Several new laws expand the definition of "public works" and thereby expand application of state prevailing wage laws to state-funded construction. Prevailing wage laws increase the cost of publicly funded construction. SB 136 modifies Section 1720.6 of the Labor Code to define "public work" as including work done under private contract if it is "performed in connection with the construction or maintenance of renewable energy generating capacity or energy efficiency improvements," performed on state property, and more than half the energy generated will be purchased by a government entity or the improvements are primarily intended to reduce costs that would otherwise be incurred by the state or a political subdivision of the state.

AB 514 modifies the Labor Code Section 1720.3 to add a definition of "hauling of refuse" from a public works site to an outside disposal location to include hauling of soil, sand, gravel, rocks, concrete, asphalt, excavation, materials, and construction debris. It specifically excludes hauling recyclable metals from the definition.

AB 551 increases the penalties for violations of prevailing wage laws and for failing to retain proper payroll records. The law increases the maximum penalty to $200 per calendar day and increases the minimum penalty to $40 per calendar day for good faith mistakes. Under the new law, contractors and subcontractors with prior violations can be assessed $80 (up from $20) for violations and $120 (up from $30) for willful violations. Additionally, employers may be fined $100 per employee per calendar day for payroll violations, an increase from $25 per day. The new law also extends to three years the period of time during which a business found to have committed two or more separate willful violations within a three-year period is ineligible from bidding on, being awarded, or performing work as a subcontractor on a public works contract.