Committee sends project labor agreement bill to Senate

The Wisconsin state Senate could soon take up a bill that would limit the influence of unions bidding for public projects.

The Senate Labor Committee voted on party lines Thursday to approve a proposal sponsored by Sen. Leah Vukmir and Rep. Rob Hutton that would prohibit state and local governments from requiring project labor agreements on bids for public projects.

The Republican sponsors have said they expect the bill to move quickly through the Legislature. The full Senate could take it up on Wednesday.

Unions say the proposal removes local control over bid requests for public projects. But the measure’s supporters say non-union companies shouldn’t be excluded from bidding on some projects.

The measure must pass the Senate and Assembly and be signed by Gov. Scott Walker before becoming law.