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Gov. Phil Murphy chats with members of UFCW Local 152 in Little Egg Harbor Township. (Photo: Matte Kane)

Murphy signs bill requiring domestic steel, iron products for state projects

By Nikita Biryukov, June 25 2021 12:11 pm

Gov. Phil Murphy on Thursday signed into law a bill requiring the state government to procure steel and iron products used for permanent constructions from firms in America or its territories.

The bill contains exceptions that allow non-American steel to be used if using domestic products would not serve the public interest, result in a loss of federal funds or in cases of emergent need.

There are also exceptions for supply shortages, lengthy delays, certain trade treaties, projects that began before the bill’s June 24 enactment and where using domestic products would bump overall costs by more than 25%.

The bill passed in unanimous concurrence votes Monday and was signed into law by Gov. Phil Murphy Thursday.

“Requiring the purchase of American-made goods for public contracts is good economic sense,” said Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford), its sponsor. “We have an obligation to use public funds in ways that help both our workers and our businesses. This is part of a national movement in support of American jobs that will help revitalize infrastructure across the state and bolster the strength of our manufacturing industries.”

Sweeney is vice president of the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers.

The legislation comes after President Joe Biden issued a January executive order that increased the prices at which federal agencies could purchase goods from U.S. suppliers and strengthened other domestic preferences.

New Jersey’s measure could prove an electoral boon. The bill is likely to be favored by New Jersey’s building trades as Gov. Phil Murphy and every seat in the legislature come up for election this November, though it’s not clear whether it will translate into any material campaign support.

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