Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org August 2, 2018
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On the Inside
FEDERAL CONTRACTING
AGC-Backed Change Order Bill to Become Law
SAFETY
OSHA Proposes to Revise its 2016 Electronic Recordkeeping Rule
HIGHWAY/TRANSPORTATION
Urge Support for House Transportation Committee Infrastructure Plan
Senate Passes Funding Bill Impacting Transportation and Water Infrastructure Projects
ENVIRONMENT
2016 Mitigation Policies That Went Beyond the Law Withdrawn
EPA Administrator Commits to Reviewing EPA’s 404 Permit Veto Authority
LABOR/HR
OFCCP Releases New Guidance Outlining Expectations and Promising Collaboration
AGC EVENTS & AWARDS
Showcase Your Company’s Commitment to Diversity & Inclusion
Register Now for the 2018 AGC Construction HR and Training Professionals Conference
Join Us at the Next AGC/CFMA Construction Financial Management Conference
Advanced Safety Management Training Course
FEDERAL CONTRACTING
AGC-Backed Change Order Bill to Become Law
Congress Passes the National Defense Authorization Act
 

On August 1, the Senate passed the fiscal year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act by a vote of 87-10, sending the defense bill to the president to sign into law. The bill includes the AGC-backed bipartisan legislation requiring federal agencies to publish their change orders policy and procedures on any small federal construction contract (see Sec. 855 of conference report). This legislation provides prospective federal construction contractors with the information they need to factor into their bids and offers the risk and resulting cost of delayed payment for change.  Once signed into law, the changes will need to go through the rulemaking processes.

Some other notable provisions in the bill that are important to AGC members include:

  • Sec. 816 - Inclusion of best available information regarding past performance of subcontractors and joint venture partners.  This section allows for past performance ratings for each partner of a joint venture when awarding Department of Defense contracts.
  • Sec. 880 - Use of lowest price technically acceptable source selection process.  This section further limits federal agencies from using this process and requires agencies to adequately describe the minimum requirements for what amounts to “technically acceptable” in the procurement.
  • Sec. 878 - Procurement administrative lead time definition and plan.  Requires a government-wide definition of Procurement Administrative Lead Time (PALT) and requires federal agencies to work with the Department of Defense and the General Services Administration to develop a plan for measuring and reporting on PALT. 
  • Sec. 933, 934, 936 – Expediting the backlog of Security Clearances.  These provisions are designed to expediate the backlog of nearly 700,000 background investigations and security clearances for agency and contract personnel.  It will also require regular and transparent reports on the progress of these investigations.

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

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SAFETY
OSHA Proposes to Revise its 2016 Electronic Recordkeeping Rule
Would Rescind E-Submittal of OSHA Forms 300 and 301
 

On July 27, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking to amend the 2016 recordkeeping rule. This proposal would rescind a requirement that contractors with 250 or more employees electronically submit detailed information from their OSHA Forms 300 (Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses) and 301 (Injury and Illness Incident Report), a requirement from which smaller contractors were already exempted.

OSHA cited the need to protect sensitive worker information from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the cost to the agency to collect and utilize the information, and the burden on contractors to comply with the current rule as justification for the proposed amendments. 

What the proposal does not address are the anti-retaliation interpretations related to safety incentive programs, disciplinary programs, and post-incident drug testing policies. These interpretations continue to be of concern and AGC will again submit comments strongly recommending the agency reconsider their position. 

For more information please contact Kevin Cannon at (703) 837-5410 or cannonk@agc.org Return to Top

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HIGHWAY/TRANSPORTATION
Urge Support for House Transportation Committee Infrastructure Plan
Plan Would Help Solvency of Highway Trust Fund and More
 

On July 23, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster released  draft legislation to make significant investments in our nation's infrastructure. Whether or not this proposal is successful depends upon you, and other construction industry professionals, collectively calling upon your federally elected officials to put partisanship aside and do what is right for our nation. Contact your U.S. representative so that they can hear YOUR voice and understand that investing in and improving our nation’s infrastructure helps America prosper.

The plan calls for investing a significant sum in America's aging and over-burdened infrastructure, streamlining the federal environmental permit and review processes to help deliver needed projects faster, calling for long-term solutions to funding existing federal infrastructure programs, including the Highway Trust Fund and the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund. For more details, click here.

For more information, contact Sean O’Neill at oneills@agc.org or (202) 547-8892. Return to Top

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Senate Passes Funding Bill Impacting Transportation and Water Infrastructure Projects
Many Construction Accounts Would See Increased Funding Levels
 

Prior to leaving for a two-week recess, the Senate overwhelmingly passed a package containing funding for federal programs impacting highway and transit as well as drinking water and waste water construction projects, among other things.  House and Senate leaders intend to finalize funding for these programs and send a bill to the president for signature prior to the end of the fiscal year on September 30.  

Of particular note to AGC members, the bill would provide significant increases in funding for federal highway and transit programs. Highway formula funding would see a jump of 7.4 percent over FAST Act levels and transit capital grants would be increased by 10.8 percent. The bill directs $800 million of the highway formula money to a rural bridge program that was first created in the fiscal year 2018 funding bill. In addition, the bill allocates more funding for the Build (TIGER) grant program and the Airport Improvement Program.

The bill would also increase funding for Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds, the total of which is set at $2.86 billion. Additionally, the bill would provide $63 million for the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program and $50 million for the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) grant program. Lastly, the bill would allocate level funding for the Rural Utilities Service, Water and Waste Disposal Program of $1.25 billion.

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

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ENVIRONMENT
2016 Mitigation Policies That Went Beyond the Law Withdrawn
 

In line with an AGC recommendation, on July 27 the Fish and Wildlife Service withdrew two policies from 2016 regarding mitigation and Endangered Species Act compensatory mitigation — indicating that the Service lacks the authority to require the "net conservation gain" goal that underpinned the policies.  AGC submitted comments to the Service earlier this year on these policies and urged the Fish and Wildlife Serve to remove the net gain goal, stating that it goes above and beyond the law. 

The goal blurred the lines between requirement and recommendation, and construction projects already address species and habitat concerns at great cost. 

In related news, the Bureau of Land Management also recently changed its policy and will now cease requiring compensatory mitigation from public land users, except where specifically required by law.

For more information, contact Melinda Tomaino at tomainom@agc.org or (703) 837-5415 Return to Top

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EPA Administrator Commits to Reviewing EPA’s 404 Permit Veto Authority
 

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler faced members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee at a hearing on Aug. 1 regarding EPA’s agenda.  Of particular interest to AGC members, Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.) questioned Wheeler on whether he would move forward on a June 27 memo from then-Administrator Pruitt that sought to reorient “the agency’s approach to when and how it would veto Clean Water Act Section 404 permits issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.”  Wheeler acknowledged the uncertainty that EPA’s veto authority introduces to infrastructure projects and indicated the agency would be “looking into it.”

For more information, contact Melinda Tomaino at tomainom@agc.org or (703) 837-5415 Return to Top

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LABOR/HR
OFCCP Releases New Guidance Outlining Expectations and Promising Collaboration
 

On August 1, the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) released a set of practical expectations for contractors undergoing an audit or otherwise interacting with the agency.  Under this new guidance, federal contractors will have opportunities to provide input on training and additional compliance assistance, see a response time of three-to-four business days on inquiries, and get feedback on ongoing investigations.

The document, “What Contractors Can Expect”, sets out a commitment from OFCCP that “Contractors seeking OFCCP’s assistance with satisfying their nondiscrimination and equal employment opportunity obligations can expect clear, accurate, and professional interactions with OFCCP’s staff.” 

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

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AGC EVENTS & AWARDS
Showcase Your Company’s Commitment to Diversity & Inclusion
Apply for AGC’s Diversity & Inclusion Awards by October 15
 

AGC of America is now accepting applications for its 2019 AGC Diversity & Inclusion Awards program. AGC will present a total of six awards in three award categories: 1) Diverse Business of the Year, 2) Diversity & Inclusion Excellence Awards, and 3) Chapter Diversity & Inclusion 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 October 15, 2018. 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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Register Now for the 2018 AGC Construction HR and Training Professionals Conference
Early Bird Rate End August 14
 

Each October, construction industry professionals in HR, training and workforce development gear up for the industry’s premier learning and networking event, AGC’s Construction HR & Training Professionals Conference, and this year is no different.  The 2018 event will be held October 10-12, at The Worthington Renaissance Forth Worth Hotel, 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.

This year’s Conference will kick-off on the afternoon of Oct. 10 with a pre-conference Federal Construction HR Workshop.  Designed to help staff responsible for compliance on federal and federally assisted projects, the workshop provides practical information and best-practice advice from experts and peers experienced in the area.  Return to Top

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Join Us at the Next AGC/CFMA Construction Financial Management Conference
Early Bird Rate Ends August 17
 

Jointly sponsored by AGC and CFMA, the 22nd Annual AGC/CFMA Construction Financial Management Conference will be held Oct. 24-26 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 continuing professional education (CPE) credits.   Return to Top

Advanced Safety Management Training Course
October 17-19 in Arlington, VA, Just a Few Seats Left!
 

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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