There have been some big developments for proponents of fair and open competition around the country.
It is clear that taxpayers from sea to shining sea are sick of their hard earned tax dollars funding special interest handouts in the form of wasteful and discriminatory project labor agreements (PLAs).
Last week, lawmakers in Idaho cleared legislation that will prohibit government-mandated or forced PLAs on state funded projects in the future. S.B. 1006 has now reached Gov. Butch Otter for his signature, which is expected within the next ten days.
This is a huge win for the people of Idaho, which will join six other states and ten local communities in banning PLAs on projects funded by their tax dollars. It will also be the second state since the November 2010 election to take a stand against Big Labor. In January, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad issued Executive Order 69 banning involuntary PLAs on state supported construction. The Branstad order is already paying dividends for Iowa taxpayers as it may preclude a proposed PLA requirement on the Cedar Rapids Convention Center project.
Arizona’s lawmakers have also gotten serious about ensuring that fair and open competition – and not Big Labor handouts – dictate how public construction projects are awarded in their state. Tired of Big Labor’s greenmail-style tactics in Arizona, the Senate has passed legislation to prohibit government-mandated PLAs on state and local projects. Similar legislation has been introduced in the House and received a positive reception from its committee of referral.
With legislators in Michigan and Ohio moving their bills through the process and new bills introduced in Georgia and Florida, it is clear that state lawmakers are sick of getting four buildings for the price of five. Momentum is building, as taxpayers are calling out for the accountability they deserve on public construction.
Additionally, these executive and legislative actions show the genuine concern that state leaders have about section 7 of President Obama’s Executive Order 13502. Regular readers know that section 7 of the Obama order states the following:
Sec. 7. The Director of OMB, in consultation with the Secretary of Labor and with other officials as appropriate, shall provide the President within 180 days of this order, recommendations about whether broader use of project labor agreements, with respect to both construction projects undertaken under Federal contracts and construction projects receiving Federal financial assistance, would help to promote the economical, efficient, and timely completion of such projects.
Some taxpayer advocates, including those who write this blog, believe that this provision may ultimately be used by the federal government to attempt to require these union handouts on federally assisted construction in the future. While the administration has passed the 180 day threshold for a decision as required under the order, the specter of this provision still hangs over every potential federally assisted construction project in America.
This threat may become especially acute as the 2012 election approaches and President Obama works to lock down his support from construction union bosses, a game several incumbent governors tried to play in advance of the 2010 election last November.
Here at TheTruthAboutPLAs.com, we believe that the Obama administration is going to have a tough time requiring PLAs on projects funded jointly by the federal government and state/local government entities if the project is in a state that prohibits PLAs on state funded projects.
We urge state leaders throughout the country to be good stewards of their constituent’s hard earned tax dollars and say no to government-mandated PLAs on projects funded by their state money.