New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan is set to sign a law Tuesday that would allow builders to begin building houses in the state’s poorest neighborhoods.
The measure is the first of its kind in the nation, and it marks a victory for the New Hampshire Building Trades Council and the New York City building industry, which have been working to protect the livelihoods of local workers in the past few years.
The bill would allow people in the most severely-affected neighborhoods in New England to be eligible for work, even without an extensive background check.
It would also allow businesses and government agencies to hire people without having to have an extensive safety record and to work in communities where there are high rates of unemployment.
“We are going to have a lot more of these jobs, and a lot less of these folks have to worry about the safety of their family,” said Jim Lefebvre, president of the New England Building Tramps.
“This will create jobs for people, not just for a few people who have been there before, but for many people who are looking to start a new life in New York.”
New Hampshire’s economy grew by 5.4 percent last year, and Hassan is hoping that the new law will encourage construction companies to build more homes in the Granite State.
“The construction industry has seen a tremendous growth, particularly in the last couple of years, in the city of New Hampshire,” Hassan said Tuesday.
“It’s not just a state issue.
It’s a national issue.”
Hassan said the law will provide the jobs necessary to revitalize a city that has been in decline for decades.
“The new construction jobs will pay for itself, and that’s the message I’m sending to our residents,” she said.
New Hampshire currently has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country.
Last year, only 14.3 percent of workers were working, which was the lowest level in the Northeast.
However, the city is still facing a budget shortfall of $30 million.
Hassan has vowed to close that gap and make the state a manufacturing powerhouse, which will help boost the state economy.
The New Hampshire House passed the bill by a vote of 38-1 in May.
The Senate has not yet taken up the measure, but Hassan said she is hopeful that it will be able to be brought to her desk.