For the first time in seven years the House Labor and Industry Committee heard four labor bills that would make Kentucky more competitive and in line with surrounding states. Arguments from both sides were heard, but per the sponsor, Rep. Jim Decesare, no vote was taken.
House Bill 308, “The Kentucky Right to Work Act,” removes the requirement that anyone employed in Kentucky would be forced to become or remain a member of a labor organization or pay dues to any union or third party organization.
House Bill 309, would add a new section to KRS 65 that would remove the provision requiring a labor agreement on any project for the Commonwealth and cities, counties, consolidated local governments, districts and local public agencies.
House Bill 311, removes the construction of any elementary, secondary or post secondary education buildings from the definition of ‘public works’ under KRS 337.010. The change would include but not be limited to adjunct and support buildings, dorms, administrative buildings, sports facilities, parking facilities, and health facilities.
The last of Rep. DeCesare’s four bills, House Bill 312, essentially repeals all definitions of prevailing wage. It removes all language related to the various definitions, pay schedule, and penalties and fines related to Kentucky’s prevailing wage under various current statues. It also does away with Kentucky’s Prevailing Wage Review Board, and also changes the maximum amount paid to a master electrician for an inspection from the prevailing wage scale to a wage paid to an amount equal to what the majority of master electricians are paid in the region specific to the inspection.
The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce commends Rep. Decesare and supports these pro-business pieces of proposed legislation. States with similar laws report faster per capita income growth, faster growth in manufacturing and non-agricultural jobs, greater capital expenditures, lower unemployment and fewer work stoppages. As Kentucky struggles to recruit new business and to retain existing and expanding businesses, Kentucky’s failure to enact pro-business legislation has allowed the Commonwealth to cede competitive ground to other states.