Pennsylvania House Passes Key Labor Bills: Strengthening Workforce and Infrastructure

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PENNSYLVANIA — The Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed two key labor bills on Wednesday, October 18, 2023. The bills, H.B. 1449 and H.B. 1465, will now go to the state Senate for further deliberation.

House Bill 1449 is designed to amend Title 62 (Procurement) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes. It aims to set additional qualifications for public work projects and imposes duties on the Office of State Inspector General. The bill also establishes penalties for non-compliance. Sponsored by State Representative Josh Siegel, D-Lehigh, the bill seeks to create a statewide responsible contractor law, setting clear requirements for firms bidding on publicly funded infrastructure projects. These requirements include having a state or federal registered apprenticeship program and paying prevailing rates.

State Representative Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., majority chair of the PA House Labor and Industry Committee, said, “Investing in our infrastructure is a top priority. This legislation would ensure that the commonwealth has a skilled craft labor workforce for years to come.”

House Bill 1465, sponsored by State Representative Dave Delloso, D-Delaware, intends to apply the Prevailing Wage Act to investor-owned utilities such as water, sewer, and gas. The bill would apply the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry’s prevailing wage rates and minimum safety standards to all contracted construction work completed on underground utility systems regulated by the Public Utility Commission.

Additionally, the Pennsylvania House Labor and Industry Committee reported two pieces of worker support legislation, H.B. 1751 and H.B. 1481, sending them to the House floor for consideration.

House Bill 1481, sponsored by State Representative Mandy Steele, D-Allegheny, proposes amending Pennsylvania’s Unemployment Compensation Law to provide unemployment compensation benefits to workers who are unemployed due to a work stoppage.

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House Bill 1751, sponsored by State Representative Kyle Donahue, D-Lackawanna, aims to strengthen the state’s Construction Workplace Misclassification Act by increasing penalties for contractors who misclassify workers and allowing the state attorney general and district attorneys to investigate and prosecute worker misclassification.

These bills are expected to be considered by the full House in the near future.

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