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California Bill Would Bar State From Contracting Companies That Build Trump’s Wall

The border fence between San Diego and Tijuana is pictured, Sept. 19, 2016.

Photo by Katie Schoolov / KPBS

Above: The border fence between San Diego and Tijuana is pictured, Sept. 19, 2016.

A California state senator will introduce a bill this week to prohibit the state from contracting with any person or company that helps build President Trump’s border wall.

A California state senator plans to introduce a bill this week to prohibit the state from contracting with any person or company that helps build President Trump’s border wall.

Ricardo Lara, a Democrat from Los Angeles, said the border wall is wasteful and unnecessary. His bill is meant to discourage California companies from participating in the construction.

He said the wall will hurt the state’s economy, which benefits from cross-border commerce. He argued that a border wall would "slow down" binational trade.

Last month, California lawmakers wrote another bill that would punish companies involved in Trump’s wall — by taking away their access to state pension funds.

At least three of the companies that submitted border wall proposals are in San Diego.

They said the wall isn’t a political issue for them and that they just want to create jobs and profits in San Diego.

San Diego State University finance professor Seth Kaplowitz said Lara's bill could shift profits out of the state and that it's unfair to California companies.

“They see (the wall) just as a source of getting revenue to keep their businesses going," he said. "And to prevent funding for them because they’ve chosen to do this particular job which is particularly legal is going to be a stretch to enforce.”

Kaplowitz added that he isn't a supporter of President Trump's wall but that he sees Lara's bill as politically rather than economically motivated, punishing companies in a way that he argues is misguided.

One of the San Diego companies that wants to build the wall, RE Staite Engineering of Barrio Logan, called the latest bill "disappointing" in an email.

Another company, vScenario, said last month’s bill could end up driving up the cost of the wall and shifting profits to foreign companies.

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