Senate Bill 7, by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, was backed by labor unions who argued prevailing wage requirements protect middle-class jobs and ensure high-quality public works projects.
The League of California Cities and other opponents framed the legislation as a test of Brown's commitment to local control - a principle the Democratic governor has invoked frequently in other legislative and policy matters.
About 50 charter cities in California have provisions exempting contractors from paying prevailing wages.
PHOTO: A carpenter works on a fire station being constructed in the Sacramento area on Aug. 27, 2004. The Sacramento Bee/ Andy Alfaro