Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org October 5, 2017
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On the Inside
REGULATORY
AGC Participates in Trump Admin. Deregulatory Week
Treasury Withdraws Estate Tax Regulations
ENVIRONMENT
EPA Restores Partnership, Collaborative Work with AGC of America
LABOR
House Committee Advances AGC Supported Bill on Joint Employer Definition
TRANSPORTATION
Senate Committee Holds Hearing to Consider Paul Trombino as FHWA Administrator
FHWA Proposes Rule to Eliminate GHG Measurement Rule
FEDERAL CONTRACTING
AGC Meets with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Military and Civilian Leaders
AGC EVENTS
Get on Top of the Issues at AGC’s Highway, Transportation & Utility Infrastructure Conference
Register for the AGC/CFMA Construction Financial Management Conference
Apply for AGC’s Inaugural Diversity & Inclusion Awards
REGULATORY
AGC Participates in Trump Admin. Deregulatory Week
Represents Construction Industry before White House, DOL & DOT
 

This week, AGC participated in a series of deregulatory events at the White House and federal agencies—including the U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Department of Transportation – as the administration continues outreach to AGC for guidance on regulatory reforms to undertake. To date, AGC has provided several hundred pages worth of obsolete, over burdensome or duplicative regulations and detailed recommendations for federal agencies to consider in their quest to cut red tape. For a list of top regulations AGC continues to address, click here.

At the White House, Vice President Mike Pence noted that the Trump administration has issued 58 percent fewer and costly regulations than former President Obama and has saved $560 million by cutting regulations. Nevertheless, there is still much work to be done with regulations from silica to “Waters of the united states” and permit streamlining for the construction industry. AGC will continue to provide substantive information to regulators and the White House as well as push forward on Capitol Hill for regulatory reform.

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

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Treasury Withdraws Estate Tax Regulations
 

On Wednesday, the Treasury Department formally withdrewthe proposed regulations under Section 2704 of the Internal Revenue Code, which would have limited family-owned businesses’ use of minority discounts for the estate tax. AGC was actively involved in pushing for the regulations’ withdrawal. In October 2016, 730 family-owned AGC member companies sent a letter to then Secretary Lew calling for the regulations to be withdrawn.  AGC also submitted comments during the rulemaking process in opposition to the proposed regulations, and co-signed comments in opposition from the Family Business Estate Tax Coalition.

This is a significant victory for family-owned construction firms and a reminder that even if legislation stalls in Congress, there are still opportunities for regulatory victories under the Trump Administration.

The withdrawal of these proposed regulations comes following an Executive Order President Trump signed earlier this year directing the Secretary of the Treasury to identify significant tax regulations issued on or after Jan. 1, 2016 that 1) impose an undue financial burden on U.S. taxpayers, 2) add undue complexity to the federal tax laws, or 3) exceed the statutory authority of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). An obvious candidate for review under the Executive Order were the proposed regulations under Section 2704. The regulations as proposed could have raised family business’s estate taxes by an estimated 30 to 50 percent, were needlessly complicated, unnecessarily singled out family-owned businesses, exceeded the scope of IRS’s authority, and would have caused tremendous upheaval for succession planning.

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

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ENVIRONMENT
EPA Restores Partnership, Collaborative Work with AGC of America
 

On Tuesday, AGC Chief Executive Officer Stephen E. Sandherr and Tom Couling (Zachry Constr), the chair of AGC’s environmental forum, joined senior officials at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to launch the agency’s Smart Sectors program.  EPA invited AGC to partner on an aggressive effort to eliminate or improve harmful rules that have failed to deliver results and stifled economic growth. 

The Smart Sectors program is focused on better-informed rulemaking, reduced burden and increased transparency about environmental performance.  (See 82 Federal Register 44783 and 82 FR 45586.)  Through this new partnership, AGC will have a direct point-of-contact in EPA’s Office of Policy and an opportunity to shape the outcomes on issues on the agency’s “to do list” as outlined in the Regulatory Agenda.

AGC has been calling for EPA to revive the Bush Administration’s Sector Strategies program, through which AGC worked collaboratively with the agency to develop numerous industry-specific compliance tools including the online Construction Industry Compliance Assistance Center and a toolkit for developing an environmental management system.  In fact, this non-partisan program, temporarily ended by the Obama Administration, dates all the way back to the Clinton Administration. 

For more information, go to www.epa.gov/smartsectors or contact Melinda Tomaino at (703) 837-5415 or tomainom@agc.org Return to Top

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LABOR
House Committee Advances AGC Supported Bill on Joint Employer Definition
 

This week the House Committee on Education and the Workforce approved the Save Local Business Act, which would clarify that two or more employers must have “actual, direct, and immediate” control over employees to be considered joint employers under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The changes are significant and have the potential to disrupt the long-standing standards in labor law and the well-settled subcontracting practices in the construction industry. Due to the significance of the changes, AGC delivered a letter to Congress in advance of the committee action encouraging support of the legislation. 

The legislative effort is in response to actions during the Obama Administration that broadened the definition of joint employer from an entity having direct control to a standard of indirect control over the essential terms and conditions of employment of suppliers and subcontractors. The legislation is likely to pass the House later this year, however, its outcome in the Senate remains less certain.

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

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TRANSPORTATION
Senate Committee Holds Hearing to Consider Paul Trombino as FHWA Administrator
AGC Sends Letter of Support
 

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held a hearing today to consider President Trump’s nomination of Paul Trombino to serve as the next Federal Highway Administrator. The Senators who participated in the hearing focused their questions on finding a permanent fix to the Highway Trust Fund, speeding up the environmental review and permitting process, and ensuring that both urban and rural areas receive equal consideration in any new infrastructure package that Congress may take up. There was no opposition to Mr. Trombino’s nomination but it is unclear when the committee will actually vote to recommend confirmation to the full Senate.

AGC sent a letter to the committee calling for approval of Mr. Trombino’s nomination. Mr. Trombino has demonstrated at the state level – in his years of service at both the Iowa and Wisconsin Departments of Transportation – that he possesses the leadership and collaborative qualities needed to lead FHWA. AGC also noted that in his role as president of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), he helped frame national policy and promote investments that emphasized transportation as a key part of economic development.

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

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FHWA Proposes Rule to Eliminate GHG Measurement Rule
 

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) today issued a proposed rulemaking to reverse a regulation put in place in the final days of the Obama Administration, requiring states to measure greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions on highways as part of the planning process for transportation improvement projects. FHWA pointed out that a GHG measure was not required by statute and is a burdensome and unnecessary addition to the planning review.

FHWA limited the comment period to 30 days in an effort to eliminate this requirement before states would be required to implement it. AGC has highlighted this issue in communications with FHWA as part of the Trump Administrations efforts to reduce regulatory requirements. AGC CEO Stephen Sandherr also met with Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao early in her term and pointed out this rule as part of a long litany of regulations that AGC believes DOT should eliminate.

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

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FEDERAL CONTRACTING
AGC Meets with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Military and Civilian Leaders
Discuss Partnering and Agency Reforms
 

Last week, AGC met with military and civilian leaders of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to discuss how the agency can improve communication and partnering with the construction industry.  Among the suggestions, AGC urged more meetings on a regular basis between Army Corps Regions/Districts and AGC local chapters, improved change and budget management, and increase training for Army Corps acquisition personnel.  AGC pledged to support the Army Corps and other agencies’ efforts to help our nation recover from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

For more information, contact Jordan Howard at jordan.howard@agc.org or (703) 837-5368. Return to Top

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AGC EVENTS
Get on Top of the Issues at AGC’s Highway, Transportation & Utility Infrastructure Conference
Hotel Deadline Extended to Monday, October 9
 

Book your room for the 2017 Highway, Transportation and Utility Infrastructure Conference before AGC’s room block at the Marriott Desert Ridge in Phoenix, Arizona expires. Hotel deadline is Monday, Oct. 2.  After that date rooms at the hotel conference rate may not be available. The conference, which takes place Nov. 1-3, is an opportunity to get the latest information on issues impacting the highway and utility construction markets including:

  • Panel of contractors discussing how they are gearing up to comply with OSHA’s silica rule compliance.
  • What is the Gold Shovel Standard and how will it impact your business
  • What is expected from the Trump Administration infrastructure initiative
  • Future Trends: How will the industry change in the next decade
  • How are contractors using drones to improve construction operations
  • What do you have to know before becoming involved in a P3 project

A special networking night is planned to allow you to compete in a corn hole tournament while you enjoy a gourmet eating and drinking experience.

Register today before the room block fills up!

For more information, visit http://meetings.agc.org/highway_utility/ or contact Brian Deery at deeryb@agc.org or (703) 837-5319. Return to Top

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Register for the AGC/CFMA Construction Financial Management Conference
Book Your Hotel before Tuesday, Oct. 10
 

Jointly sponsored by AGC and CFMA, the 21st Annual AGC/CFMA Construction Financial Management Conference will be held Nov. 1-3, 2017 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada. This three-day conference offers programs and workshops designed specifically for financial professionals in the construction industry. The 34 interactive sessions will cover the latest industry issues and their financial implications. Participants may earn up to 20.5 continuing professional education (CPE) credits. 

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

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Apply for AGC’s Inaugural Diversity & Inclusion Awards
Deadline: November 15, 2017
 

AGC of America is proud to announce the launch of the AGC Diversity & Inclusion Awards program. AGC will present a total of six awards in three award categories: the Diversity & Inclusion Excellence Awards, the Chapter Diversity & Inclusion Award and the Diverse Business of the Year Award. These awards seek to raise awareness of the value that a diverse workforce and inclusive environment brings to a company by spotlighting diversity and inclusion champions within AGC. By recognizing these diversity and inclusion champions, AGC hopes to inspire other AGC member-companies to engage in activities that will promote diversity and inclusion both within the Association and the industry. 

AGC member companies and chapters in good standing who meet the competition requirements are encouraged to apply online for some much-deserved recognition. Apply by November 15, 2017. Learn more about AGC of America’s Diversity & Inclusion Awards program at www.agc.org/diversityawards.

For more information contact Brynn Huneke at brynn.huneke@agc.org or (703) 837-5376.  Return to Top

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