Prevailing Wage Task Force to Hold Final Meeting, Discuss Recommendations

The Task Force to Study the Applicability of the Maryland Prevailing Wage Law will hold its last meeting on Monday, January 27, 2014 to review prevailing wage studies and discuss recommendations.  These recommendations could potentially alter the criteria used to determine whether prevailing wage rates apply to school construction projects, increasing project costs. Under current law, prevailing wage rates apply to school construction projects for which the State pays at least 50% of the cost and the project cost is more than $500,000.

The Task Force was created by HB 1098 (Ch. 402, Acts of 2013).  As introduced, HB 1098 would have lowered the State funding threshold for which prevailing wage would apply to a local public work project from 50 to 25%. As amended by the House, HB 1098 would have require prevailing wage rates to be paid for a local project receiving any amount of State funds. MACo opposed the bill in this posture stating that this “one size fits all” approach would significantly undermine a local government’s ability to fund and manage its capital budget. MACo then worked on amendments with the Senate Finance Committee to establish the task force and dropped its opposition to the bill.

While its anticipated that the Task Force recommendations will result in legislation, other prevailing wage bills have been introduced this session.  SB 232, introduced by Senator Norman Stone, would require prevailing wage rates to be paid for a local project receiving any amount of State funds, similar to the House version of HB 1098 from last year.

SB 204, introduced by Senator Roger Manno, would expand the applicability of the prevailing wage law to all local governments and would define the prevailing wage rate as the combined hourly rates of wages and fringe benefits under a collective bargaining agreement.

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