Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org June 14, 2018
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On the Inside
TRADE
Bipartisan Bill to Address Steel & Aluminum Tariffs Blocked
IMMIGRATION
AGC Joins Effort to Call for Changes to Immigration Visa Caps
ENVIRONMENT
Court Blocks Enforcement of 2015 WOTUS Rule; Twenty-Four States Now Have Injunction
TAX/ACCOUNTING
AGC Co-signs Letter to Fix Qualified Improvement Property Glitch
SAFETY
2018 AGC Summer Safety & Health Conference
Advanced Safety Management Training Course
LABOR/HR
AGC Supports Legislative Fix to ACA’s Employer Reporting Requirements
Congressional Committee Holds Multiemployer Pension Hearing
Registration Opens for 2018 Construction HR and Training Professionals Conference
INFRASTRUCTURE
AGC Participates on Rural Infrastructure Panel
TRADE
Bipartisan Bill to Address Steel & Aluminum Tariffs Blocked
Construction Materials Costs on the Rise
 

On June 12, Senate Republicans blocked consideration of AGC-supported bipartisan legislation that would require congressional approval of tariffs imposed for national security purposes, including both the 25 percent tariff on steel and 10 percent tariff on aluminum. This comes on the heels of producer price index figures showing, from May 2017 to May 2018, a jump of 17.3 percent for aluminum mill shapes and 10.5 percent for steel mill products. The U.S. imposed steel and aluminum tariffs on imports from Canada, Mexico and the European Union on June 1 and are not reflected in the current data. Contact the president and your members of Congress to tell them to end steel and aluminum tariffs hurting your construction business.

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

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IMMIGRATION
AGC Joins Effort to Call for Changes to Immigration Visa Caps
 

AGC joined the H-2B Workforce Coalition in letters to U.S. House and Senate appropriators ahead of debate on the a fiscal year (FY) 2019 funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security. The letter was spurred by a perennial shortage of H-2B visas for seasonal workers. H-2B visas are one of the only legal programs for construction employers to use foreign labor for temporary or seasonal work. The letter calls on Congress to raise the number of visas allowed annually to meet economic needs. AGC has long advocated for increasing H-2B visas, along with other immigration reform priorities. 

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

ENVIRONMENT
Court Blocks Enforcement of 2015 WOTUS Rule; Twenty-Four States Now Have Injunction
Trump Administration Recently Delayed Implementation of the Rule Until 2020
 

As the Trump Administration faces the long task to “repeal and replace” the 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, district courts have become the latest battleground.  On June 8, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia issued an injunction on the 2015 rule, effectively shielding 11 states as their challenge of the rule moves through the court.  An existing injunction has been in place since 2015 covering 13 other states, bringing the total number of states protected by an injunction to twenty-four.  District courts are also handling requests for injunctions in Ohio and Texas. 

Meanwhile, environmental groups filed a lawsuit in the Northern District of California on June 13 (joining cases in New York and South Carolina) to challenge the administration’s recent rule to delay applicability of the 2015 rule by two years.  Although the 2015 rule currently remains delayed until 2020; these injunctions add a backstop should the cases against the delay rule prevail.

For more information, contact Melinda Tomaino at tomainom@agc.org Return to Top

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TAX/ACCOUNTING
AGC Co-signs Letter to Fix Qualified Improvement Property Glitch
 

In the push to pass the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act by the end of 2017, the tax writers made a few drafting errors that will require a “technical correction.” One correction that affects the commercial real estate industry is a provision on Qualified Improvement Property (QIP).  QIP is generally the improvements to the interiors of existing nonresidential buildings, and used to be known as “restaurant, retail, and leasehold” improvement property.

In previous years, Congress – with broad bipartisan support – reduced the depreciation period for QIP from 39 years to 15 years. AGC also strongly supported this effort. The provision was extended on a temporary basis for many years until it became permanent in 2015.

Unfortunately, due to a pure drafting error in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the depreciation schedule for QIP was accidentally increased from 15 years back to 39 years.  AGC recently called on Congress to fix this mistake, and is working with an ad hoc coalition of affected groups to get this fixed as soon as possible.

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

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SAFETY
2018 AGC Summer Safety & Health Conference
July 25-27 in Indianapolis, IN
 

The 2018 Summer Safety & Health Conference will take place July 25-27, 2018 at the JW Marriott in Indianapolis, IN. 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 hereReturn to Top

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Advanced Safety Management Training Course
October 17-19 in Arlington, VA
 

This unique three–day course provides construction safety and health professionals with the next–level knowledge required to successfully manage a company–wide safety program. Moving beyond the basics of Focus Four training, AGC’s Advanced Safety Management Training Program will give participants a more holistic view of safety’s role in project and company success, as well as advanced tactics and best practices for managing all aspects of a corporate safety program. Participants will also focus on the importance of "selling" safety throughout the organization and methods to generate buy–in from different audiences. Full details on the course and links to registration can be found here. Return to Top

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LABOR/HR
AGC Supports Legislative Fix to ACA’s Employer Reporting Requirements
 

AGC joined over 220 businesses, and national, state and local organizations representing millions of American workers and their families in support of the Commonsense Reporting Act.  The Affordable Care Act (ACA) currently requires employers and insurers to report complex information about health insurance coverage to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) at the end of the tax year. The bipartisan, bicameral Commonsense Reporting Act would provide consumers with help during the annual health coverage open enrollment process, employers with relief from the burdensome reporting requirements, and Exchanges with an additional tool to verify tax credit and subsidy eligibility.

For more information, contact Jim Young at youngj@agc.org or (202) 547-0133 Claiborne Guy at claiborne.guy@agc.org or 703-837-5382.  Return to Top

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Congressional Committee Holds Multiemployer Pension Hearing
 

The Joint Select Committee on the Solvency of Multiemployer Pension Plans held its third hearing this week, focusing on the impact to contributing employers in critical and declining pension plans. The bipartisan, bicameral committee is tasked with finding a solution to the nation’s multiemployer pension crisis by the end of November. The committee heard from various employers on the risks they face in critical and declining plans. The testimony touched on the ever increasing contributions, the active workers seeing diminishing accruals – which hurts retention and recruitment, withdrawal liability that can exceed the value of a company and thereby hinder its ability to be sold, and how withdrawal liability can impact a company’s credit worthiness.

The committee has three more hearings planned over the summer and then will look toward finding a solution. AGC’s priorities remain including the composite plan design to the committee’s solution. AGC is also opposed to increasing premiums to pay for a new government loan or subsidy program to assist failing plans.

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

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Registration Opens for 2018 Construction HR and Training Professionals Conference
 

Registration is now open for the 2018 Construction HR and Training Professionals Conference and pre-conference Federal HR Workshop to be held October 10-12, 2018 in Fort Worth, TX!

AGC's HR/TED Conference provides two days of education and networking for HR, training, and workforce development professionals in the construction industry. Educational sessions for training professionals cover the most cutting-edge techniques in training and development currently in use and envisioned for the future in the industry. The HR sessions help HR professionals in the industry remain up to date and compliant with employment laws and best practices. Some sessions interest both HR and training professionals alike.

Walk away from this year's conference with practical skills that you can begin to implement immediately. Plus, take away insights from colleagues who face the same challenges you see every day.

For more information, contact Claiborne Guy at 703-837-5382 or claiborne.guy@agc.org Return to Top

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INFRASTRUCTURE
AGC Participates on Rural Infrastructure Panel
 

On June 6, AGC of America’s Utility Infrastructure Division Director, Allen Gray, participated on a four-person panel before the House Democratic Blue Dog Coalition Task Force to address rural development. In addition to AGC, the panel consisted of representatives of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, telecommunications industry, community colleges and the construction industry.  The panel provided input on issues ranging from education/training, broadband access to water/wastewater and transportation infrastructure.

Allen focused particularly on rural infrastructure needs and funding. Investing in rural water/waste water and transportation infrastructure is a prerequisite to building a foundation to attract business, a workforce and connecting rural areas to the greater community.

For more information contact Allen Gray at Allen.Gray@AGC.org or 704-537-5321. Return to Top

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