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Bill suspending prevailing wage headed to governor’s desk

Updated Thursday, March 5, 2015 | 3:49 p.m.

CARSON CITY — A bill that would allow school districts to build or repair buildings without paying construction workers the prevailing wage is on its way to Gov. Brian Sandoval for consideration.

Republicans pushed SB 119 through the Assembly today by a 23-19 vote, arguing it would save taxpayers money by allowing the hiring of lower-paid construction workers.

Assemblywoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick, D-North Las Vegas, argued unsuccessfully that “middle-class workers will take it on the chin...This is about lowering wages.”

Assemblyman Brent Jones, R-Las Vegas, said the measure “opens up the free market. It gets the most bang for our buck.”

Nevada law now requires the prevailing wage be paid on government projects. The prevailing wage for construction workers ranges from $40 to $50 an hour.

Opponents says the bill would result in workers being hired at $10 to $15 an hour and substandard work on projects.

SB 119 was passed earlier by the Senate on a partisan vote.

It is a two-part bill that also would extend school construction bonds beyond the term approved by voters as a way to ease overcrowding.

Democrats and a number of Republicans pushed through an emergency version of the bill after it became bogged down by opposition from Assembly Republicans.

The emergency bill signed into law Wednesday included the bond rollover but removed the prevailing wage portion over fears that it the two-part bill wouldn’t pass.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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