Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org January 10, 2013
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On the Inside
INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT
Sandy Aid Bill House Consideration Expected
AGC PAC
Four Upcoming Special Elections
LABOR
DOL Secretary Resigns
AGC Opposes USACE Project Labor Agreement Inquiries
AGC EVENTS
Registration for 2013 AGC Federal Contractors Conference is Now OPEN
Free Member Only AGC Webinar on Multi-Employer Pension Plan Reform
AGC to Host Webinar on the Affordable Care Actís Impact on Business Operations
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INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT
Sandy Aid Bill House Consideration Expected
 

Before recessing last week, the House of Representatives passed the first part of the Hurricane Sandy emergency supplemental appropriations bill.  The bill provided $9.7 billion in additional borrowing authority for the National Flood Insurance Program and passed by a vote of 354-67.  The House returns next week and is expected to continue consideration of the remaining Sandy aid bill. The Senate will return from their break the week of January 21 and will take up the bill as their first order of business.

The bill faces opposition among some House Republicans so it is important that AGC members contact their members of Congress expressing support for the passage of the Sandy supplemental to ensure swift enactment of the legislation that will provide the affected states the ability to rebuild their infrastructure.

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

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AGC PAC
Four Upcoming Special Elections
 

Massachusetts - Senate Seat

Though Sen. John Kerry (D) has yet to begin his confirmation process as Secretary of State, action is already occurring in the upcoming special election to replace him. Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.-5) has announced his intention to run and received Sen. Kerry's endorsement, along with endorsements by Vicky Kennedy, wife of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D), and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.  Rep. Mike Capuano (D-Mass.-7) objects to the Democratic establishment lining up behind Markey and has reiterated that he is still considering a run in the race.  Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA-8), commonly regarded as the most conservative member of the all-Democratic Massachusetts delegation, also says he may run. For the Republicans, former Sen. Scott Brown also has not ruled out entering the race.  However, the race for Governor – likely to be an open seat in 2014 – appears to be a better option for him.

Markey appears to be in the driver's seat, at least in the early going of this race. Gov. Deval Patrick (D) will appoint an interim successor once Senator Kerry resigns to serve until a special election can be held.  Last week, Former Congressman Barney Frank (D-Mass.-4) made a public statement saying he is interested in receiving the interim Senate appointment so he may participate in the upcoming fiscal legislative debate – which will take place before the special election is conducted. Gov. Patrick had no reaction to Frank's statement. The governor may come under intense pressure, however, to appoint Rep. Markey. Doing so would virtually clinch the campaign for him. The special election winner will run for a full term in 2014.

Illinois - 2nd Congressional District

After assuming a tentative lead as the Democratic front runner for the special election to replace resigned-Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D), state Sen. Donne Trotter has indicated that he will not become a candidate, leaving the race wide open. Trotter was arrested at O'Hare Airport recently for carrying a weapon. The incident would be detrimental to his congressional campaign in light of the frenzy surrounding the Connecticut school shooting.  Current candidates include former Rep. Deborah Halvorson (D-Ill.-11), who lost to Jackson in the 2012 Democratic primary after losing her 11th District seat to Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R) in 2010. Former Rep. Mel Reynolds (D), who served time in prison for a series of felonies, is also a candidate. So are several state legislators and local Chicago officials. The primary will be held on Feb. 26.  

Missouri – 8th Congressional District

With Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R) preparing to leave the House in February to become CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, individuals are making moves to qualify for the special general election. Each political party will nominate one candidate for the special election.  Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder (R), former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman, state Republican Party executive director Lloyd Smith, and State Rep. Jason Smith have all notified Republican Party officials that they want to be considered for the nomination. The southeastern Missouri 8th district is a heavily Republican seat, so it is almost a certainty that the state party district convention winner will win the special election. Gov. Jay Nixon (D) will set the election schedule when Ms. Emerson officially resigns from her seat.

South Carolina – 1st Congressional District

Gov. Nikki Haley (R) has set the election schedule to replace new Sen. Tim Scott in the House. The special primary will be held March 19, with a run-off election – should no candidate claim an outright majority – on April 2. The special general election will be May 7. Expect a crowded Republican field, as the eventual GOP nominee will be a heavy favorite to win the May election. Among those seriously considering the race is former Gov. Mark Sanford (R), who left office after he was discovered having an affair. Before being elected Governor, Sanford served in the House for three terms.

For more information, please contact David Ashinoff at (202) 547-5013 or ashinoffd@agc.org. Return to Top

LABOR
DOL Secretary Resigns
 

On Jan. 9, 2013, Department of Labor (DOL) Secretary Hilda Solis announced her resignation from the agency. Since her confirmation in 2009, the DOL has stepped up its regulatory and enforcement activities in a number of different areas. The resignation comes on the heels the Department’s long delayed regulatory agenda. Currently, there is no consensus frontrunner to take the helm at DOL. AGC will continue to monitor the confirmation process of a new Secretary and possible initiatives that could impact the industry.

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

AGC Opposes USACE Project Labor Agreement Inquiries
 

On Jan. 8, AGC sent two letters opposing government-mandated project labor (PLA) inquiries posted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).  USACE sought industry comments on possible PLAs for projects outside of New Orleans, La. and Los Angeles, Calif. The former project involves levee work as part of the hurricane protection system and the latter is for the replacement of a JP-8 Bulk Fuel Storage at Edwards Air Force Base.

AGC neither supports nor opposes contractors’ voluntary use of PLAs on government projects, but strongly opposes any government mandate for contractors’ use of PLAs. AGC is committed to free and open competition for publicly funded work, and believes that the lawful labor relations policies and practices of private construction contractors should not be a factor in a government agency’s selection process. 

To view AGC’s letters, please click here and here.

For more information, please contact Jimmy Christianson at (703) 837-5325 or christiansonj@agc.org. Return to Top

AGC EVENTS
Registration for 2013 AGC Federal Contractors Conference is Now OPEN
www.agc.org/fedcon
 

The 2013 AGC Federal Contractors Conference will be held April 23-25, 2013, 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 United States. 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 more information, please contact Jimmy Christianson at (703)837-5325 or christiansonj@agc.org. Return to Top

Free Member Only AGC Webinar on Multi-Employer Pension Plan Reform
Learn About Recommendations for Legislative and Regulatory Changes to System
 

For over a year, AGC has participated in the National Coordinating Committee of Multiemployer Plans (NCCMP) Retirement Review Security Commission to develop draft recommendations for legislative and other changes to the current multi-employer pension plan system. The Commission has worked to develop these recommendations to ensure that the system provides reliable retirement income to workers while reducing financial risks to contributing employers.

The Commission was a labor-management, cross-industry group of stakeholders. Specific recommendations were put forth in the following areas:

  • Technical corrections and other changes to the Pension Protection Act;
  • New tools for plans near insolvency;
  • Facilitation of new, more flexible plan designs; and
  • Other new tools and changes to the law.

On Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013, at 2:00 p.m. EST, AGC will host a free webinar with presenters involved in the Commission, including AGC of America’s Commission representative and NCCMP staff, all of whom will review the Commission’s proposal and its potential impact on the construction industry.  By participating in this webinar, union contractor members will learn about the proposal and potential legislative changes after the Pension Protection Act sunsets in 2014, and how to help advance reform efforts. 

For more information or to register for the free AGC member-only webinar, please click here. Return to Top

AGC to Host Webinar on the Affordable Care Actís Impact on Business Operations
 

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) will impact the bottom line of EVERY construction company. As a result, many construction company owners and executives are faced with making some tough choices to help minimize the impact of the new law on business operations.  AGC’s upcoming webinar series, The Affordable Care Act: The Impact of Health Care Reform on Your Construction Business, will provide those with a seat at the table the information necessary to make critical business decisions that will affect the company for years to come.  The webinars will be held on Feb. 5, 7 and 12.  Each webinar will be held from 2:00-3:30 p.m. ET.  Registration for all three days is just $99 for AGC members.

On day one of the webinar, AGC’s chief economist will give his prediction as to what areas of construction will see growth as a result of the new law and where marketing and business development efforts should be expanded. In addition, there will be an overview all of the key implementation dates of the ACA, the overall impact of the law on health plans, and the impact of the individual mandate on business – an often disregarded issue for employers.

Day two will cover “Play or Pay” – the employer mandate provision that raises the most questions for employers. Small businesses and those with seasonal employees will especially benefit from learning the process for determining if a company must comply with the mandate. Vital tax and payroll issues will also be discussed.

For those who decide to “play”, on day three, participants will get an inside look at the future of the insurance marketplace, including how insurance providers are adapting their plans and cost structures as a result of the new requirements, as well as techniques to use when shopping around for health insurance plans.

Now is the time to take action by creating a strategy to address these critical issues.  In addition, On December 28, 2012 the IRS released a document titled Questions and Answers on Employer Shared Responsibility Provisions under the Affordable Care Act. To view a copy of this document, please click here.

For more information or to register, please visit the AGC website. Return to Top

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