Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org October 26, 2017
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On the Inside
TAX
House Approves Budget Plan, Setting Stage for Tax Reform Bill
LABOR
House Committee Advances Mandatory E-Verify Immigration Legislation, Final Outcome Uncertain
TRANSPORTATION
Senate Committee Approves FHWA Administrator Nominee
SAFETY
Full OSHA Enforcement of the Silica in Construction Standard Begins
LABOR
DOL Training on Paid Sick Leave Requirement for Federal Contractors
CYBER SECURITY
WebEd: New FAR and DFARS Cybersecurity Requirements for Federal Contractors: What You Need to Know
EVENTS
Register for the Safety & Health Conference
EVENTS
Submit Your Application for the 19th Annual Willis Towers Watson Construction
PODCAST
Men Without Work: a New Look at Constructionís Workforce Shortages
TAX
House Approves Budget Plan, Setting Stage for Tax Reform Bill
 

This afternoon, the House of Representatives narrowly passed the budget resolution (H. Con. Res. 71) by a vote of 216-212.  Importantly, the budget resolution sets forth the process for expedited consideration of tax reform legislation in the Senate, requiring only 50 votes for passage.  Following the vote, Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady announced that the committee will release its tax reform legislation on Wednesday, November 1 and will formally begin a markup of the legislation the following week on November 6.

The budget resolution allows tax reform legislation to increase the deficit by $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years.  Over the next week, Republicans will continue to negotiate on some of the more controversial offsets laid out in the initial tax reform framework, such as reducing the state and local Tax deduction.  Notably, many of the Republicans who voted against the budget resolution hail from New York and New Jersey, where the impact of repealing this deduction could be pronounced.

AGC supported passage of the budget resolution as a means to consider tax reform legislation, and signed a letter calling on Congress to do so.  AGC continues to push for the priorities of the construction industry in the package, such as lowering tax rates for both corporations and pass-through businesses, simplifying tax preparation, and promoting infrastructure investment.  We will evaluate the proposal after it is introduced next week to see if it reflects AGC priorities.

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

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LABOR
House Committee Advances Mandatory E-Verify Immigration Legislation, Final Outcome Uncertain
 

This week, the House Judiciary Committee advanced immigration legislation that included a guest worker bill for agricultural workers and mandatory E-Verify for all employers with regard to new hires. The E-Verify bill, the Legal Workforce Act (LWA), has long been tied to immigration reform efforts, and the Republican controlled Congress considers its passage to be a prerequisite for the enactment of additional reforms.

AGC supports the LWA and delivered a letter to the committee prior to its consideration, because the bill creates a reliable method of verifying work authorization for new hires, generates protections from employment discrimination, and features federal preemption from the patchwork of conflicting and confusing state and local laws.

The legislation will likely be considered by the House later this year and will be joined to additional immigration reforms. While the legislation has passed the committee several times, it has never been considered by the full Congress; its outcome remains uncertain.

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

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TRANSPORTATION
Senate Committee Approves FHWA Administrator Nominee
 

The Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee voted yesterday to approve the nomination of Paul Trombino, President Trump’s pick to serve as the next Federal Highway Administrator. The full Senate must now approve the nomination. A vote is not yet scheduled but could happen at any time. Mr. Trombino served as the Director of the Iowa Department of Transportation for six years beginning in April 2011, building on 17 years of service with the Wisconsin DOT. He served as the 2015 AASHTO President and was active on the AASHTO-AGC-ARTBA Joint Committee.

During his service in Iowa, Mr. Trombino played a key role in pushing the Iowa Legislature to approve a 10-cent-per-gallon increase in gasoline and diesel fuel taxes to generate about $200 million annually in additional money for state and local road and bridge construction projects. AGC supported the nomination in a letter to the EPW committee, calling for approval of Mr. Trombino’s nomination based on his demonstrated leadership at the state and national levels. AGC of America and AGC of Iowa have worked closely with Mr. Trombino in the past.

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

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SAFETY
Full OSHA Enforcement of the Silica in Construction Standard Begins
AGC Continues to Fight in Court/DC and Provide Members with Resources
 

On October 23, 2017, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) began full enforcement of its respirable crystalline silica standard for construction. If your construction company operates under OSHA state-plans in one of 26 states or two territories, it is important that you check to see if your OSHA state-plan agency is following the federal OSHA’s lead with this enforcement policy.

Although AGC remains engaged in litigation against the rule in federal court, a final decision is not expected until 2018, at the earliest. As such, AGC continues to engage the Trump administration.

In the meantime, AGC recognizes that construction companies must abide by the silica regulation, because it is the law. That is why we developed the “Respirable Crystalline Silica in Construction” webpage with a host of resources—sample forms, webinars, flowcharts, FAQs, and more—to help AGC members understand their compliance responsibilities.

Details on Latest OSHA Enforcement Guidance

Late last week, OSHA issued a memorandum to OSHA Regional Administrators providing interim enforcement guidance for Compliance Safety and Health Officers (CSHOs) commencing enforcement on October 23. The memorandum serves as interim enforcement guidance and expires when the standard’s companion compliance directive becomes effective and available to the field.

It is important to note, however, that the memorandum does not provide specific enforcement guidance on all the standard's provisions. In addition, due to the new requirements in 29 CFR 1926.1153, OSHA has revoked their National Emphasis Program on Crystalline Silica which provided guidance to CSHOs for targeting inspections of jobsites with the potential to generate elevated exposures to crystalline silica.

The memorandum outlines inspection guidance for CSHOs for both methods of compliance – Specified Exposure Control Methods (Table 1) and Alternative Exposure Control Methods (Performance and Scheduled Monitoring Options). During an inspection/investigation, CSHOs will:

  • Collect personal breathing zone samples when controls for tasks listed in Table 1 are not being fully and properly implemented, or when alternative exposure control methods are not being properly implemented.
  • Review the employer’s written silica Exposure Control Plan (ECP) and other relevant programs (Respiratory Protection Program, Hazard Communication Program, etc.). If the employer conducted an exposure assessment, those records will also be reviewed; and
  • Interview affected employees, including the competent person, as part of the overall assessment of the employer's implementation of its ECP.

The memorandum also approves the use of sweeping compounds (e.g., non-grit, oil, or waxed-based) as a housekeeping method; clarifies that the 30-day trigger to make medical examinations available to employees now required to wear a respirator for 30 or more days a year applies per employer (exposures with previous employers do not count toward the 30-day total); and outlines how exposure variability will be taken into consideration when comparing the results of employer and CSHO samples.

Although the memorandum does not include specific guidance on required employee information and training (paragraph (i)(2) of the standard), AGC encourages contractors to continue to ensure that employees covered by the standard are trained in accordance with the provisions outlined in the standard.

For more information, please contact Kevin Cannon at (703) 837-5410 or cannonk@agc.org or Nazia Shah at (703) 837-5409 or nazia.shah@agc.org

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LABOR
DOL Training on Paid Sick Leave Requirement for Federal Contractors
Complimentary AGC Webinar: November 8, 2017 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET
 

Register today for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division webinar for AGC members on the requirement for federal contractors to provide seven days (56 hours) of paid sick leave annually. The requirement went into effect for contract solicitations issued on or after Jan. 1, 2017.

Remember, this requirement only applies to direct federal contractors (those with prime or subcontracts with or through a federal agency—i.e., Army Corps, Navy, U.S. General Services Administration, and so forth). The requirement DOES NOT apply to prime or subcontracts with or through state departments of transportation. Click here to register or to find more information on the subject.  

For more information, please contact Claiborne Guy at claiborne.guy@agc.org or (703) 837-5382.

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CYBER SECURITY
WebEd: New FAR and DFARS Cybersecurity Requirements for Federal Contractors: What You Need to Know
November 9, 2017 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm EST
 

Register today.

Federal agencies now mandate minimum cyber security requirements for companies that do business with the federal government. Federal agencies now require federal contractors to implement new security control requirements and ensure sensitive federal information remains confidential when stored on any non-federal electronic system. It began in 2016 with FAR 52.204-21 (Basic Safeguarding of Covered Contractor Information Systems); it continues with DFARS 252.204-7012 (Safeguarding Covered Defense Information & Cyber Incident Reporting), which becomes mandatory for all Department of Defense contracts beginning December 31, 2017.

This WebEd will give an overview of the new cyber security requirements for contractors who contract with the Department of Defense and other federal agencies, highlight the FAR and DFARS provisions that give this new rule teeth, and explore the potential impacts of compliance failure for federal contractors. Click here to register.

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

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EVENTS
Register for the Safety & Health Conference
Donít Miss Out! Jan. 10-12, 2018
 

The 2018 Winter Safety & Health Conference will take place Jan. 10-12, 2018 at the Hilton in Long Beach, California. Join more than 250 industry professionals and participate in the development of regulatory and legislative activity on both a national and local level; assist in the development and creation of new safety training programs and products; and hear the latest initiatives from OSHA and other industry experts.

Full details on the conference, and links to registration and the hotel room block can be found here.

For more information, please contact Kevin Cannon at (703) 837-5410 or cannonk@agc.org or Nazia Shah at (703) 837-5409 or nazia.shah@agc.org.

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EVENTS
Submit Your Application for the 19th Annual Willis Towers Watson Construction
Safety Excellence Awards
 

The Willis Towers Watson-AGC Construction Safety Excellence Awards (CSEA) is the industry’s elite safety excellence awards program for contractors of all types and sizes. It is unique because applicants are not only judged based on their submitted applications, they have the opportunity to deliver five minute presentations to a panel of five judges who then question the finalists. CSEA recognizes companies that have developed and implemented premier safety and risk control programs, and it showcases companies that have achieved continuous improvement/maintenance of their safety and health management system.

Don’t miss this singular opportunity to have your best-in-class safety program recognized! For more information on the Willis-AGC CSEA program, and to begin your application, please click here. The deadline for submitting applications is Friday, December 15, 2017.

If you have any questions regarding the application process, please contact Kevin Cannon at (703) 837-5410 or cannonk@agc.org.

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PODCAST
Men Without Work: a New Look at Constructionís Workforce Shortages
 

For this month’s episode of the ConstructorCast, we sit down with Dr. Nicholas Eberstadt of the American Enterprise Institute to discuss his book Men Without Work and what his research can tell us about the possible causes of workforce shortages in the construction industry. This insightful discussion touches on everything from the opioid crisis, family structure, disability insurance reform, and more. Search for the ConstructorCast in your podcasts app to subscribe.

Stream or download the episode here

For more information, please contact Andrew Burke at andrew.burke@agc.org or (703) 837-5364.

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