Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org June 21, 2018
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On the Inside
IMMIGRATION
Immigration Reform Remains on Congressional Forefront
LABOR/HR
AGC Commends DOL Attention on Expanding Apprenticeships
AGC Urges Congress to Oppose Legislation that would Limit Employer and Employee Rights
Labor Department Finalizes Rule Expanding Small Business Health Plan Options
AGC Needs Your Help Measuring the Scope of Construction Labor Shortages
TAX/ACCOUNTING
Internet Tax Decision Could Provide Infrastructure Investment
AGC Financial Issues Committee Summer Meeting Recap
IMMIGRATION
Immigration Reform Remains on Congressional Forefront
AGC Weighs in on Construction Workforce Needs
 

On June 21, the U.S. House of Representatives voted on a legislative proposal to reform the nation’s immigration laws. Prior to the vote, AGC opposed the Securing America’s Future Act because it limited legal immigration and failed to address the construction industry’s workforce shortage. The bill ultimately failed by a vote of 193 to 231 with 41 Republicans joining every Democrat in opposition. The House is slated to vote tomorrow on the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act, which provides a better pathway to reform but still falls short of addressing the industry’s priorities. The bill could even see additional modifications prior to a final vote. To view a copy of the letter AGC delivered to Congress click here. To view AGC’s press statement on today’s legislation click here. 

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

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LABOR/HR
AGC Commends DOL Attention on Expanding Apprenticeships
Urges Inclusion of Construction Industry to Help Solve Workforce Shortage
 

AGC joined a group of organizations commending the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Task Force on Expanding Apprenticeships for its final report. In a letter addressed to DOL Secretary Acosta, the Jobs and Careers Coalition supported the core recommendation and urged the Department to move forward with the vision laid out by the task force. The coalition did however share several concerns with the task force’s recommendations on how implement a new Industry Recognized Apprenticeship Program (IRAP) model.  Two main concerns shared were the lack of inclusion of traditional industries with apprenticeships as possible pilot programs and not being able to consider participants as apprentices for the purpose of meeting Davis Bacon Act wage requirements, specific to the construction industry.

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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AGC Urges Congress to Oppose Legislation that would Limit Employer and Employee Rights
 

In recent weeks a group of Democrats have introduced the so-called Workplace Democracy Act (WDA), which radically changes labor law’s in the country. The bill not only restores the “card check” proposal from previous congresses that eliminates the right to secret ballots in union representation elections, but goes even further by expanding joint employer standards, restricting traditional independent contractor roles, and restricts an employer’s ability to seek legal advice during union elections. In response to the legislation AGC joined with over 100 organizations representing many industries urging Congress to reject the legislation’s changes to labor laws.

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

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Labor Department Finalizes Rule Expanding Small Business Health Plan Options
 

On June 19, the U. S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration released a final rule to expand association health plans (AHPs) and increase the flexibility for small employers to join groups or associations to offer insured health coverage in the large group market at potentially more favorable pricing with less restrictive requirements. A number of AGC Chapters across the country currently recognize the need to offer alternative health care options and administer AHPs that offer “group health plan” coverage to employees of members.  As outlined in response to the proposed version of the rule, AGC supports the flexibility in the proposed rule and is pleased that existing AHPs were preserved in the final rule.

The rule expands access to association health plans by loosening the definition of “employer.” Small businesses and self-employed individuals, known as working-owners, will be allowed to band together by industry or geography to obtain health care as a large group. The final rule retains the consumer protections and healthcare anti-discrimination protections currently applicable to large businesses and therefore will also apply to AHPs organized under this rule. New and existing AHPs can elect to follow either the old guidance or the new rules. State regulatory oversight over AHPs will continue without a federal exemption, but the DOL promises to work closely with state insurance commissioners to avoid any issues and share enforcement authority. The rollout of the plans will be phased, allowing some to start offering coverage as soon as Sept. 1, with additional rollout dates going through to next year.

Please visit the DOL’s webpage for further information.

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

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AGC Needs Your Help Measuring the Scope of Construction Labor Shortages
Please Take Our Short Survey
 

As demand for construction in most parts of the country continues to expand and the number of unemployed construction workers hits record low levels, AGC of America and Autodesk are working to better quantify where these shortages are taking place, how severe they are, and what steps firms are taking to both cope with tight labor markets and improve the supply of new, qualified workers. That is why we are asking members to take a few minutes to complete the workforce survey that we have prepared. 

The more people understand the scope, and consequences, of a tight construction labor market, the more likely they are to act on the measures we are promoting to make it easier for school systems, local associations and private firms to establish career and technical education and training programs. The more members who take the survey, the better able we all will be to describe labor market conditions where you operate.  Return to Top

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TAX/ACCOUNTING
Internet Tax Decision Could Provide Infrastructure Investment
 

The Supreme Court today ruled in favor of allowing states to require internet retailers to collect state and local sales taxes for online purchases and send those taxes to the state where the shopper lives. The 5-4 decision overturned an earlier Supreme Court ruling prohibiting states from imposing such requirements. Some states may be looking at the sales tax windfall as a revenue source to pay for transportation infrastructure improvements necessary to deliver the goods purchased on-line. Currently, online retailers need to collect those taxes only if they have a physical presence in the state.

In 2013, Virginia passed transportation funding legislation which included a provision directing that a large portion of proceeds from a tax on internet sales would be used to help pay for transportation projects. At that time a legislative committee estimated that the sales tax would generate annually nearly $170 million. Other states have considered similar measures and may now be incentivized to take up legislation. Chapters may want to ensure that any sales tax revenue from internet sales in their states are directed to infrastructure investment.

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

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AGC Financial Issues Committee Summer Meeting Recap
 

On June 7-8, nearly 40 member company CFO’s and other senior accounting and tax professionals attended the AGC Financial Issues Committee (FIC) Summer Meeting in Washington, DC. Committee members heard a legislative update from Senator Steve Daines (R-Mont.), and discussed the recently passed tax reform legislation and how it impacts the construction industry and its priorities.

The group also heard a presentation on the new “Opportunity Zones,” created in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act from Shay Hawkins, tax counsel to Senator Tim Scott; received an update on the implementation of new accounting standards; and heard from AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson about the economic outlook for construction.

The FIC Winter 2019 Meeting will be held January 10-11 at the JW Marriott Turnberry Resort in Miami, Florida.  Meeting and hotel information will be circulated in the coming months.

For more information, contact Matt Turkstra at matt.turkstra@agc.org. Return to Top

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