CHARLESTON — On Thursday, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin vetoed both the prevailing wage and right-to-work legislation.
Tomblin vetoed House Bill 4005, repealing prevailing hourly rate of wages requirements and stated:
“Last year, I worked with the Legislature to create a compromise on prevailing wage to help local communities by exempting projects less than $500,000 and to improve our state’s prevailing wage calculation. These new rates have been in place for less than a year — we need to give this new methodology time to work. We don’t need to pass bills that lower the wages of West Virginia workers and do little, if anything, to stimulate our economy.”
Tomblin also vetoed Senate Bill 1 on Thursday, establishing the West Virginia Workplace Freedom Act, also known as right to work, stating:
“Foremost, I dispute that West Virginia needs a right-to-work law. The issue of right to work has been discussed for a number of years, but I have never had a company cite right to work as a barrier to relocating to West Virginia. We do not lack prospects. Our issues are best addressed by improving our workforce and creating new development opportunities. Since becoming governor in 2010, West Virginia has welcomed more than $10 billion in new investments and expansion projects. I do not believe West Virginia needs a right-to-work law, a law that would lead to little if any economy growth and may lower the wages of West Virginia workers.”
It’s expected the Republican-controlled Legislature will override Tomblin’s vetoes.
State Senate President Bill Cole, R-Mercer, issued the following statement in response to the governor’s vetoes of SB 1 and HB 4005:
“I am not surprised at Gov. Tomblin’s decision to veto these bills, but I am disappointed. From the beginning, I have said the Senate is committed to doing what is necessary in order to move our state forward. I believe both of these bills — the West Virginia Workplace Freedom Act and the repeal of the state’s prevailing wage law — accomplish this goal. The Senate will not delay action to override these vetoes.”
Locally, here’s how the voting broke down from Mason County legislators at the State Capitol:
HB 4005: Delegate Jim Butler, R-Gallipolis Ferry, 14th District, Scott Cadle, R-Letart, 13th District, Mike Ihle, R-Ravenswood, 13th District, all voted in favor of passing the bill. Sen. Mitch Carmichael, R-Ripley and Sen. Mike Hall, R-Winfield, both voted in favor of passing the bill.
SB 1: Sen. Carmichael and Sen. Hall, both voted in favor of passing the bill. Delegates Butler, Cadle, Ihle, all voted in favor of passing the bill.
Reach Beth Sergent at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @BSergentWrites.