Kansas Senate advances bill barring local wage rules

TOPEKA, Kansas (AP) — The Kansas Senate has given first-round approval to a bill barring cities and counties from requiring their contractors to pay union-scale wages.

The Senate advanced the measure on a voice vote Tuesday. Approval on a second vote, expected later Tuesday, would send it to the House.

The bill would bar local governments from requiring private firms to pay employees more than the federal minimum wage for work on public contracts.

It’s aimed at local policies requiring contractors to pay so-called prevailing wages. The federal Department of Labor sets those rates, and critics say they’re often based on union scales.

Wyandotte County has a prevailing wage policy.

Republicans said the bill will lower the cost of public projects. Democrats said prevailing wage policies ensure workers earn a decent living.

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