The Texas Tribune reports that a local legislator in that state is trying to roll back agreed-upon worker protections for large commercial construction projects in Austin. The protections include a minimum wage, workers’ comp coverage, and safety training. The “better builder” standards were a compromise between city officials and developers to expedite the permitting process in Austin – any developer that wants an expedited permit must meet the standards. However, a bill filed in Texas’s current special session (HB164) seeks to accelerate permitting processes in cities and towns across the state, but also bar specific cities from requiring companies to follow regulations like Austin’s “better builder” rules. Industry groups have called the Austin rules unnecessary. And according to the Tribune, some contractors are particularly irked that any job site that qualifies for the program must be monitored by the Workers Defense Project, a labor advocacy group that helped create the Austin regulations.
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