TRENTON – Lawmakers have introduced bills regarding prevailing wages, aid grants, and the Italian consulate in Newark.
The Senate president, a former ironworker, wants the state to be able to take sterner measures in some prevailing wage disputes.
Sen. Steve Sweeney, (D-3), West Deptford, locked in a re-election battle in a district that Republicans say they want to target, has introduced a bill – S3012 – that would permit the Department of Labor to issue a stop-work order against any employer who continues to pay less than the prevailing wage after the state has assessed a penalty in the case.
Such an order would bring work to a halt at a job site until the commissioner of the Labor Department finds that the employer has agreed to pay the required salaries.
Under the bill, the employer might also have to file periodic reports with the state for up to two years, and may be at risk of a civil penalty of up to $5,000 a day for each day they were found in violation.
Sen. Shirley Turner, (D-15), Trenton introduced a bill that would allow towns or counties to hold on to grant monies and not return them to the state under certain conditions.
Under S3016, the bodies would not have to give back to the Transportation Department aid grants if the town or county has completed the planning process for projects that will use 100 percent of the allotted funds within three years in the case of counties and two years in the case of municipalities.
Under normal circumstances, failure to award construction contracts within the allotted time can result in the money being rescinded. Then the Transportation commissioner can reallocate that money elsewhere.
This bill would introduce more flexibility for towns and counties and allow them more opportunities to hold onto the grants.
A bipartisan resolution has been introduced in order to persuade the Italian government to keep its consulate in Newark open.
Sens. Joe Kyrillos, (R-13), Middletown, and Paul Sarlo, (D-36), Wood-Ridge, put forth SR126, which argues in favor of the viability of the consulate in the state’s largest city.
The consulate serves approximately 4,000 people a year by processing passports and providing other services, the lawmakers say.
There would be a smaller office in Trenton that would remain open, but people would have to travel to Philadelphia or New York City for many services, the resolution contends.
The consulate is scheduled to close in March as part of a budget crunch. Thirteen consulates are being closed worldwide.