The Mechanical Contractors Association of Chicago supported the successful passage of three top state legislative priorities that represent important public policy changes.

The Mechanical Contractors Association of Chicago supported the successful passage of three top state legislative priorities to save time, money and lives.

The “Substance Abuse Prevention on Public Works Projects Act” prohibits employees from using, possessing, attempting to possess, distributing, delivering or being under the influence of drugs and alcohol while performing their duties on public works projects. The law goes into effect Jan. 1, 2008.

Employers will be required to have in place written substance abuse prevention and testing programs prior to commencing work on a public works project. In addition, the bill mandates the removal of employees who test positive for drugs or alcohol from the public works project until that employee completes a rehabilitation program or is cleared by a counselor to return to work.

The “Contractor Prompt Payment Act,” effective Aug. 31, 2007, requires that contractors or subcontractors must be paid within 15 calendar days for completed work that has been accepted by an owner or contractor. It basically allows contractors and subcontractors to stop work without penalty until they receive payment. The work will be considered accepted if the owner or contractor does not provide a reason for nonpayment within 25 days of receiving the bill. It applies to private work, with the exception of residential work of 12 or less units.

“The Mechanics Lien Act” allows a person or company to make a legal claim upon the property of another, to secure payment of a debt (effective Aug. 17, 2007). It expands lien rights to rental equipment, and takes an extra step to ensure that contractors receive payments to which they are entitled.

“We congratulate the legislators who championed the passage of these bills, their colleagues who understood the need for these important public policy changes, and the variety of associations, employers and tradesmen who supported these efforts,” said Evan Williams, vice president of external relations for MCA Chicago.