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Kan. Senate approves bill barring local wage rules

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- The Kansas Senate has approved a bill barring cities and counties from requiring their contractors to pay union-scale wages.

The 31-9 vote Tuesday sends the measure to the House.

The bill would bar local governments from requiring private firms to pay employees more than the federal minimum wage for work on public contracts.

It's aimed at local policies requiring contractors to pay so-called prevailing wages. The federal Department of Labor sets those rates, and critics say they're often based on union scales.

Wyandotte County has a prevailing wage policy.

Republicans said the bill will reduce the cost of public projects and argue that the market ought to set wages. Democrats said prevailing wage policies don't boost costs and ensure workers earn a decent living.