Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org June 29, 2017
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On the Inside
ENVIRONMENT
U.S. EPA, Army Corps Move to Rescind 2015 WOTUS Rule
SAFETY
OSHA Issues Proposal to Extend July 1 Deadline for Submitting Electronic Injury and Illness Records
HEALTH CARE
Senate Continues to Debate Health Care Reform Legislation
TRANSPORTATION
House and Senate Move Forward on FAA Reauthorization
LABOR
House Committee Considers NLRA Bills
Want FMI’s 2017 Construction Talent Development Report?
TAX/ACCOUNTING
AGC Financial Issues Committee Summer Meeting Recap
ENVIRONMENT
U.S. EPA, Army Corps Move to Rescind 2015 WOTUS Rule
 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced the pre-publication version of a proposed rule to rescind the Obama-era 2015 “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule that defines what streams, wetlands and other wet areas are controlled by the federal government and subject to the permitting requirements of the Clean Water Act. This action is the first step in a comprehensive, two-step process intended to review and revise the definition of WOTUS consistent with President Trump’s Executive Order on “Restoring the Rule of Law, Federalism, and Economic Growth by Reviewing the ‘Waters of the United States’ Rule.”

This first step (when finalized) would re-codify the regulatory text that existed prior to 2015 WOTUS rule. That is currently the controlling law, as a result of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit's stay of the 2015 rule. Therefore, this proposed rule does not change current practice with respect to what WOTUS definition applies: The agencies will continue to use the 1986 regulations and applicable jurisdictional guidance (status quo as it existed before the 2015 rule) in making jurisdictional determinations or taking other actions based on the definition of WOTUS.

In a separate rulemaking (step two), the agencies plan to engage in a substantive re-evaluation of the definition of WOTUS.  “In a second step, the agencies will pursue notice-and-comment rulemaking in which the agencies will conduct a substantive re-evaluation of the definition of ‘Waters of the United States,’” the pre-publication notice states. 

To access all of the agency documents referenced above, click here.  For a closer look at AGC’s active advocacy work and frequent coverage of this issue, click here.

For more information, contact Leah Pilconis at pilconisl@agc.org or (703) 837-5332. Return to Top

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SAFETY
OSHA Issues Proposal to Extend July 1 Deadline for Submitting Electronic Injury and Illness Records
Announces Intent to Review Controversial Recordkeeping Rule Covering Drug Testing
 

On June 28, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) formally proposed a rule to extend the original deadline for contractors to electronically submit their 2016 injury and illness data (Form 300A) from July 1 to December 1, 2017. OSHA now expects to launch the electronic data collection system by August 1, allowing contractors four months to familiarize themselves with the new system. AGC will submit comments in favor of the extension.

OSHA also announced its intention to issue a separate proposal to reconsider, revise or remove other provisions of the controversial May 2016 injury and illness recordkeeping final rule. The provisions under future consideration could include the anti-retaliation provision that focuses on post-incident drug testing, disciplinary policies and safety incentive programs. AGC will again submit comments to OSHA detailing its concerns with the provision, as it did with the head of OSHA last year.  

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

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HEALTH CARE
Senate Continues to Debate Health Care Reform Legislation
Changes to Legislation Expected and Final Outcome Remains Uncertain
 

The Senate Republicans continued to debate their health care legislation, the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017, this week and that debate is expected to continue into next week as well. The legislation follows on the House passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA) and AGC is encouraged that Congress is seriously considering repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). While the outcome of the legislation remains uncertain AGC looks forward to working with Congress as it moves forward with health care reform and making improvements to the bill. AGC sent the Senate a letterearlier this week.

For more information, contact Jim Young at youngj@agc.org or (202) 547-0133. Return to Top

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TRANSPORTATION
House and Senate Move Forward on FAA Reauthorization
Bills Include a Number of Key AGC Priorities
 

This week, the House and Senate moved forward with their respective reauthorizations of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). AGC weighed in with the House Transportation & Infrastructure (T&I) and Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committees on construction contractors’ priorities for the legislation. The current FAA Authorization expires on September 30.

The House T&I Committee passed the 21st Century Aviation, Innovation, Reform and Reauthorization (AIRR) Act by a vote of 32-25. The largely party-line vote was due to language moving FAA’s Air Traffic Control operations to a new non-profit corporation, while leaving the FAA in charge of safety regulation and airport grants. The Senate bill, the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act of 2017, passed out of committee by voice vote and, unlike the House bill, does not include the Air Traffic Control proposal.

During House committee debate, an AGC-supported amendment by Representatives Lou Barletta (R-Pa.) and Sam Graves (R-Mo.) to increase funding for the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) was included. The amendment authorizes AIP funding at $3.597 billion in fiscal year 2018 and increases funding to $3.998 billion in fiscal year FY 2023 – an increase of $173.6 million per year over what was originally included on the AIRR Act. The Senate bill provides an increase for the AIP in the last two years of the authorization—up to $3.75 billion in fiscal years 2019 and 2020.  In terms of the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC), neither bill included the AGC-supported increase in the $4.50 cap that airports can charge to help finance airport infrastructure projects.

Other issues of note, the Senate bill includes language that increases the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) size standard for the AIP program, while also ensuring that there is one size standard for all businesses participating in the AIP DBE program.  In the House, two Buy America-related amendments that AGC opposes were included, one that requires the Department of Transportation to establish a public notice and comment period for Buy America waivers, the second requires the Secretary of Transportation to provide annual reports to Congress on the amounts of foreign-manufactured equipment purchased by the FAA.

Next the respective bills will be considered by the full House and Senate – which could happen prior to Congress leaving for the August recess.  AGC will continue to work to ensure that the final FAA bill includes the higher House bill AIP funding levels, lifts the PFC cap, retains the Senate DBE size standard provision and does not expand Buy America requirements, either in scope or application.

For more information, contact Sean O’Neill at oneills@agc.org or (202) 547-8892. Return to Top

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LABOR
House Committee Considers NLRA Bills
 

The House Committee on the Education and the Workforce approved two bills that target the National Labor Relations Act and actions undertaken at the National Labor Relations Board during the previous eight years. AGC supports the committee’s efforts and urges Congress to pass H.R. 2776, the Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act and H.R. 2775, the Employee Privacy Protection Act. H.R. 2776 would reverse the NLRB rule on representation-case procedures, also known as the “quickie election” or “ambush election” rule. H.R. 2775 protects personal privacy by giving employees control over confidential information that can be shared with union organizers during a representation election. The bills would likely pass the House but their future in the Senate remains uncertain.

For more information, contact Jim Young at youngj@agc.org or (202) 547-0133. Return to Top

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Want FMI’s 2017 Construction Talent Development Report?
Take the Survey & Understand Your Construction Employment Market
 

Construction industry executives, HR professionals and training directors are asked to join their peers in completing a brief survey to gauge recent changes and practices for recruiting, retaining and training construction industry personnel. Those who complete the survey will receive FMI’s 2017 Talent Development Report. So, click here by Tuesday, July 11 to take the survey (see the last report from 2015: FMI’s 2015 Talent Development Report).

The results of the survey will first be revealed in October at AGC’s 2017 Construction HR & Training Professionals Conference in Phoenix, AZ, and all attendees will receive a free copy of the final report before it is made available to others.  The report will be shared with all survey participants as well as the broader industry later this year.  FMI assures that all individual responses will be held in strict confidence and results will be presented in the aggregate only. 

For information about FMI’s 2017 Talent Development Survey, please contact Sabine Hoover at shoover@fminet.com.  For information about the 2017 Construction HR & Training Professionals Conference, please contact Carly Trout at carly.trout@agc.org or Claiborne Guy at claiborne.guy@agc.org Return to Top

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TAX/ACCOUNTING
AGC Financial Issues Committee Summer Meeting Recap
 

This past week, nearly 40 member company CFOs and other senior accounting and tax professionals attended the AGC Financial Issues Committee (FIC) Summer Meeting in Minneapolis, MN.  The Committee inaugurated a new Chairman, John Rogoz of Krauss-Anderson Construction, and congratulated outgoing Chairman, Dave Allison, on receiving AGC of America’s National Committee Chair of the Year.

Committee members discussed the construction industry’s priorities for tax reform with Rep. Erik Paulson (R-MN), and Kyle Hauptman, Policy Director for Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR); discussed the use of information technology (IT) in contracting with Dave Anderskow at Palmer Consulting; received an update on the implementation of new accounting standards from Cullen Walsh at FASB; and heard from AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson about the economic outlook for construction.

The next meeting of the FIC will be the Winter Meeting scheduled for January 7-9, 2018, in San Diego, CA.  Meeting and hotel information will be circulated in the coming weeks.

For more information, contact Matt Turkstra at matt.turkstra@agc.org or (202) 547-4733Return to Top

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