Koch Brothers, WMC Behind Bill Gutting Local Control

March 23, 2018


A bill that forbids local governments from setting numerous labor and employment rules was approved Thursday by the Assembly and sent to Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

The measure, Assembly Bill 748, would:

Forbid local governments from setting higher minimum wages for contractors hired for public works projects;

Prohibit local governments from using labor peace agreements where employers agree not to interfere with attempts by labor unions to organize workers;

Forbid local governments from setting occupational licensing regulations that are tougher than state standards;

Prohibit local governments from establishing minimum standards for employment benefits;

Forbid local governments from handling wage claims or passing ordinances that prohibit employers from asking about a worker’s salary history.

A controversial provision in the original bill was removed that would have barred local governments from enforcing employment discrimination ordinances. In addition, the bill was amended so that some of its provisions do not apply to agreements by businesses and communities in connection with the proposed Foxconn manufacturing plant in Racine County.

Support for the bill is being led by Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC), the state’s largest business group, and the rightwing Americans for Prosperity, a secretive outside electioneering group created by billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch.

WMC, which is among the largest special interest spenders on outside electioneering activities, has doled out an estimated $18.6 million since January 2010 to support GOP and conservative legislative and statewide candidates. Americans for Prosperity has spent an estimated $5.7 million since 2010 in Wisconsin to support conservative and GOP legislative and statewide candidates.