Illinois Democrats fail to override prevailing wage veto

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Illinois State Capitol in Springfield.

By CARL GREEN

Illinois Correspondent

Springfield, IL – Labor and its supporters lost one more effort to override a veto by Governor Bruce Rauner, this time of a bill intended to support prevailing wage laws.

Rauner’s administration has refused to update prevailing wages in an attempt to drive down construction workers’ wages on public projects.

Representative Jay Hoffman (D-Swansea), chairman of the House Labor and Commerce Committee, had filed legislation to end that stalemate.

The bill would base prevailing wage rates on collective bargaining agreements when at least 30 percent of workers in a local district are covered by bargained contracts.

The bill was initiated by the Operating Engineers and the Laborers unions and emerged from the Legislature as Senate Bill 2964. It passed both the Senate and House but was vetoed by Rauner.

The Senate moved first to override, voting 41-17 in the first week of the recent veto session to override, with support from all Democrats and three Republicans.

In the House, the bill needed 71 votes to override and had passed by just 72. When it came up, in the last days of the veto session, it got only 70. One Democrat was on excused absence and two others switched to “not voting” to determine the final margin.

VOTER VETO

Earlier, the House had failed to override Rauner’s veto of an automatic voter registration (AVR) bill supported by Democrats and Labor that would have registered up to two million more voters through drivers’ license and other state offices. Thirteen Republicans switched their votes at Rauner’s request, and a couple of Democrats didn’t show up.

Mike Carrigan, president of the Illinois AFL-CIO, called the veto playing politics instead of serving the public.

“While many states are seeking ways to restrict voter access, this legislation encourages maximum participation in elections,” he said. “It’s disappointing that those Republican representatives voted one way before an election, then caved to the governor after the election.

“Rauner even said he was for AVR before he stopped it with his veto pen. It’s just more politics and games for them.”

The newly elected Legislature is scheduled to begin meeting next month.

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