Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org January 17, 2013
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On the Inside
INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT
House Passes Sandy Supplemental
ENVIRONMENT
AGC Hosts Federal Owners to Discuss EPA’s Consideration of Expanding Lead-Paint Work Practice Program
LABOR
AGC Responds to Nine Federal Agency PLA Inquiries since Election Day
AGC EVENTS
AGC Hosts Productive Winter Financial Issues Forum
Don't Miss the 94th AGC Annual Convention: March 6-9, 2013 in Palm Springs, Calif.
Save the Date: Annual Highway and Utilities Contractors Issues Conference
CONGRESS
Sen. Rockefeller to Retire
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INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT
House Passes Sandy Supplemental
 

This week, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 152, the Disaster Relief Act of 2013, which provides $50.7 billion in funding for relief and recovery efforts in the states impacted by Hurricane Sandy.   The bill passed by a vote of 241 – 180, with 49 Republicans and 192 Democrats voting yes and 179 Republicans and 1 Democrat voting no.  The bill now goes to the Senate, which reconvenes next week after the Presidential Inauguration.

The AGC supported bill combined two amendments offered during floor debate.  The first amendment offered by House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Roger (R-KY) was a nearly $17 billion package and passed by a vote of 327 – 91.   During debate on the Rogers amendment, Rep. Mick Mulvaney  (R-S.C.) offered an AGC opposed amendment that called for an ill-advised 1.63 percent across the board cut to all discretionary spending, the amendment failed by a vote of 258 – 162.   Once the Rogers amendment was passed, Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.) then offered an amendment adding an additional $33.67 billion to the package – the amendment passed by a vote of 228 to 92, with only 38 Republicans in support. 

According to an AGC analysis, the bill provides over $47 billion in funding to federal construction accounts.  AGC will continue to monitor the situation and urge the Senate to quickly enact this important 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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ENVIRONMENT
AGC Hosts Federal Owners to Discuss EPA’s Consideration of Expanding Lead-Paint Work Practice Program
Comment Deadline April 1
 

On Jan. 14, AGC hosted representatives from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Naval Facilities Engineering Command, General Services Administration and Department of Veterans Affairs to participate in a roundtable discussion with industry groups on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) consideration of new nationwide rules that would expand and strengthen the current federal Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting (LRRP) Program requirements. Specifically, EPA is looking to expand the LRRP Program to include renovations of both the exteriors and interiors of public and commercial buildings. 

Under the current LRRP Program, paid contractors who perform work in most pre-1978 housing, child-care facilities and schools (i.e., that have, or are assumed to have, lead-based paint) must comply with federal accreditation, training, certification, recordkeeping, pre-renovation education/outreach, and other work practice requirements or risk fines of up to $37,500 per day per violation.  EPA is in the process of determining whether LRRP activities on and in public and commercial buildings create lead-based paint hazards, and, for those that do, developing a similar suite of requirements as directed by the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

EPA recently signed a revised litigation settlement with environmental groups that gives EPA until the end of 2016 to finalize an approach to regulating lead paint dust in commercial and public buildings.  On Dec. 31, EPA announced that it will host a public hearing on June 26, 2013, to develop the LRRP rule for public and commercial buildings.  .  Comments are due by April 1.

Of particular interest to EPA for developing a proposed rule is information concerning:

  1. The manufacture, sale, and uses of lead-based paint after 1978.
  2. The use of lead-based paint in and on public and commercial buildings.
  3. The frequency and extent of renovations on public and commercial buildings.
  4. Work practices used in renovation of public and commercial buildings.
  5. Dust generation and transportation from exterior and interior renovations of public and commercial buildings.

AGC held the meeting with federal owners to exchange information and encourage collaboration in order to provide EPA with well-informed comments from both public and private building owners and constituencies.  

For more information or to offer input specific to EPA’s data needs (see #1-5 above), contact Leah Pilconis at 703-837-5332 or pilconisl@agc.org or Jimmy Christianson at 703-837-5325 or christiansonj@agc.org. Return to Top

LABOR
AGC Responds to Nine Federal Agency PLA Inquiries since Election Day
 

Since Election Day, AGC has sent nine letters opposing the possible use of project labor agreement (PLA) mandates posted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) around the country.  In the last week alone, AGC has sent letters in response to three USACE PLA inquiries from: (1) the Los Angeles District on a project at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz.; (2) the Baltimore District on projects within the Baltimore-Washington Corridor; and (3) the Louisville District on a project at Fort Campbell, Ky.

AGC has sent 60 letters to federal agencies opposing PLA mandates and bid preferences during the Obama Administration, most in response to agency announcements that a PLA mandate or preference was under consideration for a particular project or an anticipated set of projects in a particular area. Of those, only one PLA mandate has been issued to date.  

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.

For more information, please contact Jimmy Christianson at (703) 837-5425 or christiansonj@agc.org. Return to Top

AGC EVENTS
AGC Hosts Productive Winter Financial Issues Forum
 

The AGC Financial Issues Forum (formerly the AGC Tax and Fiscal Affairs Committee) met last week in Scottsdale, Ariz.  The group of construction CFO’s and CPA’s discussed tax law and accounting policies, including: an update from the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) on their leasing project; a detailed discussion about the latest regulations issued to implement the Affordable Care Act and what they mean for construction industry employers; the AICPA small company reporting framework; the Taxpayer Relief Act and other possible tax reform legislation in the 113th Congress; and the AGC legislative agenda for the 113th Congress.

 The next AGC Financial Issues Forum will take place in San Diego, Calif. June 13-14, 2013. Additional details will be provided in the coming months on our meeting website

For more information, please contact Jeff Shoaf at (2020 547-3350 or shoafj@agc.org. Return to Top

Don't Miss the 94th AGC Annual Convention: March 6-9, 2013 in Palm Springs, Calif.
Early-Bird Rates Expire Soon!
 

The AGC Annual Convention and Constructor Expo is the ideal opportunity to see everything that AGC can do for you and your business, as well as to learn from industry peers and experts on how they are overcoming today’s challenges.

Municipal & Utilities Division

There are several events Municipal & Utilities Contractors should be sure to catch. The Division Leadership meets on Tuesday, March 5, and is open to all AGC members. Interested in becoming more active in the Division, or getting to know your fellow contractors focused on the utility infrastructure markets? Now is the perfect time to join us!

Furthermore, as part of the Division’s plan to spearhead action on issues that are affecting your business today, we are sponsoring a plenary session Wednesday, March 6 called “Into the Future: Engaging All Generations” with Amy Lynch and Seth Mattison from the BridgeWorks organization (www.generations.com) to help contractors attract the employee of tomorrow, keep the employees of today, and identify/solve points of inter-generational conflict and communication failure. This theme will continue with the Municipal & Utilities Division Session Friday, March 9, where Division Leadership will unveil the new Division Strategic Plan, which was approved at their recent meeting in November. Amy Lynch will also be speaking to the group, continuing the conversation from the plenary session and working directly with members in the audience to work through the tough issues with real solutions to workplace problems.

Federal & Heavy Construction Division

Representatives from the headquarters of both the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Naval Facilities Engineering Command will meet with division members on Wednesday, March 6 to discuss their portfolios for the year and ongoing contracting issues. In addition, members will have an opportunity to shape the division’s 2013 Federal Contractors Conference agency meeting agendas to ensure that agency representatives hear the most pressing issues facing contractors who work with federal owners.

Highway & Transportation Division

Division members will meet on Wednesday, March 6 during the Highway & Transportation Division Forum to discuss contracting issues of importance to highway and transportation contractors.  If you are interested in being active in the Highway & Transportation Division, this forum is the right place to start.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to build your connections, grow your business, and get involved – register for AGC’s 94th Annual Convention today. Early Bird Rates expire soon!

For more information, please visit https://convention.agc.org/. Return to Top

Save the Date: Annual Highway and Utilities Contractors Issues Conference
 

Be sure to mark your calendars - AGC's Highway & Utilities Contractors Issues Conference will take place in Phoenix, Ariz. at the Arizona Biltmore Nov. 8-9, 2013. The Division Leadership meetings and annual golf tournament will take place on Thursday, Nov. 7.  More information – including how to register – will be coming this summer!

For more information, please contact Scott Berry at (703) 837-5321 or berrys@agc.org or Brian Deery at (703) 837-5319 or deeryb@agc.org. Return to Top

CONGRESS
Sen. Rockefeller to Retire
 

At the end of last week, Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) became the first 2014 election cycle Senator to announce that he will not seek re-election. The move is not a surprise, particularly in light of several factors: his age (the Senator will be 77 by the next election); the attacks he has launched on his home state’s coal industry; a previously Democratic West Virginia now swinging decidedly toward Republicans; and a tough new opponent in the guise of Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.-2), who announced her own Senatorial bid earlier this month.

Rockefeller will leave the Senate after he completes his fifth term. Prior to serving in Washington, the Senator was a two-term Governor, Secretary of State, and member of the House of Delegates. In all, when his current term ends at the beginning of 2015, he will have served 48 of the last 52 years in public office.

With the Senator exiting, all political attention turns toward Ms. Capito. The open West Virginia seat will now become the National Republican Senatorial Committee's top conversion target. Striving to avoid the mistakes that some GOP candidates made during the 2012 cycle, costing them seats even with an early political prognosis as favorable as in West Virginia 2014 – Capito is not the type of politician prone to egregious mishap.

Originally elected to the House in 2000 to what was a heavily Democratic seat, Ms. Capito overcame a huge amount of her opponent's personal spending in order to lock down the 2nd District. She repeated the feat in a re-match two years later. Since that time, the seat has become more favorable and her re-election percentages have grown. She will clearly begin the general election in the favorite's role.

Though the state is turning away from Democrats, the party still has a multitude of strong statewide candidates. Former Sen. Carte Goodwin is a potential entry. After the death of Sen. Robert Byrd, Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin appointed Goodwin to serve for the interim period between the former's death and the latter winning the seat in a special election. Speculation that Goodwin would eventually run for statewide office has always percolated, but he has yet to pull the trigger.

Other potential candidates are former West Virginia Democratic Party chairman Mike Callaghan, state House Speaker Rick Thompson, and possibly even 19-term Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.-3). Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, a loser in the recent race for Governor after Manchin was elected to the Senate, is another potential Senatorial candidate. The same can be said for state Auditor Glen Gainer and Treasurer John Perdue.

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

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