Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org July 28, 2016
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On the Inside
FEDERAL CONTRACTING
AGC Comments on Proposed Federal Contractor Greenhouse Gas Reporting Requirement
SBA Expands Mentor Protégé Program
2016 ELECTIONS
Democratic Platform Embraces Infrastructure but Lacks Vision
ENVIRONMENT
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Institutes New Endangered Species Act Process
AGC EVENTS
Safety Conference Addresses Silica and Record Keeping Regulations, Reveals Unique AGC Research on Fatalities
Registration Open for the 2016 Utility Infrastructure Conference
FEDERAL CONTRACTING
AGC Comments on Proposed Federal Contractor Greenhouse Gas Reporting Requirement
Seemingly Innocuous Requirement is a Sign of More Contractor Mandates to Come
 

On July 25, AGC submitted comments on the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Council proposed rule that would require federal contractors with annual gross revenues of $7.5 million and above to make an annual representation within the System for Award Management indicating if and where they publicly disclose greenhouse gas emissions and greenhouse gas reduction goals or targets. Although this proposal may appear innocuous on its face, AGC believes this is the first in a number of steps towards mandating new federal contractor greenhouse gas emissions requirements and issuing new policies and regulations on climate change.

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

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SBA Expands Mentor Protégé Program
Long-Term Impacts Could Be Far-Reaching
 

On July 25, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) published its final rule on an expanded mentor-protégé program for small businesses. In its comments on the proposed rule, AGC expressed concerns about the proposal, including the long-term impacts on competition in federal contracting, as—under the rule of two—unrestricted, open competition contracts may be set aside for small business when two mentor-protégé joint ventures indicate that they can complete the work.  That particular concern remains.

Effective August 24, 2016, the rule establishes a mentor-protégé program for small business set aside categories—HUBZone, Women-owned, Service Disabled Veteran-Owned, etc.—and non-categorical, “regular” small businesses. This program does not replace the existing 8(a) mentor-protégé program, which will remain for 8(a)s only.

For additional insight and analysis, please see this announcement written in part by AGC’s Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Committee Chair Ed DeLisle. AGC will hold a webinar on this and other significant federal construction developments in the weeks to come.

For more information, please contact Jimmy Christianson at 703-837-5325 or christiansonj@agc.org. Return to Top
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2016 ELECTIONS
Democratic Platform Embraces Infrastructure but Lacks Vision
 

The 2016 Democratic Party Platform, released earlier this week ahead of the Democratic National Convention, is quick to embrace infrastructure and construction, but scant on details that would plan a viable path forward. The platform was quick to demand a massive increase in federal investment in infrastructure to rival the Eisenhower Interstate Highway System, and embraced multiple types of infrastructure like transportation, water, and energy. However, the actual plan outlined was light on policy advancements.

The Democratic Platform called out three specific policy proposals, all of which AGC has been supportive of in the past. First, they would create an independent, national infrastructure bank to provide loans and other financial assistance for investments in critical energy, water, broadband, transportation, and multi-modal infrastructure projects. While this proposal is ambitious, no information is given about how this new program (which is arguably duplicative with the myriad other infrastructure investment programs) would be funded.

The other two proposals are related to infrastructure bonding. Democrats would continue to support the interest tax exemption on municipal bonds, a top AGC priority and a critical piece of the infrastructure funding landscape. Democrats would also work to establish a permanent version of Build America Bonds as an additional tool to encourage infrastructure investment by state and local governments. This program was a popular, but expensive product of the Recovery Act. Various proposals have been floated to establish a new version of this program.

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

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ENVIRONMENT
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Institutes New Endangered Species Act Process
 

On July 26, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced its final process for improving the way it identifies and prioritizes pending Endangered Species Act status reviews, a process the agency uses to determine whether a species warrants federal protection. The agency is legally bound to undertake year-long reviews during which it uses the “best available science” to determine whether a species meets the definition of threatened or endangered.

More than 500 species are in line for consideration for listing as threatened or endangered. With this new methodology, the Fish and Wildlife Service will place each pending status review in one of five priority categories based on the available biological data, threats to the species, conservation efforts to address those threats, and the existence of any new or developing science that can help inform the status review.

FSW touts the scientific nature and data driven approach of the process. However, the quality of the data and science upon which the agency relies to make those determinations is most critical and a point AGC maintains.  AGC continues to monitor this issue. Most recently, AGC has been closely tracking developments regarding transportation projects and two species of endangered bats. 

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

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AGC EVENTS
Safety Conference Addresses Silica and Record Keeping Regulations, Reveals Unique AGC Research on Fatalities
 

AGC members from all over the country met in Washington, DC this week to discuss important issues in construction safety and health.  Attendees at the AGC Safety Conference heard from OSHA officials and construction industry safety experts from all over the country.  The meeting focused on a number of safety issues impacting safety and health for building contractors, highway contractors, utility contractors, federal contractors and specialty contractors. 

The meeting included multiple sessions on the complexity and difficulty of complying with OSHA’s new Silica standard, discussions about the Record Keeping rule and its implied opposition to post-accident drug testing, and complying with the confined space entry rescue requirements. Safety best practices identified in AGC and Willis Construction Safety Excellence Awards program, OSHA’s regulation of workplace violence and the motivation that drives someone to pursue safety careers and getting decision makers in your company on your side were also topics discussed at the conference. 

The final session on Wednesday was the first public discussion of unique research commissioned by AGC and conducted by Virginia Tech.  That research was a deep dive into the Department of Labor’s detailed fatality reports so that the industry can glean new methods for protecting workers from injuries on the jobsite.

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

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Registration Open for the 2016 Utility Infrastructure Conference
October 28-29, 2016 | Atlanta, Georgia
 

The 2016 AGC Utility Infrastructure Conference will bring together contractors, owners and key industry constituents involved in every aspect of utility and infrastructure construction for a day-and-a-half-long program on the latest legislative and regulatory issues affecting the industry, technology and operation trends shaping the market, and updates on AGC’s efforts to fund infrastructure investment.

This event is an opportunity to connect not only with fellow utility infrastructure contractors, but also with emerging leader construction professionals from across the country. This year’s conference will be co-located with the AGC CLC Leadership Development Conference, the top gathering for emerging construction leaders from across the country. This event will also feature a jobsite tour and a tour/reception at the College Football Hall of Fame.

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

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