Rob Hogg

The Iowa Senate has approved a bill that would make so-called “project labor agreements” illegal on construction that’s financed by state or local governments. Republicans say non-union contractors do not bid on government-financed projects because of these agreements.

Senator Dennis Guth, a Republican from Klemme, steered the bill through the senate.

“Taxpayers deserve the best construction that they can get at the very best price that they can get,” Guth says. “This bill will make that happen by encouraging more contractors to bid on a project.”

Democrats like Senate Minority Leader Rob Hogg of Cedar Rapids say “project-labor agreements” help unmask “shysters” trying to land work on a publicly-funded project.

“We want to look at the experience of bidders…at their track record,” Hogg said. “…We want to look to make sure they’re treatiung their employees above board and not underground.”

The president of the Associated Builders and Contractors of Iowa says if the bill becomes law, more in-state contractors will start competing for government projects.

In other action Thursday, the Senate unanimously passed a bill that would allow prosecutors to argue a motorist was reckless because they were using a hand-held device at the time of an accident and should be charged with vehicular homicide.