Measure to crack down on unscrupulous contractors weighed in N.J.

A New Jersey Assembly committee has advanced legislation to protect the public from lax contractors.

The measure would prohibit contractors who have been convicted of three or more violations of wage, benefit, or tax laws in the past three years from taking government contracts.

Assemblyman Dan Benson says that will help safeguard the quality of work in rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy.

“Wherever there’s work, there’s always folks that are going to try to make a quick buck. So this is trying to be a little bit more proactive,” said Benson, D-Mercer.

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“We see it in regular jobs out there now. So we want to make sure that when we see a ramp up of work we keep that from happening there too,” Benson said.

Labor groups want to make sure contractors are excluded only for serious violations so there are enough workers to deploy rapidly to areas of the state that were devastated by the storm.

“There has to be a balance between making sure the work is done safely and healthily so that we don’t have tragedies and ensuring rapid deployment of contractors and their workforce to our shore areas and other areas in the state that certainly need assistance urgently,” said Rick Engler, director of the New Jersey Work Environment Council, a coalition of labor unions, environmental, and community organizations.

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