Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org November 2, 2017
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On the Inside
TAX REFORM
House GOP Unveils Tax Reform Bill
LABOR
DOL Appeals Ruling in Overtime Case, Sets Stage for Upcoming Rulemaking
CYBER SECURITY
WebEd: New FAR and DFARS Cybersecurity Requirements for Federal Contractors: What You Need to Know
LABOR
DOL Training on Paid Sick Leave Requirement for Federal Contractors
SAFETY
Full OSHA Enforcement of the Silica in Construction Standard Begins
EVENTS
Register for the Safety & Health Conference
TAX REFORM
House GOP Unveils Tax Reform Bill
 

Today, House Republican leaders unveiled their long-awaited tax reform bill, a broad rewrite of the tax code built around lowered individual and business tax rates, as well as an expanded tax base. Republicans have made clear their intent to pass and sign the bill into law before year’s end, noting that the 429 page bill, H.R. 1, is scheduled to be taken up for consideration in the House Ways and Means Committee beginning next week on Nov. 6.

Featuring 120 individual provisions that would add to, augment, or eliminate sections of the current tax code, the Republican tax reform bill—crafted behind closed doors—is already generating  intense debate among business leaders. Steve Sandherr, CEO of AGC of America, has already weighed in on the unfolding debate, noting that AGC “will work to ensure that pass-through businesses, including the majority of construction firms, also benefit from tax reform.”

AGC looks forward to providing its members with greater, construction-specific analysis in the coming weeks. In the meantime, you can find the complete bill text here and a section-by-section summary here.

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

 

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LABOR
DOL Appeals Ruling in Overtime Case, Sets Stage for Upcoming Rulemaking
 

On November 30, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) appealed a Texas judge’s decision to toss out an Obama administration rule that would have nearly doubled the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) salary threshold for exemption from overtime pay. The Trump administration DOL is defending its authority to create an overtime rule, but not the salary limit set by the Obama administration. The agency filed its notice to appeal the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and once docketed, the agency — through the Department of Justice — will file a motion to hold the appeal in abeyance while the DOL undertakes further rulemaking to determine what the salary level should be.

The DOL’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) is currently reviewing submissions following a Request for Information (RFI) it published earlier this summer asking for public input on what changes the agency should propose in a new rulemaking revisiting the salary threshold. AGC submitted comments in response to the RFI, advising WHD to update the salary threshold to a reasonable level that makes sense for today’s workforce. AGC will continue to provide input to the DOL on the impact further changes might have on the construction industry and will notify members of any developments.  

For more information, please contact Claiborne Guy at claiborne.guy@agc.org or (703) 837-5382. Return to Top
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CYBER SECURITY
WebEd: New FAR and DFARS Cybersecurity Requirements for Federal Contractors: What You Need to Know
 

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. Return to Top
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LABOR
DOL Training on Paid Sick Leave Requirement for Federal Contractors
 

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. Return to Top
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SAFETY
Full OSHA Enforcement of the Silica in Construction Standard Begins
 

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

Two weeks ago, 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. Return to Top
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EVENTS
Register for the Safety & Health Conference
 

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. Return to Top
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