August 30, 2007
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Labor
AGC Expects Action on Labor, Safety and Immigration Issues This Fall
Failure to Pass Federal Immigration Reform Leads to State Action
AGC and Coalition Send Letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on No-Match Letters
Highway
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair Calls for Bridge Reconstruction Initiative Support, Plans to Introduce Bill
Congressional Budget Office Projects Larger Highway Trust Fund Deficit
Federal and Heavy
Senate Expected to Take Up WRDA Reauthorization in Early September

  AGC Expects Action on Labor, Safety and Immigration Issues This Fall

Congress comes back to town next week and will have a busy agenda.  While its unclear what legislation might be ultimately signed into law, AGC expects there to be activity on issues with regard to labor, safety and immigration.

On many of these issues, AGC will be working to educate Members of Congress as to the effect on the construction industry.  Committee hearings and votes will likely be held on legislation regarding health and safety regulations such as enhanced penalties or criminal sanctions for employer non-compliance.  AGC expects activity to occur on fair-pay issues as well as attempts to change the definition of “supervisor” in the National Labor Relations Act.

In addition, AGC expects to see piecemeal attempts to crack down on employers for immigration purposes.  Amendments expected include those that would make use of the Basic Pilot program mandatory for federal contractors or would debar federal contractors for even simple paperwork violations. 

AGC will closely review the legislation and amendments that affect our members and keep close tabs on their progress.

For more information, please contact Kelly Knott at knottk@agc.org or (202) 547-4685. 

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  Failure to Pass Federal Immigration Reform Leads to State Action

Since January 1, 2007 over 1,400 pieces of legislation related to immigrants and immigration had been introduced in the 50 states and 170 became law in 41 states.  The lack of a federal immigration policy has forced this unprecedented level of activity resulting in a 250 percent increase in legislation dealing with immigration compared to 2006. 

While much of the legislation introduced does not directly impact employers, AGC members should know there are several states with new legislation. Georgia, Arizona and Colorado now require the use of the Basic Pilot Program.  For example, Arizona’s law revokes the business licenses of repeat offenders.

In addition, the National Conference of State Legislatures published a report documenting the thousands of pieces of legislation across the country and the 2007 Enacted State Legislation Related to Immigrants earlier this month. The NCSL Immigration Report can be found here.

For more information, please contact Kelly Knott at (202) 547-4685 or knottk@agc.org. [ return to top ]

  AGC and Coalition Send Letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on No-Match Letters

This week, the Essential Worker Immigration Coalition (EWIC) sent a letter to DHS in response to the new regulation on social security "no-match" letters.  AGC is a steering committee member of EWIC and helped to draft the letter. 

DHS published a final rule in mid-August to outline what steps an employer could take to verify the status of an employee when an employer receives a "no-match" letter.  This rule takes effect on September 14, 2007. 

AGC, in conjunction with EWIC, is asking for a delay in the effective date.  The letter also included a list of questions EWIC would like to see answered prior the final rule being implemented.

Click here to read the letter sent to DHS.

For more information, please contact Kelly Knott at knottk@agc.org or (202) 547-4685.

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  House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair Calls for Bridge Reconstruction Initiative Support, Plans to Introduce Bill

Congressman Jim Oberstar (D-Minn.) Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on Thursday convened a meeting of transportation stakeholders, including AGC, to request support for his National Highway System Bridge Reconstruction Initiative.  The Chairman announced that he will introduce legislation authorizing the program on Tuesday.  The Transportation Construction Coalition, of which AGC is co-chair, met Wednesday and agreed to support the proposal and work for its enactment.

The initiative would provide dedicated funding to states to repair, rehabilitate, and replace structurally deficient bridges on the National Highway System.  Chairman Oberstar has suggested that a 5 cent per gallon increase in the federal excise on gasoline could be used to pay for the program.  The revenue derived from the increase would be deposited into a newly-established trust fund specifically for bridge reconstruction and could total as much as $25 billion over the proposed three-year life of the program.  In addition, the Chairman’s bill would prohibit funds from being earmarked for specific bridge projects.

AGC supports Chairman Oberstar’s initiative and urges members to contact their Representatives to support it as well.  A letter is available at AGC’s Legislative Action Center to send to your members of Congress to ask for their support.  To send a letter click here.

For more information, contact Karen Bachman at bachmank@agc.org or (202) 547-4733. [ return to top ]

  Congressional Budget Office Projects Larger Highway Trust Fund Deficit

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is projecting larger Highway Trust Fund deficits than the U.S. Treasury for FY 2009 and beyond.  CBO estimates that the highway account of the Highway Trust Fund will end FY 2009 by as much as $5.1 billion in deficit, $800 million more than the Administration estimated earlier this summer.  Under this scenario, if additional revenue is not found, the federal-aid highway program may face a reduction of nearly $18.9 billion in FY 2009, for a net investment of $24.3 billion. 

AGC is working with the leadership of the Congressional authorizing and tax-writing committees to take immediate actions to offset the projected deficit in FY 2009. 

For more information, contact Karen Bachman at bachmank@agc.org or (202) 547-4733.

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  Senate Expected to Take Up WRDA Reauthorization in Early September

  

aThe Senate is expected to approve the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2007 when it reconvenes next week. Despite efforts by Senate leadership to complete action WRDA, final passage of the bill was pushed back to September when Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) objected to the unanimous consent agreement needed to bring the bill to the floor.

If approved, the bill will go to the President Bush for his consideration. The President has indicated he will veto the measure if it reaches his desk. Congressional leaders, however, have vowed to override the veto. 

For more information, please contact Marco Giamberardino at (703) 837-5325 or giamberm@agc.org. [ return to top ]