Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org August 21, 2014
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On the Inside
FEDERAL CONTRACTING
AGC urges Senate to Ban Reverse Auctions for Construction
ENVIRONMENT
AGC Submits Comments on EPA Proposal to Target Individuals’ Paychecks to Collect on Unpaid Fines
LABOR
AGC Opposes NAVFAC Mandated-PLA
2014 ELECTIONS
More Primary Results
FEDERAL CONTRACTING
AGC urges Senate to Ban Reverse Auctions for Construction
Take Action: Urge Your Senators to Prohibit Construction Reverse Auctions
 

Many states already have laws prohibiting reverse auctions for construction services. However, those laws do not prevent federal agencies from conducting reverse auctions in those states. And federal agencies, like the Departments of Veterans Affairs and the Interior, are increasingly turning to reverse auction procurement for construction services, which include million dollar building renovations, national park road construction, and material supply. Please urge your senators to prohibit federal agencies from procuring construction services through reverse auctions.

The Senate is currently considering this legislation as an amendment to the Senate version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which has passed for the last 52 consecutive years. The House passed its NDAA bill in May, which included an AGC-supported provision, originating from an AGC-supported bill that would help ban federal reverse auctions for construction services. Inclusion of such an amendment in the Senate bill would help ensure that this AGC legislative priority is included in a final bill before heading to the president for his signature.

Again, please take action and urge your Senators to ban federal agencies from procuring construction services through reverse auctions. Your continued support is essential to helping ensure construction reverse auctions are banned once and for all.  

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

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ENVIRONMENT
AGC Submits Comments on EPA Proposal to Target Individuals’ Paychecks to Collect on Unpaid Fines
 

AGC submitted detailed comments on a proposed rule by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that would give the agency the authority to cut into the paychecks of those who have unpaid debts, such as a fine or penalty for an alleged environmental violation. EPA would be allowed to garnish up to 15 percent of the “disposable pay” of delinquent debtors who do not work for the federal government via a process known as administrative wage garnishment (AWG) – all without a court order.

AGC’s comments strongly oppose EPA’s proposal to resort to AWG to collect fines or penalties for violations of environmental law.  While the environmental benefits of resorting to AWG would be small, the cost would be great.  AWG would deprive individuals of their due process right to a fair and impartial review of claims they have violated the law.  It ignores the notoriously complex, technical and vague nature of EPA’s environmental requirements.  It would also disregard the host of other enforcement options already available to EPA, and put individual citizens at risk of severe financial harm for what are typically corporate matters.

EPA already has effective enforcement responses in place to induce people to make good on their debts to the government and to respond to people who fail to pay the agency.  If/when penalties are assessed in conjunction with a violation or noncompliance, they quickly multiply and may become excessive if the respondent fails to pay on time.  In addition, if a person violates an EPA penalty order, the agency will routinely refer the matter to the U.S. Department of Justice (to obtain U.S. court action) to force compliance, or to the U.S. Treasury for collection, if needed.  EPA does not need to resort to AWG procedures to get paid.

AGC’s letter points to the overwhelming public opposition to the AWG proposal, noting the more than 800 negative comments posted to the rulemaking docket so far.  If EPA chooses to move forward with this action, AGC urges EPA to act on its discretion to implement effective collection strategies that suit its needs. 

For more information, please contact Leah Pilconis at pilconisl@agc.org. Return to Top

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LABOR
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 design-build construction of a Special Forces Support Activity Operations Facility at the U.S. Navy’s Silver Strand Training Complex in Imperial Beach, Calif.

AGC has sent over 90 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 or christiansonj@agc.org Return to Top

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2014 ELECTIONS
More Primary Results
 

Alaska

Thirty percent of Alaska voters went to the polls on Tuesday in one of the nation's last major competitive primaries.  There, former Attorney General and Natural Resources Department director Dan Sullivan claimed the Republican Senatorial nomination, winning the right to challenge vulnerable first-term incumbent Mark Begich (D).  Sullivan took 40 percent of the vote, defeating surprise second place finisher Joe Miller (32%) and Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell (25%).  

In the Governor's race, incumbent Sean Parnell easily claimed the Republican nomination, attracting 75.5 percent of the vote against two opponents.  The Governor advances to the general election against former Alaska Permanent Fund Director Byron Mallett (D), who captured 67 percent in the ADL primary.  He is now a heavy favorite to win a second full term after finishing the final two years of former Gov. Sarah Palin's (R) term in office.

At-large Rep. Don Young (R) cruised to re-nomination for a 22nd term in the House, capturing 74 percent against three Republican opponents.  He is a heavy general election favorite against attorney Forrest Dunbar, the new Democratic nominee.

Hawaii

In Hawaii, Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI-1) announced that she will concede the contested Senate Democratic primary.  The final unofficial count gives appointed Senator Brian Schatz a 1,769 vote advantage, which is likely too large for any challenge to overturn. 

Wyoming

It was a trouble-free election night for all of the GOP incumbents in Tuesday night's Wyoming primary.  Gov. Matt Mead, Sen. Mike Enzi, and at-large Rep. Cynthia Lummis all won landslide victories against minor candidates, though the Governor fell slightly below 60 percent against two opponents.  All will glide through the upcoming general election.

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

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