For First Time Ever, a Bill Sponsored by Associated Builders and Contractors of California Becomes California Law: A Compilation of Public Works Categories

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The Northern California Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) just announced that Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Senate Bill 1370, introduced by Senator Tom Berryhill (R-Modesto/Fresno). Based on my experience in California since 1997 and my archived files back to the 1980s, I believe this is the first stand-alone legislative bill sponsored by Associated Builders and Contractors to become law in California.

Senate Bill 1370 requires the California Department of Industrial Relations to post on its web site a list of every California code section and the language of those sections that require construction contractors to pay state-mandated wage rates (so-called prevailing wages) to workers in the construction trades and in certain professional construction services. The list must be posted by June 1, 2013 and updated annually each February 1.

According to the last legislative analysis of Senate Bill 1370, provided to the full Senate on August 17, 2012, “The author and sponsor of the bill argue that there is no one specific location where all projects subject to state mandated prevailing wage are listed. Proponents believe this one-stop web-based listing would increase government transparency and improve compliance with both project owners and contractors alike.”

California law is peppered with numerous and inconsistent references outside of the Labor Code to projects for which contractors are required to pay state-mandated construction wage rates. There are even two prevailing wage requirements embedded in the text of the California Fish and Game Code (Sections 1350 and 1501.5).

With the enactment of Senate Bill 1370, contractors will be able to better comply with state requirements for construction wage rates. Workers will have a better chance of knowing when their employer needs to pay state-mandated wage rates, no matter how obscure the project. And the public will learn that state-mandated construction wage rates apply to much more than what is typically considered to be a public works project. Fish and Game.

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