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Egan, Diegnan, Lagana, Mosquera & Eustace Bill Package to Bolster U.S. Economy Advances in Assembly

A five-bill package sponsored by Assembly Democrats Joseph V. Egan, Patrick J. Diegnan, Joseph A. Lagana, Gabriela Mosquera and Tim Eustace that would prohibit agencies from using imported materials to complete a job was approved by an Assembly panel on Thursday.

The first bill (A-3059) would require the use of U.S. goods in the fulfillment of all state contracts, including those negotiated by public colleges and universities.

“As we continue to rebound from the Great Recession and strengthen our economy, it’s critical that we take advantage of all opportunities to keep jobs and dollars in America,” said Egan (D-Middlesex/Somerset), Assembly Labor Committee chair. “This bill package is one of those opportunities, and we cannot afford to let it pass us by.”

“This legislation, in addition to being a route to a better economy, is about New Jersey taking pride in this nation’s products,” said Diegnan (D-Middlesex). “It’s about investing in America’s future.”

Provisions of the legislation provide exemptions for certain pharmaceutical products and technological articles that are generally imported into the U.S. fully assembled.

The bill also requires recipients of state contracts or economic development assistance to disclose where their services are being performed. Furthermore, it establishes a bipartisan joint task force to evaluate the extent to which state contracts are being performed outside of the U.S. and determine how that performance impacts the job market and wages of New Jersey residents. The study would also explore why New Jersey businesses choose to locate operations outside of the U.S.

Another bill in the package (A-3221) would require all Port Authority of New York and New Jersey contracts to include a provision stating that only American iron, steel and manufactured products may be used in the construction, reconstruction, alteration or improvement of a project or facility.

“At this crucial moment of economic recovery, it’s time for us to stop looking beyond our borders and recognize the value of tried and true products made in America,” said Lagana (D-Bergen/Passaic). “When we buy American, we invest in our workers and their families.”

“A part of patriotism is taking pride in quality American resources,” said Eustace (D-Bergen/Passaic). “This bill package is about declaring our undying confidence in this great nation.”

As is the case with the aforementioned bill, the provisions of the legislation permit waiving the requirement after public notice and comment if: the quantity and quality of the material or product needed is unavailable in the U.S., using domestic materials or manufactured products increases the project’s cost by more than 25 percent or the requirement in any way forces deviation from the overall public interest.

The State of New York must also enact identical legislation in order for the provisions of the bill to take effect in New Jersey.

Three additional bills in the package (A-3279/A-3280/A-3281) would require the Delaware River Port Authority, the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission and the Delaware River and Bay Authority to use materials made in America in the fulfillment of contracts as well. The bills also permit a waiver of the requirement if a necessary product is unavailable or comes at an excessive cost.

“Just as the northern region of the state seeks to strengthen its commitment to our country, it’s critical that the same rules apply in South Jersey,” said Mosquera (D-Camden/Gloucester). “This interstate effort will only succeed if we act in unity.”

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania must also enact identical legislation in order for the provisions of the A-3279 and A-3280 to take effect in New Jersey, and the State of Delaware must enact identical legislation in order for A-3280 to take effect in New Jersey.

The full bill package was released by the Assembly Labor Committee.