Don’t Stop Now: Our Fight for Long-Term Federal Transportation Funding Continues
Still Time to Meet with Your Members of Congress in August
First, thanks to those of you who
have already participated in the Hardhats for Highways campaign and
communicated our message with your members of Congress, either through in-person visits or by sending “e-Hardhat” letters. Your
efforts were part of nearly 12,000 letters sent to nearly 500 Congressional
offices in 49 states, which led to the passage of a short-term funding patch
through May of 2015.
However, the campaign cannot end
here. We need to continue to push for a
long-term, permanent fix for the Highway Trust Fund. Your Senators and Representative are home for
the next few weeks; please contact them and continue to push them to find a
long-term solution for our highway funding problems.
For more information, please visit www.HardhatsforHighways.org or contact
Brynn Huneke at (703) 837-5376 or email@example.com.
Return to Top
OFCCP Proposes Rule for New Equal Pay Report
On Aug. 8, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal
Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that, if implemented, will require federal contractors and
subcontractors to submit an annual Equal Pay Report on employee
compensation. The proposed rule is
the result of an April 2014 presidential memorandum.
Contractors with more than 100 employees and with a contract,
subcontract, or purchase order worth $50,000 or more that covers a period of at
least 30 days would be required to comply.
On an annual basis, such contractors would have to submit employee
compensation data by sex, race, ethnicity, and specified job categories, as
well as other relevant data points that would include hours worked and number
of employees on the new Equal Pay Report summary.
OFCCP plans to use the collected data to help direct its
enforcement resources toward federal contractors whose summary data suggests
potential pay violations. OFCCP states that it will also release
aggregate summary data on the race and gender pay gap by industry and EEO-1
category to enable contractors to review their pay data using the same metrics
as OFCCP and take voluntary compliance measures.
OFCCP originally published an Advanced Notice of Proposed
Rulemaking more than three years ago announcing the desire to create a tool
that would require federal contractors and subcontractors to submit summary
data on compensation paid to their employees.
AGC provided comments to OFCCP after the 2011 announcement.
AGC will submit comments on the proposal before the Nov. 6
Members interested in
providing input to AGC should promptly contact Tamika Carter at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Return to Top
New Executive Order Requires Federal Contractors to Disclose Labor Law Violations, Give Workers Pay Information, and Limit Arbitration
On July 31, President Obama
issued the latest, and most far-reaching, executive order imposing new mandates
on federal contractors. The Fair Pay and
Safe Workplaces Executive Order (“EO”)
purports to help federal agencies “identify and work with contractors with
track records of compliance” with labor laws in order to “reduce execution
delays and avoid distractions and complications that arise from contracting
with contractors with track records of noncompliance.” It imposes several new obligations on federal
contractors and contracting agencies, increasing the burdens and risks for
covered contractors. It does not cover
Most significantly, the EO
establishes a new system for contractor disclosure, and agency consideration,
of labor law violations from the past three years before a prospective
contractor may be awarded a federal contract with a value over $500,000 starting
in 2016. Contracting agencies must
require prospective prime contractors to disclose any administrative merits
determination, arbitral award or decision, or civil judgment rendered against
the company for violations of any of 14 federal statutes and executive orders, as well as
“equivalent” state laws. Post-award,
contractors must update the disclosures every six months. Contracting agencies must consider the
disclosures in determining whether the contractor is a “responsible source” and
whether further action is needed.
Further action could include additional remedial measures, compliance
assistance, declining to exercise an option on a contract, contract
termination, suspension, or debarment.
The EO requires contractors to impose similar requirements on
subcontractors with a subcontract worth over $500,000.
EO also directs contracting agencies to require contractors subject to the
above disclosure mandates to provide workers with certain documentation of
their hours and pay each pay period. The
provision covers all individuals who work under a covered contract and for whom
the company must maintain wage records under the Fair Labor Standards Act
(“FLSA”), Davis-Bacon Act, Service Contract, or “equivalent” state laws.
EO tasks the General Services Administration with developing a single website for
contractors to meet all of their reporting requirements (those arising under
the present EO and otherwise). It also
directs the Federal Acquisition Regulatory (“FAR”) Council to issue
implementing regulations and the Department of Labor to issue guidance. No time frame is specified. The EO takes effect immediately, but applies
only to solicitations for contracts specified in the FAR Council’s
regulations. AGC is closely monitoring
developments and exploring ways to prevent any negative impact on AGC members.
more information, please contact Denise Gold at (703) 837-5326 or email@example.com or Jimmy Christianson at 703-837-5325 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Return to Top
AGC Opposes NAVFAC Mandated-PLA
Recently, AGC sent a letter
opposing the possible use of a project labor agreement (PLA) mandate posted by
the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southwest for a design-build construction project to
decentralize the steam heating system at Naval Base San Diego, Calif.
AGC has sent over 80 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. To view AGC
efforts opposing government mandated PLAs, click here.
For more information, please contact Jimmy Christianson at 703-837-5325
Return to Top
AGC Calls for MS4 Systems to be Excluded from “Waters of the United States”
Joins Real Estate and Development Groups in Submitting Comments
AGC and 11 other groups active in
the real estate development, construction, and management fields called on the
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US Army Corps of Engineers
(Corps) to categorically exclude municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s)
from being considered “waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS) in official comments
submitted to the agencies’ proposed rulemaking.
The proposed rule, published for
comment in April, redefines “waters of the U.S.” and for the first time
includes a definition for tributary, characterizing it by “the presence of a
bed and banks and ordinary high water mark” and stating specifically “a
tributary … can be a natural, man-altered, or man-made water and includes
waters such as rivers, streams, lakes, ponds, impoundments, canals, and
ditches…” With this categorical inclusion of ditches, many that discharge
stormwater into MS4s (which themselves are already regulated under different
parts of the Clean Water Act) are left wondering if they face the double
regulation of both what goes in to an MS4 as well as what comes out of one.
The groups point out in their
comments that “nowhere does EPA specifically address ditches that are
components in permitted MS4s” and states “to the extent that ditches (and other
system components) are mapped and identified as part of an MS4, and subject to
an NPDES permit governing the MS4 of which they are a part, then such ditches
(and components) should not be WOTUS.”
While these comments do not
represent the totality of the points the groups, including AGC, wish to raise
about the WOTUS rulemaking, it is nevertheless an important enough singular ask
that the groups felt comfortable submitting separate comments on this issue
specifically. AGC and the members of the Waters Advocacy Coalition will be
submitting extensive comments on the entirety of the rule – highlighting the
significant process, regulatory, scientific, and economic problems the groups
find with the proposed rule. AGC will also be preparing its own set of comments
specific to the construction industry. You can easily submit individual
comments through AGC’s
Regulatory Action Center.
For more information, please contact Scott
Berry at email@example.com or Leah
Pilconis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Return to Top
Journalism and Science Groups Outraged at EPA Attempts to Muzzle Scientists
U.S. EPA is
blocking its science advisers from speaking freely to the public and the press,
according to a letter sent to EPA chief Gina McCarthy by journalism and
scientific advocacy groups. At a recent closed-door meeting of the EPA’s
Science Advisory Board, the entity that EPA convenes to independently review
the scientific underpinnings of many of the agency’s rulemakings, EPA issued a
memorandum outlining the policy for EPA advisers to handle inquiries from the
press and the public. Science advisers are directed to refer those requests to
EPA employees so that the Office of External Affairs can determine the agency's
"undermines EPA's efforts to increase transparency" and
"reinforces any perception that the agency prioritizes message control
over the ability of scientists who advise the agency to share their expertise
with the public," the letter said. The EPA Science Advisory Board was set
up by Congress to review the quality and relevance of science being used by EPA
and review agency research programs, with members including university
professors, corporate scientists, medical doctors and other experts. They are
not employees of EPA.
This comes on the
heels of Congressional outrage at the EPA’s attempts to similarly interfere
with communications between the House Science Committee and the Science
Advisory Board on the board’s review of the Connectivity Report that ostensibly
represents the scientific basis for the agency’s rulemaking redefining “waters
of the U.S.” At a recent hearing, Science Committee members expressed frustration
and dismay that EPA would intercept communications and suggested questions for
the board to consider as it reviews the science and the rule.
For more information, contact Scott Berry at
(703) 837-5321 or email@example.com.
Return to Top
Primary Results from Saturday’s and Tuesday’s Elections
much competitive action in the Connecticut primary, as none of the five House
incumbents faced a challenger. In the Governor's race, former U.S.
Ambassador Tom Foley (R), scored a 56-44 percent Republican primary victory
over state Senate Minority Leader John McKinney. The latter is the son of
the late former U.S. Rep. Stewart McKinney (R-CT-4).
Though polling in the U.S. Senate
race suggested that neither appointed Sen. Brian Schatz or Rep. Colleen
Hanabusa (D-HI-1) held substantial leads heading into Saturday's Democratic
primary, the campaign finished much differently than predicted.
Hurricane Iselle struck the islands just days before the polls opened, causing
a delay – which could last up to a couple weeks – in declaring winners of the
primary elections. Though Sen. Schatz has a 1,659 vote lead, two
precincts on the Big Island of Hawaii remain to be counted. His small
lead, however, will likely hold up.
The other interesting Hawaii Democratic primary story is Gov. Neil
Abercrombie's defeat. Pearl Harbor area state Sen. David Ige, who had
been leading in virtually every poll, went on to complete his improbable primary
victory with a margin that exceeded 2:1. The unofficial final tally gives
Ige a 67-31 percent landslide win. He now faces Republican former Lt.
Gov. Duke Aiona and ex-Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann, a former Democrat with a
long history of battling Abercrombie, now running as an Independent. The
three-way contest actually makes Aiona a viable choice even in heavily
Democratic Hawaii. Abercrombie becomes the first Hawaiin Governor since
1962 to lose re-election, and the first ever in Aloha State politics to be
the Senate race, as expected, finance executive Mike McFadden cruised to a
landslide victory in the Republican primary, defeating four Republican
opponents, including state Rep. Jim Abeler, with an impressive 72 percent of
the vote. McFadden now faces first-term Sen. Al Franken (D).
the nomination process is finally over, the race can now begin to take
shape. Many on the Republican side believe the Minnesota Senate campaign
is a sleeper race and could become competitive as we approach Election
Day. If the Republicans catch a national wave, this seat could
conceivably move toward the GOP. Sen. Franken, however, is the decided
favorite and any such wave will have to be substantial in order to carry this
challenger to victory.
the open 6th District, also as expected, former gubernatorial nominee and
Republican ex-state legislator Tom Emmer cruised to a 73 percent GOP nomination
victory for the right to succeed retiring Rep. Michele Bachmann (R). The
seat had played relatively competitively during Bachmann's tenure, but that
likely has more to do with the incumbent's controversial nature than with the
district's voting patterns.
surprises were found in the other House races.
were also quiet in Wisconsin, with only one race worth watching. Retiring
Rep. Tom Petri (R-WI-6) leaves a seat he has held since winning a special
election in 1979 and now will likely be replaced by state Sen. Glenn
Senator defeated his legislative colleague Joe Leibham and state Assemblyman
Duey Stroebel, and a minor fourth candidate by a 38-30-28-4 percent margin.
Grothman has the inside track against the consensus Democratic candidate,
Winnebago County Executive Mark Harris. The 6th District seat is reliably
Republican, but Democrats maintain hope that Harris can become a competitive
other races, including what should be a hot battle for Governor between
incumbent Scott Walker and Democratic challenger Mary Burke, were anything but
competitive in Tuesday’s primary.
For more information, please contact David
Ashinoff at (202) 547-5013 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Return to Top