Moratorium on nursing homes and construction wage law changes move forward at the statehouse.

A three-year moratorium on construction of most new nursing homes around Indiana has been approved by state lawmakers….and a 

Senate panel considers repeal of construction wage law.

The state Senate voted 36-12 Tuesday to give final approval to the bill, sending it to Gov. Mike Pence.

House members voted earlier this month by a narrow margin to support the proposal.

Supporters say the moratorium is needed because Indiana has thousands of unused nursing home beds, which are costing the state millions in annual Medicaid costs based on a payment formula that includes construction costs.

Those against the measure say it violates free-market principles and will cost jobs.

A similar proposal failed in 2014 after private lobbying by then-House Speaker Pro Tem Eric Turner whose family business faced losing millions of dollars. Turner resigned from the Legislature in November.

An Indiana Senate panel is considering a Republican-led push to repeal the state law that sets wages for public construction projects.

Senate Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee members discussed a proposal Tuesday to eliminate the Common Construction Wage Law, which requires boards to set wages for each state or local project.

Supporters argue that the wages are set artificially high and hinder the competitive market from lowering bid prices and saving taxpayer money. Critics say eliminating the law will decrease labor productivity, construction quality and worker salaries.

Committee Chairman Brandt Hershman, a Lafayette Republican, proposed an amendment that would establish harsh punishments for contractors who abuse work rules and require an employee training program.

Hershman says lawmakers won’t vote on the measure until next week to allow for further review.