Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org October 27, 2016
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On the Inside
2016 ELECTIONS
Countdown to Election Day
SAFETY
AGC Efforts Help Move OSHA to Modify Controversial Drug Testing Position
TRANSPORTATION
AGC to Comment on Federal Highway Administration’s Proposed Buy America Waiver
AGC Participates in Federal Highway E-Construction Summit
ENVIRONMENT
New Proposal Would Expand Floodplain and Require Green Infrastructure for FEMA Federally Funded Construction
TAX/ACCOUNTING
2016 AGC/CFMA Construction Financial Management Conference a Milestone
Early Bird Registration ENDS TOMORROW for the Winter Financial Issues Committee
2016 ELECTIONS
Countdown to Election Day
 

There are just 11 days left until voters across the country head to the polls to elect a new president, 34 US Senators, 435 US House members, and countless state and local officials. The construction industry and the millions of workers it employs have much at stake in this election. At a time when the industry is rebounding from the longest and deepest slump of any sector, it is especially important to elect leaders willing to work for common-sense solutions to the challenges facing the construction industry and its workforce.

In order for the voices of general and specialty contractors, service providers, and suppliers to be heard in this ever-changing political landscape, they must register to vote and cast ballots early, or on Election Day.

Your jobs can be demanding and the hours long, and it can be difficult to balance work and family commitments, but voting must be a priority.

Voting doesn't have to be difficult or take up much time. AGC makes it easy by hosting a voter registration and election information center at ConstructionVotes.com.

Visit the site to:

  • Register to vote
  • Learn about the candidates
  • Find your polling location
  • Download employer resources to help Get-Out-the-Vote
  • View the Clinton-Trump Presidential Candidate Comparison Guide

For more information, visit www.ConstructionVotes.com.

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SAFETY
AGC Efforts Help Move OSHA to Modify Controversial Drug Testing Position
Learn More on AGC WebED Oct. 31 from 2-3:00 p.m. ET
 

In the wake of an AGC meeting with the head of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and an AGC-backed letter from dozens of members of Congress, OSHA on October 19 published new guidance to clarify its injury and illness recordkeeping and reporting rule. The guidance recalibrates the agency's position relating to post-incident drug testing in the context of employer discouragement of or retaliation for employee injury and illness reporting. Register today for AGC's complimentary webinar—($49 for non-members)—discussing this topic and the recordkeeping and reporting rule as a whole on Oct. 31.

Generally speaking, the new guidance is more likely than the agency's previous position to not overly restrict many construction companies' existing policies regarding employee post-incident drug testing.  However, the agency notes that drug testing employees whose injury could not possibly have arisen from any particular incident, like muscular skeletal disorders (e.g., tendonitis), would likely violate the rule. Additionally, the agency further clarifies that OSHA will not issue citations under the rule for post-incident drug testing conducted in accordance with state workers' compensation laws—whether drug testing under the law is mandatory or voluntary.

For more information on this rule and why AGC worked to modify it, listen to our podcast here.

If you have questions, contact Kevin Cannon at cannonk@agc.org or Jimmy Christianson at christiansonj@agc.org.  Return to Top

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TRANSPORTATION
AGC to Comment on Federal Highway Administration’s Proposed Buy America Waiver
 

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) issued a Federal Register notice to grant nationwide waivers from Buy America requirements for products that are commercially available off the shelf (COTS) and for steel tie wire permanently incorporated in precast concrete products. In addition, FHWA is considering a nationwide waiver for specialized lifting devices incorporated in precast concrete products. AGC will be providing comments by the Dec. 2, 2016 deadline.

FHWA took this action to relieve some of the burden on states in implementing Buy America requirements. While these requirements have been in place since the mid-1980s, following the ramp up of Federal highway funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) new scrutiny was placed on how Buy America requirements were enforced on FHWA funded projects. This led to unreasonable requirements to obtain certification that every component of every manufactured product was Buy America compliant; no matter how small (nails, bolts, etc), every component was required to meet the mandate.

These proposed waivers, if adopted would address some of these concerns but not all. The product waiver is limited to products with steel or iron components, such as sinks, faucets, toilets, electrical products and ITS hardware not made specifically for highway projects. AGC will urge in our comments that this waiver be expanded to products manufactured specifically for incorporation into highway projects such as traffic control devices. The tie wire waiver is the result of special rebar tying guns that can only use wire not produced in the US.  AGC will also urge that small minor project components also be subject to a waiver.

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

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AGC Participates in Federal Highway E-Construction Summit
 

One of the initiatives included as part of the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Every Day Counts effort is the promotion of e-Construction. E-Construction is generally implementation of paperless projects where the various documents and submittals are handled electronically. This can be everything from electronic bidding to contract approval, surety bonds, change orders, day to day project communications, certified payrolls and other documentation. AGC was invited to present an industry perspective and was supportive of efforts to move to e-Construction.

Among the recommendations, AGC urged departments of transportation (DOT’s) to be more forthcoming in sharing 3-D models developed by project designers with contractors to use in bid preparation, construction phasing and for automated machine guidance systems. AGC also pointed out that contractors are doing much of their internal controls by electronic means and moving this to the interaction with the DOTs should be pursued. AGC’s Highway and Transportation Construction Conference will include a session on DOT’s use of e-Construction and the AASHTOware products.

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

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ENVIRONMENT
New Proposal Would Expand Floodplain and Require Green Infrastructure for FEMA Federally Funded Construction
AGC Shares Concerns Regarding Agency’s Approach to Flood Risk Management
 

On Oct. 21, AGC expressed concerns with a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) proposal to update its Floodplain Management and Protection of Wetlands regulations.  FEMA is undergoing this effort to align with the 2015 Federal Flood Risk Management Standard, which AGC also commented on last year.  FEMA’s proposal would expand the floodplain and raise costs for construction that use of FEMA federal funds.  In particular, higher costs would result from new requirements to elevate certain structures.  It would also add vague requirements to incorporate “green infrastructure” approaches.  In its comments, AGC reiterated its ongoing concerns regarding the potential impact that expanding the floodplain could have on other regulatory programs, such as the Endangered Species Act.  Read the entire article here.

For more information, contact Melinda Tomaino at tomainom@agc.org or (703) 837-5415. Return to Top

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TAX/ACCOUNTING
2016 AGC/CFMA Construction Financial Management Conference a Milestone
Save the Date! November 1-3, 2017 | Las Vegas, Nevada
 

Last week, approximately 440 construction company owners, CFOs, CPAs and consultants attended the momentous 20th Annual Construction Financial Management Conference, jointly sponsored by AGC and the Construction Financial Management Association. During 31 interactive sessions over the three-day meeting, owners and financial professionals heard from leading experts in the fields of accounting, tax, financing, IT/cybersecurity, insurance/surety, fraud, workforce strategies, contracting, project management, federal affairs, claims and risk management. Among many others, speakers included: Larry Smith from FASB; Ed Palpant, FMI; Danette Beck, Marsh USA; Anthony Hakes, CBIZ-MHM; Mike Sobolewski, PwC; Jim Lundy, Marcum; Ed Shill, QCI Asset Management; Patrick Flanigan & Joe Oleksak from Plante Moran; Steve Scranton, Washington Trust Bank; Bassem Hamdy, Procore.

Thank you again to our speakers and sponsors for making the 20th Construction Financial Management Conference another success! Mark your calendars for the 21st Annual AGC/CFMA Construction Financial Management Conference, which will be held November 1-3, 2017 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada.

For more information, contact Brian Lenihan at lenihanb@agc.org or (202) 547-4733.  Return to Top

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Early Bird Registration ENDS TOMORROW for the Winter Financial Issues Committee
Register Now and Save: Early Bird Registration Ends October 28
 

Timely guidance, accurate advice on reporting requirements and common practices are essential items for any financial professional’s toolbox. We invite you to join your peers at the Winter 2017 AGC Financial Issues Committee, January 10-11, 2017 at Trump National Doral in Miami, FL. The two-day meeting is filled with interactive sessions, covering the latest industry issues and their financial implications. The Winter 2017 meeting will feature in-depth discussions with fellow contractors, FASB representatives, as well as AGC’s economist and legislative staff, and delve deep into the latest financial and accounting issues impacting the construction industry. Get updated on the outcome of the 2016 elections and the impact on tax & accounting issues for 2017, and hear from AGCs economist on industry trends and market conditions.

For more information, contact Brian Lenihan at lenihanb@agc.org or (202) 547-4733.  Return to Top

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