AB 155 threatens local control of public works projects in California

The election year promise is very pervasive. Have you ever heard of a politician say he or she is opposed to “local control?” Neither have I. However, a bill currently making its way through the State Legislature, AB 155, would do just that, setting a dangerous precedent that would paralyze local governments and politicize public works projects.

Assembly Bill 155 was introduced in 2013 to change the law to allow employees to have a copy of their payroll records; however, this bill was recently gutted and amended to be something completely unrelated and dangerous. The bill is now tied to the Monterey County Water Resources Agency’s plan to invest $25 million to build a pipeline to help increase water storage.

ab 155 construction-project

Sensing an opportunity to cloak bad public policy in the benefits of addressing California’s water crisis, AB 155 was amended to become, as Kevin Dayton, President & CEO of Labor Issues Solutions, noted in Flashreport, “the first California bill to mandate a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) on any project, state or local.” The bill is labeled an urgency measure, intended to take effect immediately. As a result, it requires a 2/3 vote of both legislative houses to reach the Governor’s desk for consideration.

To summarize AB 155, local elected officials wanted to build a local public works project to help address the drought. That’s what local elected officials are for; to make decisions. There is no justification for state lawmakers to trample on local control and mandate a PLA or any other special interest policy.

Legislative overreach has become way too common in California even from State Senators and Assembly members who claim to support local control while campaigning for their seats. Sadly, when a wealthy special interest wants them to usurp local control they are more than willing to fulfill the request.

The good news is that AB 155 cannot get to the Governor’s desk without Republican support. Merit Shop advocates, including CCCG, are working hard to educate legislators regarding the harm this policy will cause and the precedent it will set. It is yet another way in which your CCCG investment strengthens our industry and your business.

~ John Louden is the Executive Director of the California Construction Compliance Group