Prevailing wage laws are designed to ensure that construction workers on government-funded projects are paid fair wages based on local averages. While 24 states currently lack such laws, South Dakota is looking to join the movement with Senate Bill 110. This blog post dives into the proposed legislation, its potential impact, and what we know so far.

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Understanding Prevailing Wage in South Dakota

Senate Bill 110, introduced by Senator Nesiba, aims to establish prevailing wage requirements for specific state agency contracts. This means government agencies would need to:

  • Conduct in-depth investigations into local labor market conditions to determine fair wages and working hours for each project.
  • Share their findings with the Department of Labor and Regulation (DLR), who would then make the information publicly available at each project site.
prevailing wage contractor

This increased transparency would:

  • Empower workers by providing clear wage benchmarks.
  • Promote fair competition among contractors, ensuring workers receive fair compensation.
  • Create comprehensive datasets highlighting average wages for various construction trades in South Dakota.

Key Provisions of Senate Bill 110

While the bill’s final form is still under debate, here’s what we know:

  • Applies to: The construction of physical structures, not material production or product delivery.
  • Exemptions: Projects costing less than $2,500 requiring one trade OR projects costing less than $25,000 requiring multiple trades.
  • Enforcement: The Department of Labor and Regulation (DLR) will enforce the law and have access to payroll and wage-related records for applicable projects.
  • Penalties: Violating the law is a Class 2 misdemeanor.

Missing Information and Next Steps for Prevailing Wage

Several crucial details remain unclear:

  • Reporting and compliance procedures: Currently, there’s no information on how contractors would report and comply with the law.
  • Specific penalties: The exact nature of fines and other penalties for violations is yet to be determined.

If Senate Bill 110 advances, further discussions and planning will be necessary to address these gaps and ensure smooth implementation.

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Stay Informed: What You Can Do

As South Dakota considers prevailing wage legislation, it’s important to stay informed. Address information gaps and compliance challenges as they happen. Here are some steps you can take:

office lady on phone about prevailing wage
  • Contact your state representatives: Share your views on the proposed law.
  • Follow the progress of Senate Bill 110: Monitor legislative updates and committee hearings.
  • Reach out to industry organizations: Seek information and perspectives from construction industry groups.

By actively engaging, you can contribute to a transparent and informed decision-making process regarding prevailing wages in South Dakota.

The journey to enacting prevailing wage laws is complex and ongoing. South Dakota’s Senate Bill 110 is a significant step, but it’s just the beginning. Stakeholders must engage in continued dialogue to address the gaps and craft a law that truly benefits the state’s workers. The evolution of prevailing wage legislation is a critical watchpoint for anyone invested in the fair treatment of laborers. 


The material presented here is educational in nature and is not intended to be, nor should be relied upon, as legal or financial advice. Please consult with an attorney or financial professional for advice.