West Virginia's Senate has voted 21-12 to keep secret from the public the payroll records from contractors on public works projects including road reconstruction funded by $1.6 billion in voter-approved bonding.
Supporters say it will protect the personal information of workers at private companies that still will have to provide payroll information to the Department of Labor.
Sen. Robert Karnes, an Upshur County Republican, says it also protects a contractor's competitive edge.
Critics say it hides from the public and the press information about who's working on the road jobs, whether the companies are hiring 75 percent West Virginians as required, and how much they're paid.
Sen. Corey Palumbo, a Charleston Democrat, says the law already protects sensitive personal information like Social Security numbers from disclosure.
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