Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org October 4, 2018
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On the Inside
Transportation
Senate Passes Five-Year FAA Reauthorization
Safety
U.S. DOL/OSHA Updates National Emphasis Program on Trenching and Excavation Safety
Willis Towers Watson Construction Safety Excellence Awards
AGC Receives Susan Harwood Training Grant
Tax
AGC Submits Comments on Proposed Treasury Regulations for 20 Percent Pass-Through Business Deduction
Labor
AGC Joins Stakeholders in Letter to Congressional Pension Committee Outlining Priorities for Reform
Transportation
Senate Passes Five-Year FAA Reauthorization
Bill Headed to President; Includes AGC-Championed DBE Reform
 

On Oct. 3, the Senate passed the longest reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) since 1982 by a vote of 93-6. While AGC supports the legislation – as it included a provision championed by AGC that would adjust the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) size standard from $23.98 million to $36.5 million –disappoint remains in that the legislation did not provide a significant funding increase for airport infrastructure.

The bill provides five years of funding certainty for the Airport Improvement Program (AIP); however, it does not raise the funding level for the AIP and instead maintains inadequate, status quo funding levels at $3.35 billion annually through fiscal year 2023. AGC is also disappointed that the bill fails to generate additional infrastructure revenues through an increase in the passenger facility charge (PFC), a user fee that has not increased since 2001. PFC funds help finance scores of airport infrastructure projects including terminal construction, airport roadway and transit expansion, and noise mitigation projects, among others. 

Other provisions supported by AGC include language that encourages the FAA to develop rules addressing integrating Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) safely into the national airspace in a manner that will speed the creative use of UAS in construction operations. AGC also supports disaster relief provisions in the bill that will provide meaningful reforms to improve pre-disaster planning and mitigation while providing incentives for building and rebuilding infrastructure to mitigate damages from future disasters.

The President will sign the bill prior to the expiration of the short-term extension on October 7.

For additional information, please contact Sean O’Neill, Senior Director, Vice President, Congressional Relations, Infrastructure Advancement at oneills@agc.org, or (202) 547-8992. Return to Top

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Safety
U.S. DOL/OSHA Updates National Emphasis Program on Trenching and Excavation Safety
 

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has updated the National Emphasis Program (NEP) on preventing trenching and excavation collapses in response to a recent spike in trenching fatalities. OSHA's NEP will increase education and enforcement efforts while its inspectors will record trenching and excavation inspections in a national reporting system, and each area OSHA office will develop outreach programs.


The emphasis program began October 1, 2018, with a three-month period of education and prevention outreach. During this period, OSHA will continue to respond to complaints, referrals, hospitalizations, and fatalities. Enforcement activities will begin after the outreach period and remain in effect until canceled. OSHA-approved State Plans are expected to have enforcement procedures that are at least as effective as those in the updated NEP. OSHA has developed a series of compliance assistance resources to help educate contractors and to keep workers safe from trenching and excavation hazards. The trenching and excavation webpage provides information on trenching hazards and solutions.


For additional information, please contact Kevin Cannon, Senior Director of Safety & Health Services, at cannonk@agc.org, or (703) 837-5410. Return to Top

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Willis Towers Watson Construction Safety Excellence Awards
Sponsored by Willis Towers Watson
 

The purpose of the CSEA is to recognize those construction companies who excel at safety performance. CSEA will closely examine each candidate's commitment to safety and occupational health management and risk control. Unlike other safety award program that limits the criteria to frequency rates, the CSEA selection process is considerably more comprehensive. Each application will be reviewed for evidence of:

  • Company management commitment
  • Active employee participation
  • Safety training
  • Work site hazard identification and control
  • Safety program innovation

Participants will be required to complete the application forms and submit them directly to AGC of America or through their local AGC Chapter. Members of the AGC Safety & Health Committee will review the submittals at the January conference each year. Then, the finalists in each divisional category will compete at the AGC National Convention for either a 1st, 2nd or 3rd place award. Finalists will have an opportunity to give an oral presentation in front of five judges. The first, second and third place awards will be determined after oral presentations. The winners will be announced at the Willis Safety Awards Breakfast during the AGC Annual Convention.

CSEA Application Form

The 2019 Construction Safety Excellence Awards competition is now open. Click here for the application. You will be directed to Formsite, our application platform. To access the application, you will be asked to create an account. Applications are due on Friday, December 14, 2018.


For additional information, please contact Nazia Shah, Associate Director of Safety & Health Services, at nazia.shah@agc.org, or (703) 837-5409. Return to Top

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AGC Receives Susan Harwood Training Grant
 

OSHA has awarded $9.3 million in one-year federal safety and health training grants to 74 nonprofit organizations nationwide, including AGC of America. The grants will provide educational and training programs to help employees and employers recognize serious workplace hazards, implement injury prevention measures, and understand their rights and responsibilities. The association, granted approximately $150,000, will provide 7.5 hours of fall prevention in construction training to 450 construction workers. Training will be offered in English and Spanish.

For additional information, please contact Nazia Shah, Associate Director of Safety & Health Services, at nazia.shah@agc.org, or (703) 837-5409. Return to Top

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Tax
AGC Submits Comments on Proposed Treasury Regulations for 20 Percent Pass-Through Business Deduction
 

On Aug. 16, the Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service published proposed regulations on the 20 percent pass-through deduction enacted in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the tax cuts/reform legislation passed in Dec. 2017). AGC staff consulted with the Financial Issues Committee, and submitted comments to Treasury on Monday applauding some of the decisions in the proposed regulations, and calling for changes in others.

Specifically, AGC, applauded Treasury’s general approach to the regulations, and exclusion of construction from the definition of “specified service trade or businesses”. AGC also suggested some changes, including about how Treasury defines “trade or business” in the regulations, and suggested changes to their proposal on dealing with independent contractors.

AGC also provided input and comments to a number of coalition partners, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the S-Corporation Association, the Parity for Main Street Employers Coalition, and the Real Estate Roundtable, that also submitted comments on the proposed regulations.

One of the most significant provisions of the new tax reform law is the inclusion of a new 20 percent deduction for the owners of pass-through businesses. AGC strongly supported this provision to ensure that the owners of pass-throughs received tax relief relative to businesses organized as C-Corporations, whose tax rate fell to 21 percent. While the legislation laid out the broad outlines of the deduction, as well as certain “guardrails” to prevent certain businesses from claiming the deduction, or preventing fraud and abuse, further guidance—i.e., this regulation—was needed from Treasury to actualize the deduction from concept to reality.

For additional information, please contact Matthew Turkstra, Director of Tax, Fiscal Affairs, and Accounting, at matt.turkstra@agc.org, or (202) 547-4733. Return to Top

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Labor
AGC Joins Stakeholders in Letter to Congressional Pension Committee Outlining Priorities for Reform
 

The Joint Select Committee on Solvency of Multiemployer Solvency of Multiemployer Pension Plans (JSC) is working on a legislative framework for addressing the multiemployer pension crisis. The committee has concluded its scheduled public hearings and submissions for public stakeholder input ended earlier this week. The committee has spent considerable time focusing on the solvency of large distressed plans and the financial solvency of the Pension Benefit Corporation. However, the committee has spent less time examining the impact on reform changes to healthy plans or creating a framework for a future, sustainable retirement plans in the future, such as the composite plans.

Ahead of the committee’s deadline AGC joined a broad group of employers and employer organizations in a letter detailing the need for a comprehensive solution to the crisis. The priorities listed in the letter include support for composite plans, loans for plans otherwise headed to insolvency and opposition to changes to funding rules or premium or other contribution increases. The committee is expected to consider the proposal in earnest after the election and possibly consider a legislative package before the end of the year.

For additional information, please contact Jim Young, Senior Director, Congressional Relations- Labor, HR and Safety at youngj@agc.org, or (202) 547-0133. Return to Top

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