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LaPorte County Imposes New Law on Contractors

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LaPORTE COUNTY - LaPorte County is imposing a new law that requires contractors to have an established apprenticeship program in order to bid on county jobs costing at least $150,000.

The "Times" reports it's a safeguard being put in place by a new law aimed at making sure the construction LaPorte County is paying for is top quality.

The new law also reportedly evens the job competition between union and non-union companies vying for the work.  

LaPorte County Commission President Rich Mrozinski told the "Times" that he is aware of how important the move is to organized labor.

The apprenticeship program must have at least five graduates in each of the past five years.  

Mrozinski says the requirements provide assurance of quality workmanship and that the workers are trained to do the job.

Mrozinski said the standards make it more difficult for companies to land contracts if they’re paying below scale wages in cash in order to undercut legitimate contractors during the bidding.

Panel member Joe Haney voted against the proposal because he said
the requirements will keep legitimate small businesses, potentially including those owned by minorities and women, out of the bidding process.

Sharon Jackson is the local host of "All Things Considered" and a reporter for Lakeshore Public Radio. She has been with 89.1 FM since its launch in 2009. Sharon is also a radio DJ in Chicago, and has been since 2004. In her previous job at Metro Networks/Westwood One, she was heard on am 890 WLS, WGN radio 720 am and am 560 WIND. She has also delivered news and traffic reports on radio stations all over Chicago and the suburbs including 95.9 The River, 98.3 WCCQ and Star 96.7.