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Campaign to ban prevailing wage headed to court

An excavator.

A partisan split on a state election board has stalled a petition drive to outlaw prevailing wage rules in Michigan. Rules adopted by the state and many local governments require contractors to pay union-scale wages on publicly funded projects.

Two Republicans voted to approve the petitions and send the question to the Legislature. But the two Democrats on the board voted “no.”

Jeff Wiggins is with the petition campaign. He says the next stop is court.

“Unfortunately, two of the commissioners today went outside the what the law asked them to do, and they came to the wrong decision," he said.

The board’s two Democrats say there are questions about whether many petition circulators provided legal residential addresses as required by state law. Any action by the board requires bipartisan support.

“This is a clear violation of the constitutional rights of the people who signed these petitions," Wiggins said. "380,000 Michigan citizens want to repeal prevailing wage.”

The Republican-controlled Legislature would likely approve the initiative if the question is presented to lawmakers.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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