Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org June 5, 2014
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On the Inside
SAFETY
AGC Supports the OSHA/NIOSH National Safety Stand Down/Announces Aggressive Research Project to Cut Construction Accidents
LABOR
AGC Supports Legislation Reforming Workforce Development System
TRANSPORTATION
Senate Committee Approves Transportation Funding Bill
AGC Supported Hours of Service Suspension Included in Senate Funding Bill
Senate Finance Committee Meets to DiscussHighway Trust Fund
2014 ELECTIONS
Key Results from Tuesday's Primary Elections
SAFETY
AGC Supports the OSHA/NIOSH National Safety Stand Down/Announces Aggressive Research Project to Cut Construction Accidents
 

On Monday, June 2, AGC of America, AGC chapters and members kicked off the OSHA/NIOSH National Safety Stand Down.  The week-long stand down was a voluntary effort for construction employers and their employees to dedicate time during the work week to stop and focus on, and discuss, the issue of fall protection safety in the construction industry.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), falls accounted for 279 (35 percent) out of the 806 total fatalities in construction during 2012. 

AGC CEO Stephen Sandherr participated in a local event held at a Balfour Beatty jobsite in Washington, D.C. where the workers were provided a thirty minute talk on the “ABC’s” of personal fall arrest systems.  Dean McKenzie, Deputy Director of the Directorate of Construction for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), also spoke about the national effort and its importance to the industry.

AGC also launched an effort to cut construction accidents in Dallas this week during a safety stand down.  The association will conduct an exhaustive analysis of the details of each of the 806 construction fatalities that took place across the country in 2012.  The objective is to identify the common threads among the fatality incidents.  The association wants to know, for example, what is prompting workers to fall, causing them to get struck by equipment, or if current safety gear is appropriate. AGC plans to share its findings with member firms, the federal Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA) and other interested stakeholders.  The new effort is designed to complement many steps the association and member firms are already taking to address workplace safety.

AGC is encouraging members and chapter to participate in the campaign.  Please visit AGC’s Fall Prevention Campaign website and complete the survey.

For more information, please contact Kevin Cannon at (703) 837-5410 or cannonk@agc.org Return to Top

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LABOR
AGC Supports Legislation Reforming Workforce Development System
 

This week, AGC sent a letter of support to Congressional leaders in support of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. The legislation is a bipartisan, bicameral package that will streamline the workforce development system, give states greater flexibility to address worker shortages and strengthen employer engagement. It is possible that the legislation will be considered by the Senate in the coming weeks. It would then have to pass the House in order to become law. Additional background on the bill includes:

  • A one-page summary of the legislation;
  • The statement of managers, including a section-by-section summary of the legislation;
  • A summary of key improvements WIOA makes to current workforce development programs; and
  • The text of the bipartisan, bicameral agreement.

Additional AGC priorities on workforce issues can be found in the AGC Workforce Development Plan for the 21st Century.

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

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TRANSPORTATION
Senate Committee Approves Transportation Funding Bill
 

By a vote of 29-1, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a fiscal year 2015 appropriations bill for the Departments of Transportation (DOT) and Housing and Urban Development. Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE) was the only dissenting vote. The bill funds most DOT programs at FY 2014 levels just as the House had done two weeks previously. The Senate Committee made some changes in the House approved levels by adding $472 million to the Federal Transit Administration’s new starts capital grants program. The additional new starts money allows FTA to fund new rail and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) projects in California, Maryland, North Carolina, Florida, Texas and other states, in addition to fulfilling funding obligations for on-going work. The Senate also provided $450 million more than the House’s $100 million for TIGER discretionary surface transportation grants and freezes Amtrak grants at the FY 2014 level of $1.390 billion, whereas the House bill cut $200 million from Amtrak capital grants. Both the House and Senate pointed out that this funding is contingent on the reauthorization of MAP-21, as well as providing additional revenue for the Highway Trust Fund prior to Oct. 1, 2014. 

Specific funding levels for transportation construction accounts in FY 2015 as compared to FY 2014 are:

FY 2014

FY 2015

House

FY 2015

Senate

Federal-Aid Highways

$40.3 B

$40.3 B

$40.3 B

FTA Formula and Bus Grants 

$8.6 B

$8.6 B

$8.6

FTA New Starts

$1.9 B

$1.7 B

$2.16

FAA Airport Improvement Program

$3.35 B

$3.35 B

$3.35

TIGER

$600 M

$100 M

$550 M

AMTRAK 

$1.05 B

$850 M


AGC will continue to work to ensure Congress fixes the insolvency of the Highway Trust Fund and reauthorizes MAP-21.   AGC members are encouraged to contact their representative and senators through the TCC Hardhats for Highway grassroots campaign.

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

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AGC Supported Hours of Service Suspension Included in Senate Funding Bill
 

In the FY 2015 transportation funding bill, Senate appropriators included a proposal to suspend the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s hours-of-service restart rule while the agency conducts a one-year study to examine the rule. AGC participates in an Hours of Service coalition addressing many of the onerous hours of service restrictions included in FMCSA’s rule that went into effect in July 2013. FMCSA’s restart rule requires truck drivers who reach a maximum of 70 hours of driving within a week to rest for 34 consecutive hours in order to resume their shifts. The rest time must include at least two periods from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m.


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

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Senate Finance Committee Meets to DiscussHighway Trust Fund
 

This week, the Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Highway Trust Fund,held a closed-door bipartisan meeting to discuss a potential path forward on addressing the trust fund’s pending insolvency. Following the meeting, Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said he hopes to markup a funding bill before the July 4 congressional recess.

At themeeting, Senators were provided with several options to finance the HighwayTrust Fund – which is expected to be in need of a cash infusion at some pointin July or August.  Consensus onspecifics was not reached; instead, committee members were asked to providetheir preferable options to Chairman Wyden and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah)early next week.   Based on comments fromSenators following the meeting, it appears a short-term patch for the trust fundto get to the end of the calendar year will be necessary before any long-termfunding solution is identified – potentially in the lame-duck period followingthe November elections.

Last week,the House Republican leadership put forth their plan to patch the trust fundand extend the current transportation authorization for one year.  House Republican leaders outlined in a memo to their members that they recommend using the savings from modifying the Saturday delivery of mail by the U.S.Postal Service.   Although the plan isunlikely to move forward, House leaders did recognize the funding shortfallfacing the Highway Trust Fund and the need to act on it this summer.

The newscoming out of the House and Senate comes at a perfect time for AGC members, whowill be in Washington, D.C. next week to participate in the TransportationConstruction (TCC) Fly-in.  The mainfocus of this meeting will be for TCC members to meet with theirRepresentatives and Senators and urge them to address both the short-term andlong-term revenue problems facing the Highway Trust Fund. 

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

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2014 ELECTIONS
Key Results from Tuesday's Primary Elections
 

California

It will be at least a couple of more days before the final results are known, considering the always large number of mail ballots (probably well over half of the total cast) that need to be counted.

With the early numbers reporting, it appears that seven incumbents are falling below the 50 percent mark in last night's primary, which could mean trouble for them in the general election. Reps. Ami Bera (D-CA-7), Eric Swalwell (D-CA-15), Jim Costa (D-CA-16), Lois Capps (D-CA-24), Julia Brownley (D-CA-26), Mark Takano (D-CA-41) and Scott Peters (D-CA-52) all scored less than a majority in the early returns.

Iowa

As expected, according to late statewide polling that showed her pulling away from the Republican field, state Sen. Joni Ernst easily won the Republican Senatorial nomination, capturing an impressive 56 percent of the vote against four other GOP candidates. She will now pair with Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA-1) in the general election. Ms. Ernst needs to make this a race, since the GOP needs Iowa to come seriously in play to enhance their chances of capturing the Senate majority.

Turning to the Des Moines-based 3rd District, former state Senator and 2010 congressional nominee Brad Zaun placed first against four other Republican candidates, including former AGC of Iowa president Robert Cramer who placed second. Since Zaun is only around the 27 percentage figure (35 percent is needed to win outright), a post-primary Republican convention will be called to choose a nominee. This will be a competitive race in the fall, and a legitimate Democratic conversion opportunity with Rep. Tom Latham (R) retiring.

Mississippi

Now with 100 percent of the precincts reporting, U.S. Senatorial challenger Chris McDaniel and Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) are advancing to a Republican run-off election on June 24.  The primary ended in a razor-thin result with McDaniel finishing first and coming within 1,702 votes of clinching the nomination.  Because McDaniel and Cochran virtually split the votes evenly - McDaniel 49.5 percent; Cochran 49.0 percent - realtor Tom Carey's 1.5 percent finish forced the two major candidates into a secondary election.  Though the spread between the two leaders is minimal, McDaniel is already establishing early momentum for the run-off and the signs are pointing to an upset

New Jersey

In what appears will be the most competitive New Jersey congressional election, former Randolph Mayor Tom McArthur defeated ex-U.S. Senate nominee and frequent candidate Steve Lonegan to win the GOP nomination in the open 3rd District (Rep. Jon Runyan (R) retiring). McArthur will now face Burlington County Freeholder Aimee Belgard, the Democratic Party leadership choice for the nomination. She exceeded 80 percent in her party's primary. McArthur begins the race as the favorite, but this is a seat that will attract a great deal of Democratic attention because it could possibly tilt their way.

South Dakota

In the open Senate race, Sen. Tim Johnson (D) retiring - Gov. Mike Rounds (R) won the nomination as expected, but with a percentage (55 percent against four opponents) far below expectations. Democratic former congressional staff member Rick Weiland is now the official party nominee. With former Sen. Larry Pressler running as an Independent, this race might take on a more interesting hue since a full 45 percent of Rounds' own party voters chose another candidate. The South Dakota race is a must-win GOP conversion contest.

States with Primary Elections on June 10: Maine, Nevada, North Dakota, South Carolina and Virginia.

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

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