Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org January 19, 2012
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On the Inside
TAKE ACTION
Transportation is Job #1 Campaign
TRANSPORTATION
Transportation and FAA Reauthorization Update
LABOR
Lawsuit Challenges NLRB Recess Appointments
INFRASTRUCTURE
Key Federal Technical Committee Puts the Brakes on LightSquared’s LTE Network
AGC PAC
Twenty-Three Chapters Reach 100 Percent in 2011 AGC PAC Board Contest!
South Carolina Primary: Perry Out. Romney Up. Gingrich Down.
AGC EVENTS
Register for the 2012 AGC Federal Contractors Conference
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TAKE ACTION
Transportation is Job #1 Campaign
 

With only 73 days remaining until the expiration of the latest highway and transit authorization extension, today AGC kicked-off a comprehensive grassroots and communications campaign asking Congress to take action on a reauthorization bill before March 31, 2012.

The campaign, called Make Transportation JOB #1, will continue to build momentum for passage of a reauthorization billThe time to engage your member of Congress is now.  Both the House and Senate are in position to move their respective bills but they need to be encouraged to ACT NOW.  

AGC and our members have worked hard to get the reauthorization bill to this point and we need to push to ensure members of Congress hear from their constituents of the need to Make Transportation JOB #1 and pass a highway and transit reauthorization bill.  Over the next several weeks AGC chapters, members and business colleagues need to:

  1. Send letters to your Representatives and Senators;
  2. Sign a petition expressing your support for passing a highway and transit bill;
  3. Use a complete grassroots toolkit – available on the AGC website – with sample letters to the editor and guidance about arranging effective meetings with your Representatives and Senators.

AGC would like to thank the chapters and members who have already participated in the campaign.  To date, 429 letters have been sent to Congress asking them to pass a highway and transit bill.  Only 21 signatures have been added to AGC’s online petition so we ask that you go onto our website, www.agc.org/roads, sign the petition today, and encourage your employees and colleagues to do the same.

Getting a highway and transit authorization bill passed in Congress and signed into law prior to March 31, 2012, will not be easy.   It is vital that AGC members engage business associates (suppliers, subcontractors, insurance, bonding, financial services, etc.), labor organizations and other non-construction businesses in this effort.  We need a true team effort to get this done.

For more information, please contact Sean O’Neill at (202) 547-8892 or oneills@agc.org; or Brian Deery at (703) 837-5319 or deeryb@agc.org. Return to Top

TRANSPORTATION
Transportation and FAA Reauthorization Update
 

With Congress returning next week for the second session of the 112th Congress, two major infrastructure authorization bills are in position to move through the House of Representatives and the Senate.  Current extensions of authorizations covering the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Federal highways and transit programs expire in the first quarter of 2012, with the FAA expiring on January 31 and highways and transit on March 31.

The FAA authorization, currently on its 22nd extension, must be dealt with first and is closer to completion than the highway and transit bill.  In the first session of the 112th Congress, both the House and Senate passed respective FAA authorization bills.  Negotiations continue between the House and Senate with only a handful of outstanding issues yet to be agreed on.  The most contentious of those issues is a House provision overturning a National Mediation Board ruling on how to count votes in airline union formation elections.  Even if an agreement can be reached on the outstanding items, it is likely that another short-term extension of FAA funding will still be needed to prevent another shutdown.  AGC will continue to monitor the negotiations and push to avoid another shutdown of the FAA.

Reauthorization of federal surface transportation programs is the closest it has been to moving forward in both the House and Senate since the current authorization (SAFETEA-LU) expired on Sep. 30, 2009, but still faces obstacles in each chamber.   

In the Senate, the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee passed a bipartisan two-year authorization of federal highway spending on Nov. 9 and the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee passed the their safety portion of the reauthorization on Dec. 14.  The committees who have yet to act are Banking (transit) and Finance (revenue) and both could potentially markup their respective portions as early as the week of Jan. 30.  The main obstacle in the Senate is finding the revenue necessary to maintain current funding levels, estimated to be between $12 and $14 billion.  There have been encouraging signs from Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) that they are working on ways to find the revenue necessary to pay for the reauthorization bill.

In the House, the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has not moved a bill through their committee as EPW did in the Senate.  AGC members received an update last week from Republican staff on the committee where the staff laid out the possibility of moving a reauthorization bill in the next several weeks.  Big decisions yet to be made by House leadership include: the funding levels for the bill and a revenue source for those levels.  Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is committed to pay for part of the bill by expanding oil and gas production, but the revenue estimates from this source fall woefully short of what is needed to maintain current funding levels.  AGC has been told that Republican leaders are planning to bridge the gap between revenue from expanding energy production and remaining funding needed to maintain current funding levels.  If this is the path forward in the House, the obstacles to passage will be ensuring enough Republican votes for the package and avoiding  major opposition from Democrats.

AGC continues to work with both House and Senate leaders and staff as this process plays out.  We have also kicked off our grassroots campaign, Make Transportation Job #1 where we are asking AGC chapters and members to send letters to their Representatives and Senators; sign a petition calling for swift passage of a reauthorization bill; and meet with their legislators when they are home in their districts and states.

For more information, please contact Sean O’Neill at (202) 547-8892 or oneills@agc.org. Return to Top

LABOR
Lawsuit Challenges NLRB Recess Appointments
 

On Jan. 13, 2011, the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace – of which AGC is a member – and co-plaintiffs filed a motion to amend their complaint challenging the NLRB’s employee notice rule to add a count challenging the Board’s authority to implement or enforce the rule with only two members.  The motion alleges that the recess appointments of Richard Griffin, Sharon Block and Terry Flynn are unconstitutional. The Supreme Court’s New Process Steel decision stated that the board must have three members to perform certain duties; therefore the two-member board is inadequate.

While awaiting a ruling on the motion, the coalition is also gathering resources to mount a separate legal challenge focused on the recess appointments.  They are currently looking for a suitable employer with a pending matter before the Board. AGC will continue to monitor the legal challenges and urges the president to work with the Senate and seat a balanced board.  In addition to the legal challenges, bills have been introduced in the House that would ban these types of recess appointments.  The Executive Appointments Reform Act (H.R. 3770) and a nonbinding resolution were introduced in the House. Leadership has not decided whether either of these bills will receive a vote.

For more information, please contact Jim Young at (202) 547-0133 or youngj@agc.org. Return to Top

INFRASTRUCTURE
Key Federal Technical Committee Puts the Brakes on LightSquared’s LTE Network
 

As AGC reported previously, a company called LightSquared is planning to build a national mobile internet network to compete with the data signal offered by major cell phone companies. Early reports indicated that the spectrum they planned to use was too close to the signal band used by the Global Positioning System, causing signal bleed and interference, particularly for the sensitive GPS receivers aboard agricultural and construction equipment.

The National Space-Based Positioning, Navigation and Timing Executive Committee had been asked by the Federal Communications Commission and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to test and analyze LightSquared's original plan, as well as plan modifications designed to reduce interference with GPS. In a Jan. 13 letter, the Committee, which represents nine federal departments and agencies, said "Based upon this testing and analysis, there appear to be no practical solutions or mitigations that would permit the LightSquared broadband service, as proposed, to operate in the next few months or years without significantly interfering with GPS."

The Committee’s unanimous conclusion makes LightSquared’s plan very difficult to accomplish, as the FCC has made the successful resolution of these interference issues a condition for granting LightSquared permission to proceed. AGC will continue to work with the ‘Save Our GPS’ Coalition to ensure the GPS signals that drive many pieces of construction and underground utility location equipment are preserved.

For more information, please contact Scott Berry at (703) 837-5321 or berrys@agc.org. Return to Top

AGC PAC
Twenty-Three Chapters Reach 100 Percent in 2011 AGC PAC Board Contest!
 

The 2011 AGC PAC Chapter Board competition finished strong, as 23 (bolded below) of the 38 participating chapters achieved 100 percent board member participation and a chance to win a complimentary, standard registration package for AGC’s 2013 convention.

Chapters participating in the 2011 contest included:

AGC of Alaska

AGC of Missouri, Inc

Arizona Chapter-AGC

Montana Contractors’ Association

Arkansas Chapter AGC

Nebraska Building Chapter-AGC

San Diego Chapter

Nebraska Chapter-AGC

Carolinas AGC

Nevada Chapter, AGC

AGC of Colorado Building Chapter Inc

Associated Contractors of New Mexico

Colorado Contractors Assn Inc

New Mexico Building Branch

AGC of Connecticut Inc

AGC of Oklahoma Building Chapter

Georgia Branch, AGC

AGC of Oklahoma General Contractors

General Contractors Assn of Hawaii

Oregon-Columbia Chapter-AGC

Central Illinois Builders

Master Builders' Association of W PA

Fox Valley AGC

Constructors Assn of W Pennsylvania

AGC of Kansas Inc

AGC of South Dakota, Inc

Kansas Contractors Association

AGC of East Tennessee

AGC of Kentucky Inc

AGC of Texas

AGC of Western Kentucky Inc

Utah Chapter

Louisiana AGC Inc

AGC of Virginia

AGC of Minnesota

AGC of Washington

Mississippi Valley Branch-AGC

Inland Northwest Chapter-AGC


Contest Nuggets:

First Chapter to log 100 percent participation:  NE Bldg Chapter (4/29/11)
Chapter reaching 100 percent with highest # of board members:  AGC of Alaska (35)
Chapter generating most board dollars:  CAWPA ($18,000)            

2011 Award Distribution:

All  2011 Chapter Board Awards will be distributed at the National and Chapter Leadership Luncheon at AGC’s 93rd Annual Convention, Hilton Hawaiian Village; Tuesday, March 13, Tappa Ballroom 3, 12:15 – 1:30 p.m.

As most of our chapters are aware, PAC contributions are essential to advancing the industry’s legislative priorities on Capitol Hill. They are a part of the political business just as much as submitting bids is a part of the contracting business. Again, we are sincerely grateful for your support.

Get your chapter involved early. Join us now and reap the competitive edge of early registration for the 2012 board contest. Our chapter involvement determines the success of this ongoing program and reflects AGC PAC’s ongoing goal to “Build a Better Congress.”

Prepare Early for 2012 Chapter Board Contest:

Click here to review 2012 contest rules and commit your board’s support for the 2012 challenge. E-mail or fax (703/837-5407) your completed 2012 intent-to-participate form and board roster to Cecelia Casey in the National AGC PAC office at caseyc@agc.org (PH: 703/837-5435).

For more information on AGC PAC, please visit www.agc.org/PAC. Return to Top

South Carolina Primary: Perry Out. Romney Up. Gingrich Down.
 

The rollercoaster ride to the Republican presidential nomination continued today with Rick Perry announcing the end of his campaign two days before the South Carolina primary. Reaching his peak poll numbers shortly after entering the race last August, Perry fell victim to a number of gaffes leading to questions about his candidacy.

Perry’s announcement leaves Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich to fight for the Palmetto state’s primary on Saturday. Most polls show Romney over Gingrich, but within the margin of error. However, ABC will air an allegedly damaging interview tonight of Gingrich’s ex-wife discussing the former Speaker’s moral inconsistencies. The interview could land a devastating blow to the Gingrich campaign in the socially conservative state.

AGC PAC continues to closely monitor the presidential as well as the congressional races for construction-friendly candidates.

For more information contact Jimmy Christianson at 202-547-5013 or christiansonj@agc.org. Return to Top

AGC EVENTS
Register for the 2012 AGC Federal Contractors Conference
April 16-19, 2012 | The Mayflower Hotel | Washington, DC
 

The 2012 AGC Federal Contractors Conference will be held April 16-19, 2012, at The Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. This meeting is the only national event where contractors and federal agency personnel can meet in a collaborative forum to review federal construction contracting issues and trends from around the U.S. These insightful and highly productive exchanges have solidified the need for both federal construction contractors and the federal construction agencies to share information on a wide variety of issues, foster better communication and create real solutions.

If you are engaged in any aspect of constructing, designing or planning a federal project and you are a general contractor, specialty contractor, service/supplier, attorney or any other important stakeholder already engaged in the federal or federally-assisted market, this conference has a place for you. If you are interested in learning more about federal contracting opportunities and how to get started, this conference is a great place to begin your learning experience.

The conference is geared for AGC members who perform a diverse range of projects including building construction for agencies such as the General Services Administration, military construction projects for our Armed Services, highway and transportation projects for our nation, and water resources projects that benefit our nation's navigation and flood control. AGC continues to inform members from specific industry segments about emerging issues and trends that are relevant to their work.

To learn more about the conference, download the conference brochure and register, please visit www.agc.org/fedcon.

For additional information, please contact Marco Giamberardino at (703) 837-5325 orgiamberm@agc.org


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