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AA_NO_NATOMAS_FIRE_station_30_DRILL.JPGCalifornia will withhold state funds from charter cities that do not pay prevailing wages for local public works projects under legislation Gov. Jerry Brown signed Sunday.

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



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