TRENTON – The state Senate passed a bill on Thursday that would require all contractors to show state-issued identification badges while they were working. The proposed legislation now awaits action by Gov. Chris Christie.
“We’ve all heard horror stories of home improvement projects gone awry and homeowners losing lots of money in schemes by incompetent and fraudulent contractors,” said state Sen. Kevin O’Toole (R-Bergen, Passaic, Essex, Morris). “As a property owner, it requires a lot of trust to turn your keys over to a stranger to make renovations or rehabilitations of the place you live and raise your kids.”
O’Toole’s S2363 requires every licensed contractor to possess and display on the upper left corner of his torso an identification badge, while he or she is in the business of making or selling home improvements. A contractor who has been issued an identification badge and whose registration has been suspended, revoked, or has not been renewed, shall, within three days of that suspension, revocation or nonrenewal, surrender the identification badge to the director. The bill mandates that a person who knowingly exhibits or displays an identification badge and is not at that time registered, including any contractor who has had his registration revoked, suspended, or not renewed, is guilty of a fourth-degree crime.
“Various professionals display identification during work, so this is a small requirement that can protect people in a big way,” O’Toole concluded. “Fraudulent contractors scheming to take advantage of people’s vulnerability, especially as they are trying to recover their homes from weather disasters such as Superstorm Sandy, must prove their legitimacy and be held fully accountable.”
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