Senate Bill No. 27
(By Senators Hunter, Kessler and Love)
[Introduced January 14, 1998;
referred to the Committee on Small Business; and then to the
Committee on Finance.]
A BILL to amend chapter twenty-one of the code of West Virginia,
one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, by adding
thereto a new article, designated article one-c, relating to
creating the "West Virginia Jobs Act"; defining terms;
setting forth legislative findings and policy; setting forth
the applicability of the act; requiring employment of West
Virginia residents for certain jobs under certain
conditions; allowing waiver certificates to employers under
certain conditions; setting forth criminal penalties; and
establishing an effective date for the employment
requirements by grandfathering in certain existing
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That chapter twenty-one of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, be amended by
adding thereto a new article, designated article one-c, to read
ARTICLE 1C. EMPLOYMENT OF RESIDENTS OF LABOR MARKET.
§21-1C-1. Short title.
This article may be cited as the "West Virginia Jobs Act".
As used in this article:
(a) The term "construction project" means any construction,
reconstruction, improvement, enlargement, painting, decorating or
repair of any public improvement let to contract in an amount
equal to or greater than twenty-five thousand dollars. The term
"construction project" does not include temporary or emergency
(b) The term "employee" means any person hired or permitted
to perform hourly work for wages by a person, firm or corporation
in the construction industry.
The term "employee" does not include: (1) Bona fide
employees of a public authority or individuals engaged in making
temporary or emergency repairs; (2) bona fide independent
contractors; or (3) salaried supervisory personnel necessary to
assure efficient execution of the employee's work;
(c) The term "employer" means any person, firm or corporation employing one or more employees on any public
(d) The term "labor market" means that labor market area
designated by the West Virginia division of highways for
Appalachian regional commission projects and includes every
county in West Virginia.
(e) The term "public authority" means any officer, board or
commission or other agency of the state of West Virginia, or any
political subdivision of the state, authorized by law to enter
into a contract for the construction of a public improvement,
including any institution supported, in whole or in part, by
public funds of the state of West Virginia or its political
subdivisions, or any economic development authority of the state
or any of its political subdivisions authorized to issue economic
development bonds as a means of financing private construction
(f) The term "public improvement" includes all buildings,
roads, highways, bridges, streets, alleys, sewers, ditches,
sewage disposal plants, waterworks, airports and all other
structures or works on which a construction project may be let to
contract by: (1) Any public authority; (2) Any private person,
corporation, partnership, or any other business entity receiving
the benefit of state tax incentives or credits; or (3) Any
private person, corporation, partnership or any other business entity receiving the benefit of economic development bonds
authorized or issued by any public economic development authority
or economic development board in connection with construction
projects in this state whether the construction project is public
§21-1C-3. Legislative findings; statement of policy.
The Legislature finds that the rate of unemployment in this
state is significantly higher than that of most other states, and
that a majority of West Virginia counties are designated as labor
surplus areas by the United States department of labor.
The Legislature further finds that economic development
bonds, tax incentives, tax credits and other taxpayer-guaranteed
or funded benefits are issued periodically to private persons,
corporations, partnerships and other entities to subsidize public
improvement construction projects, and that these incentives and
benefits are made by the state in an effort to combat
unemployment the state and its political subdivisions.
Finally, the Legislature finds that the employment of
persons from outside the local labor market on public improvement
construction projects contracted for and subsidized by the
taxpayers of the state contributes significantly to the rate of
unemployment and the low per capita income among qualified state
residents who would otherwise be hired for these jobs.
Therefore, the Legislature declares that, as a policy, residents of local labor markets, as defined in section two of
this article, should be employed and will be given preference in
hiring for the construction of all public improvement and private
construction projects which depend, in whole or in part, on
taxpayer funding, economic development bonds or other incentives
for which state taxpayers are responsible either through taxes or
§21-1C-4. Local employee quota on certain construction projects;
exceptions; waiver certificate issued in certain instances.
(a) In hiring employees for any and all construction
projects as defined in section two of this article, at least
ninety percent of each employer's employees shall be individuals
who are West Virginia residents and who have resided in the
relevant labor market for at least six months preceding their
application for employment.
(b) Any employer not able to employ the minimum quota of
West Virginia residents must inform the nearest office of the
West Virginia division of employment security of his or her
employment needs. If within one week following the placing of a
job order, the division is unable to refer any qualified job
applicants to the employer, or refers less qualified job
applicants than the number requested, the division shall grant a waiver certificate to the contractor indicating the
unavailability of applicants and setting a new quota for the
project. The waiver certificate shall be made a part of the
contractor's permanent project records. Upon receipt of the
waiver certificate, the contractor may employ non-West Virginia
residents to fill any positions covered by the waiver
§21-1C-5. Applicability of article; mandatory requirements to be
set forth in contracts.
(a) This article applies to expenditures by any public
authority made, in whole or in part, from public funds for a
construction project, including, but not limited to:
(1) Any construction project, whether public or private
funded, in whole or in part, by any bonds issued by any economic
development board or agency authorized to issue economic
development bonds for public or private construction projects;
(2) Any private construction project resulting, in whole or
in part, from the issuance of tax incentives, tax credits or
other benefits granted by the state or any of its political
subdivisions to induce or encourage the undertaking of any
construction project by any private person, corporation or any
(b) Every public improvement contract let shall contain a provision conforming to the requirements of this article. Every
subcontract for a public improvement which is, or reasonably may
be, done as on-site work shall contain a provision conforming to
the requirements of this article.
§21-1C-6. Penalties for violation of article.
(a) Any employer who violates any provision of this article
is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be
fined not less than two hundred fifty nor more than one thousand
(b) Any potential employee who applied for work and, but for
a violation of this article, would have been employed on a public
improvement, may recover from the employer those wages and
benefits which he or she would have received had he or she been
hired in accordance with this article as well as reasonable
attorney's fees and expenses. Any employer who engages in a
knowing and willful violation of this article shall also be
liable, as a penalty, for an additional amount equal to the
individual's lost wages and benefits.
§21-1C-7. Existing contracts not subject to the requirements of
This article applies only to contracts let after the
effective date of this article.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to mandate the hiring of
workers from the local labor market in public improvement
projects in West Virginia before out-of-state labor is hired.
This article is new; therefore, strike-throughs and
underscoring have been omitted.