott Walker to help guide them, Fitzgerald said, “You certainly always need the governor involved … You need them to lean on people from time to time.”

Fitzgerald said the comment didn’t specifically refer to Walker. He said he planned to meet with Walker on Wednesday to talk about prevailing wage reform and other issues.

Earlier this month the Senate Committee on Labor and Government Reform voted 3-2 against a GOP bill that would eliminate the law.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has said he doesn’t have the votes in the Assembly to repeal the law, either.


Follow Dana Ferguson on Twitter at https://twitter.com/bydanaferguson .



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