Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org October 2, 2014
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On the Inside
AGC IN ACTION
National Chapter Leadership Conference Includes Hill Visits
TRANSPORTATION
Push Continues for Highway Trust Fund Fix
DOT Releases DBE Rule Revisions
HR & LABOR
Final Rule for Federal Contractor Minimum Wage
Please Take Short Survey on Employment Arbitration
ENVIRONMENT
SBA Office of Advocacy Calls for ‘Waters of the U.S.’ Rule to be Withdrawn
CONSTRUCTION VOTES
Construction Votes 2014
EVENTS
Sign up Now for the AGC/CFMA Construction Financial Management Conference
Register Today for Highway & Utilities Contractors Issues Conference
Early Bird Registration Continues for AGC Financial Issues Winter Meeting
AGC IN ACTION
National Chapter Leadership Conference Includes Hill Visits
AGC Members Discuss Possible Lame Duck Agenda on Capitol Hill
 

This week, AGC chapter leaders finished up their annual meeting in Washington, D.C. with visits to Capitol Hill.  Looking at the time between now and the end of the year, AGC members spoke to congressional offices about procurement reform, blocking the EPA rule that expands federal jurisdiction for waters and wet areas, improving federal workforce development programs, fixing the Highway Trust Fund, improving Multiemployer Pension Plans, and extending expired tax provisions. More than 100 visits were made during the meeting.

For more information, please contact Jeff Shoaf at shoafj@agc.org Return to Top
TRANSPORTATION
Push Continues for Highway Trust Fund Fix
Meet with Your Members of Congress this Month
 

This week, the AGC-led Transportation Construction Coalition(TCC) continued the push for Congress to pass new long-term surface transportation bill by issuing a press statement highlighting the fact that failing to pass a bill before the expiration of the most recent extension will lead to another self-imposed transportation funding crisis. Currently, the temporary extension of federal highway and transit programs will keep them operating until May 31, 2015. In addition, AGC leaders who participated in this week’s National Chapter Leadership meeting carried the message to Capitol Hill that Congress must fix the Highway Trust Fund.

AGC remains focused educating members of Congress that without Congressional action in the coming months, the Highway Trust Fund will run out of money  in the beginning of next year’s construction season.  Congress is in recess now until after the November elections, but now is the time for them to hear from you.  Please contact your Representative and Senators and/or set up a meeting in their district or state and urge them to make fixing the Highway Trust fund a top priority and participate in our Hardhatsats for Highways campaign.

Please contact Sean O’Neill at oneills@agc.org for more information. Return to Top
DOT Releases DBE Rule Revisions
 

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) officially released a final rule that amended its disadvantaged business enterprise utilization (DBE) rules. The new rules were first proposed in September 2012 and, while considered by DOT to be “minor” adjustments, there are some significant changes that will significantly impact the highway construction industry. Among the changes originally proposed by DOT was a requirement that prime contractors on Federal-aid highway contracts with DBE goals would have to submit with their bid a list of all DBE subcontractors to be used on the project, including the scope of work to be performed, the value of the subcontract, and a letter from the DBE verifying these facts. In addition, if the prime contractor did not meet the contract goal, information on all quotes from both DBE and non-DBE subcontractors would have to be submitted with the bid to demonstrate “good faith efforts.” AGC objected vocally to these proposed changes, submitted extensive written comments for the record in 2012, provided additional comments in 2013, participated in a stakeholder listening session, and held several meetings with top DOT officials to explain the real world impact of these changes if adopted. AGC members also responded and submitted over 100 letters on the proposal.

The final rule acquiesced to AGC’s opposition and amended the requirement to submit DBE commitments with the bid and instead allows a seven day window following bid opening for the apparent low bidder to submit the list of proposed DBE that will be used on the project. This time limit will be reduced to 5 days in January 2017. DOT quotes AGC’s comments in several instances in reference to this and other issues in the rule.

There are numerous other provisions in the rules that impact contractors. AGC’s summary of those rule changes can be found here. Return to Top
HR & LABOR
Final Rule for Federal Contractor Minimum Wage
DOL Adopts Several AGC Recommendations
 

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) released its final rule implementing Executive Order 13658 (EO), which establishes a minimum wage of $10.10 per hour for direct federal prime contractors and subcontractors at all tiers. That $10.10 minimum wage must be adjusted annually for inflation. The new minimum wage will take effect on direct federal agency contracts entered into on or after Jan. 1, 2015. Federally-assisted contractors are not affected. The final rule will be published in the Federal Register on Oct. 7.

WHD incorporated a significant number of AGC recommendations the association submitted in comments to the proposed rule. In the final rule—pursuant to AGC’s recommendation—WHD:

  • Provides additional clarification and examples of covered contracts and contract-like instruments;
  • Provides additional clarification and examples of covered workers and covered work;
  • Excludes subcontracts for construction materials, supplies and equipment;
  • Excludes Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)-covered non-exempt workers who are not covered by the Davis-Bacon Act, and spend less than 20 percent of their time working on or in connection with a covered contract;
  • Includes additional outreach efforts to notify contractors of minimum wage increases to the passive notice methods proposed;
  • Clarifies the standard for debarment under the rule as that within the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) debarment process;
  • Requires contracting agencies, if appropriate, to ensure the contractor is compensated only for the increase in labor costs resulting from the annual inflation increases in the EO minimum wage beginning on Jan. 1, 2016; and
  • Clarifies how the EO applies to “indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity” (IDIQ) contracts.

Federal contractors should pay close attention to how WHD clarifies how the rule applies to IDIQ contracts. For example, while the master IDIQ contract entered into prior to January 1, 2015, does not fall under the rule, task order contracts contractors entered into on or after January 1, 2015 are subject to the rule. However, WHD is encouraging, but not requiring, contracting agencies to bilaterally modify existing contracts, as appropriate, to include the minimum wage requirements of this rule when such contracts are not otherwise considered to be a “new contract” under the rule.

Lastly, and perhaps most significant and worthy of repeating, federal agencies must compensate contractors for the annual inflation increases in the minimum wage. As a result, federal contractors are entitled to an adjustment by federal agencies where the annual inflation increase to the minimum wage was not covered by the existing contract award.

For more information, please contact Jimmy Christianson at christiansonj@agc.org  or Tamika Carter at cartert@agc.org Return to Top

Please Take Short Survey on Employment Arbitration
 

AGC is conducting an online survey of contractor members to gather information about the extent to which employment arbitration is used in the industry outside the collective bargaining context.  The anonymous and short survey – a maximum of just nine multiple-choice questions – will be used to help AGC advocate for members’ interests in responding to President Obama’s Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order.  The survey can be accessed at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/VLTMCGB.  It will close on Wednesday, Oct. 8.   Thank you in advance for your help!

For more information, please contact Denise Gold at gold@agc.org. Return to Top
ENVIRONMENT
SBA Office of Advocacy Calls for ‘Waters of the U.S.’ Rule to be Withdrawn
 

The Office of Advocacy, an independent office within the Small Business Administration (SBA), has submitted their formal comments to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concerning the proposed rule redefining “waters of the U.S.” and the scope of the Clean Water Act’s jurisdiction. The Office of Advocacy has found that the Corps and EPA “have improperly certified the proposed rule under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) because it would have direct, significant effects on small businesses. Advocacy recommends that the agencies withdraw the rule and that the EPA conduct a Small Business Advocacy Review panel before proceeding any further with this rulemaking.”

The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) and the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) require small entities to be considered in the federal rulemaking process. The Office of Advocacy is charged with representing the views of small business before federal agencies and Congress, while making sure that federal agencies comply with the RFA and SBREFA. The office argues that the Corps and EPA used an improper regulatory framework as their baseline for determining the impact of their rulemaking, imposing direct costs and significant economic impacts on small businesses.

AGC and other groups in the Waters Advocacy Coalition have met with the SBA’s Office of Advocacy as well as  the House and Senate Small Business Committees multiple times to help explain the serious economic errors with the agencies’ analysis and the significant burden the rule would impose on small businesses. AGC believes this is an important victory and validation of the construction industry’s perspective about the egregious problems with the substance and process involved with this rulemaking. EPA and the Corps, however, remain unlikely to withdraw the rulemaking before the comment period closes Oct. 20.

Read the full SBA Office of Advocacy Letter here. To learn more about the rulemaking and submit your own comments to EPA and the Corps, visit AGC’s Regulatory Action Center.

For more information, please contact Scott Berry at (703) 837-5321 or berrys@agc.org. Return to Top
CONSTRUCTION VOTES
Construction Votes 2014
 

With more than 6 million individuals working in construction, our industry has a tremendous opportunity to impact the 2014 election. To be successful, it is critical you encourage your colleagues, family and friends to register to vote, and then cast a ballot on or before November 4.

Download this document. Use the sample text to send an email to your colleagues, family and friends reminding them about registering to vote, early voting and requesting an absentee ballot. Also included are messages you can post on your company’s social media pages.

Don't be silent.  Be a part of our democracy.  Help make the construction industry’s voice heard loudly and clearly this fall. Visit ConstructionVotes.com to learn more.

Upcoming voter registration deadlines:

  • Oct. 4: Mississippi, Nevada (by mail) and South Carolina
  • Oct. 5: Alaska, Arkansas, Rhode Island and Utah (by mail)
  • Oct. 6: Arizona, Florida, DC (by mail), Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana (by mail), Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and Washington (by mail)
  • Oct. 7: Illinois and New Mexico
  • Oct. 8: Missouri
  • Oct. 10: Idaho, New York, North Carolina and Oklahoma
  • Oct. 11: Delaware
  • Oct. 14: Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada (in person), New Jersey, Oregon, Virginia and West Virginia
  • Oct. 15: Massachusetts and Wisconsin (by mail)
  • Oct. 17: Nebraska (by mail)

Early voting begins:

  • Underway: South Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming
  • Oct. 4: Nebraska
  • Oct. 6: California and Montana
  • Oct. 7: Indiana and Ohio
  • Oct. 9: Arizona
  • Oct. 15: Tennessee
  • Oct. 17: Kentucky and Washington

In almost all states, voters may now submit applications for absentee ballots if they will not be able to get to the polls on Election Day. The upcoming deadlines for requesting an absentee ballot are:

  • Oct. 14: Rhode Island
Return to Top
EVENTS
Sign up Now for the AGC/CFMA Construction Financial Management Conference
Nov. 5-7, 2014 | Las Vegas. Nev.
 

Jointly sponsored by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) and the Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA), theAGC/CFMA Construction Financial Management Conference, held Nov. 5-7, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nev., was developed in response to a need for programs and workshops designed specifically for financial professionals in the construction industry. The three-day conference is filled with 36 interactive sessions, covering the latest industry issues and their financial implications. Sessions are delivered “group-live” and are at intermediate, overview and update program levels. There are no prerequisites or advanced preparation required. Information about the conference can be found at meetings.agc.org/agc_cfma.  The hotel deadline is Oct. 14 so be sure to book your room today.

For more information, please contact Brynn Huneke at (703) 837-5376 or brynn.huneke@agc.org. Return to Top
Register Today for Highway & Utilities Contractors Issues Conference
Nov. 13-15, 2014 | San Diego, Calif.
 
Construction Future will be the overriding topic at the 2014 Highway & Utilities Contractors Conference on Nov. 13-15 at the LaCosta resort in San Diego, Calif. A variety of sessions are planned to cover topics that will help contractors position their companies for Construction Future. Highlights include: discovering the next generation of managers; technology applications; paperless projects; industry megatrends; November election impacts; and Design-Build success stories. To learn more and register, click here. Return to Top
Early Bird Registration Continues for AGC Financial Issues Winter Meeting
Jan. 8-9, 2015 | Longboat Key Club, Fla.
 
TheAGC Financial Issues Forum (FIF) Winter Meeting will be held Jan. 8-9, 2015 at the Longboat Key Club, Fla. The meeting is geared toward member company AGC member company CFOs, Treasurers, Finance Directors, Controllers, Tax Directors and other senior accounting professionals. Members have an opportunity to learn as well as formulate positions on tax and accounting matters that directly affect the bottom line and operations of AGC member companies of all sizes and specialties. Current FIF projects include helping construction companies to prepare for the new Revenue Recognition Accounting Standard Update that goes into effect in 2017. Meetings center around discussions with FASB reps, congressional representatives, practitioners, and financial officer breakout groups on topics including internal controls, project performance reviews and using technology like Box.com in operations or accounting functions. Attendees also have an opportunity to network and discuss a wide variety of topics, including: audit issues faced by construction companies; congressional action on tax policy; and an economic outlook for the industry. The link to the meeting’s registration page is here. Return to Top

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