Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org January 31, 2019
Spacer
AGC Home Page
Email our Editor
Search Back Issues
Forward to a Friend
Subscribe
Printer Friendly
AGC Political Toolkit
RSS
Take Action!
On the Inside
Safety
OSHA Rescinds Part of the Electronic Recordkeeping Rule
The Dept. of Labor (DOL) Announces Civil Penalty Adjustments for 2019
Executive Orders
President Issues Buy-American Executive Order for Infrastructure Projects
Human Resources
AGC Files Comments Supporting NLRB’s Joint-Employer Rulemaking
Government Funding
AGC Calls for Compromise on FY 2019 Government Funding
Transportation
Senate Hearing on FHWA Administrator Nominee
Tax
AGC-Backed Tax Bills Introduced
Grassroots
Schedule a Meeting with your Member of Congress
Events
WebEd: Dealing with Frivolous Underground Utility Damage Claims and Collections
Safety
OSHA Rescinds Part of the Electronic Recordkeeping Rule
In Line with AGC Recommendations
 
On Jan. 25, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published its final rule amending the recordkeeping regulation by rescinding—in line with AGC recommendations—the requirement for establishments with 250 or more employees to electronically submit information from OSHA Forms 300 (Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses) and 301 (Injuries and Illnesses Incident Report). AGC called for this amendment because (1) information in the Form 301 could lead to the public disclosure of individual employees’ identity and private health information; and (2) data included in the forms could unfairly characterize a construction contractor’s safety and health record. These establishments will continue to submit information from their OSHA Form 300A (Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses) as has been required in 2017 and 2018. 
 
For more information, please contact Kevin Cannon at (703)837-5410 or cannonk@agc.org
Return to Top
The Dept. of Labor (DOL) Announces Civil Penalty Adjustments for 2019
 
On Jan. 23, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published the annual penalty adjustments for each agency, including OSHA, as required by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act. The Inflation Adjustment Act requires the Department to annually adjust its civil money penalty levels for inflation no later than January 15 of each year. The new penalty levels will apply to penalties assessed after January 23, 2019.  The new penalties amount to an increase of approximately 2.5% over the 2018 penalty levels. The table below shows the new maximum penalties for OSHA.
 

Type of Violation

New Maximum

§ Serious

§ Other-Than-Serious

§ Posting Requirements

  

$13,260 per violation

Willful or Repeated

$132,598 per violation

 

Failure to Abate

$13,260 per day
beyond the abatement date

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
For more information, please contact Kevin Cannon at (703)837-5410 or cannonk@agc.org
 
Return to Top
Executive Orders
President Issues Buy-American Executive Order for Infrastructure Projects
 
On Jan. 31., President Trump issued the “Strengthening Buy American Preferences for Infrastructure Projects” Executive Order. The order calls on federal agencies to encourage recipients of new Federal financial assistance awards to use—to the greatest extent practicable—iron and aluminum as well as steel, cement, and other manufactured products produced in the U.S. in every contract, subcontract, purchase order, or sub-award. AGC will provide more details on this executive order after further review. 
 
For more information, contact Jimmy Christianson at christiansonj@agc.org or (703) 837-5325. 
 
Return to Top
Human Resources
AGC Files Comments Supporting NLRB’s Joint-Employer Rulemaking
 
AGC of America submitted comments supporting the National Labor Relations Board’s proposed rule on joint-employer status with certain clarifications January 28. The rule would reinstate a standard establishing joint-employer status under the National Labor Relations Act only when a company actually exercises substantial direct and immediate control over essential terms and conditions of employment of another company’s employees and does so in a manner that is not limited and routine. It would reverse the AGC-opposed Browning-Ferris Industries decision that was issued by the Obama Board in 2015 and recently upheld by a federal circuit court.
 
AGC’s comment letter supplements group comments signed onto by AGC that were filed by the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace. The group comments urge the Board to adopt the proposed rule with additional guidance to clarify the meaning of “substantial control” and relevant “essential terms and conditions of employment.”  AGC’s independent comments provide further insight into the impact of the proposed rule in the construction industry.  The letter explains how the reservation and exercise of some control by one company over another is inherent in the nature of construction projects and in well-established industry practices. “A contractor should be able to use and direct subcontractors without taking on joint-employer status as long as the contractor does not directly and excessively control essential terms and conditions of employment of the subcontractors’ employees,” AGC asserts in the letter.
 
The Board received a high volume of comments on the proposed rule during the public comment period, which is now closed. The timing of the Board’s issuance of a final rule is uncertain.  

For more information, contact Denise Gold at goldd@agc.org or (703) 837-5326. 
 
Return to Top
Government Funding
AGC Calls for Compromise on FY 2019 Government Funding
 
On Jan. 30, AGC urged members of the government funding bipartisan conference committee to reach a broad compromise and avert another government shutdown on Feb. 15. AGC recommended that a final deal should include funding and policies addressing the nation’s border security, immigration system and infrastructure needs. Specifically, components of such a deal should include an earned legal pathway toward legal status or citizenship for the 120,000 construction workers with Temporary Protected Status or in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, while also addressing border security. In addition, such a compromise should include 2018 disaster-aid infrastructure funding to help communities recover and rebuild as well as an additional $10 billion over FY 2017 levels for federal infrastructure programs as Congress promised in 2018. 
 
For more information, contact Jimmy Christianson at christiansonj@agc.org or (703) 837-5325. 
 
Return to Top
Transportation
Senate Hearing on FHWA Administrator Nominee
AGC Urges Speedy Confirmation
 
The Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee held a hearing this week to question Nicole Nason, President Trump’s nominee to be the next Federal Highway Administrator. EPW Chairman John Barasso (R-WY) opened the hearing by reading from AGC’s letter of endorsement, which called Nason a great choice to lead initiatives in improving mobility on our nation's highways and urged the Senate to quickly confirm her. 
 
Following an introduction by former Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, the majority of the questioning centered on her and the administration’s priorities for the next transportation reauthorization legislation. The FAST Act expires in 2020 and is expected to be debated this Congress. The committee’s ranking Democrat, Sen. Tom Carper (DE), pointed out the need for identifying a revenue source to fix the Highway Trust Fund, while Chairman Barasso stressed the importance of supporting the formula-based approach to distributing funds to state DOTs. Nason responded that every available tool that would result in long-term funding for infrastructure projects should be considered.
 
Committee members all pointed out Ms. Nason’s strong transportation background and voiced support for her nomination. While a committee vote on the nomination could be soon, full Senate confirmation is expected to take some time due to a backlog of other nominations awaiting final approval. AGC has already developed a working relationship with Nason in her current position as an Assistant Secretary at the State Department, which is in charge of its embassy construction program. 
 
For more information, contact Brian Deery at deeryb@agc.org or (703) 837-5319. 
Return to Top
Tax
AGC-Backed Tax Bills Introduced
Bills would Repeal Estate Tax and Make Pass-Thru Deduction Permanent
 
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA)—passed at the end of 2017—doubled the estate tax exemption from $5 million to $10 million. However, that provision expires in 2025 without further Congressional action.  Senator Thune’s legislation (which follows legislation also introduced by Rep. Jason Smith in the House) would take a step further and fully repeal the estate tax.  The TCJA also created a new 20 percent deduction for pass-through business income, but that too will expire in 2025 without further Congressional action.  The Main Street Tax Certainty Act would make this provision permanent.
 
The outlook for both bills is uncertain in this Congress. Incoming Ways and Means Committee Chairman Neal (D-MA) has said that he would like to do additional oversight the Section 199A deduction specifically, and days after Senator Thune introduced his bill to repeal the estate tax, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced legislation to increase the estate tax rate to 77 percent on estates worth over $1 Billion.  Action on either bill in the near term is unlikely.
 
For more information, contact Matt Turkstra at (202) 547-4734, or matt.turkstra@agc.org.
 
 
Return to Top
Grassroots
Schedule a Meeting with your Member of Congress
 
On February 18, the next Congressional district work week begins. During this time, AGC encourages you to meet with your Representatives and Senators to build stronger relationships and inform them about issues facing the construction industry. Meetings can include meetings in the member’s office, inviting them to a board meeting or having them tour a construction site to give them a hands-on learning experience. 
 
During these meetings, AGC encourages you to urge your member of Congress to support an infrastructure bill that creates long-term solvency of the Highway Trust Fund, encourages greater direct federal infrastructure investment and strengthens existing infrastructure tools like the Private Activity bonds. Additionally, we hope you urge your member of Congress to promote a strong workforce that ensures adequate federal funding for skills-based education programs, reforms higher education to better prepare a workforce and enact comprehensive immigration reform. For a full list of AGC’s priorities click here.
 
If you have any questions or need assistance setting up your meeting, please contact Jenni Traver at Jennifer.traver@agc.org or (703) 837-5435. 
 
Return to Top
Events
WebEd: Dealing with Frivolous Underground Utility Damage Claims and Collections
February 26, 2019 from 2:00pm to 3:00pm
 
Have you or your company ever received a claim for excavation damage to an underground utility that you weren't responsible for?
 
Register today, for this webinar which will review questionable tactics used by some facility owner/operators and their agents to collect on damages to their underground utilities and how to fight back.
 
Return to Top

AGC Townhouse, 53 D Street SE • Washington, DC 20003 • 202.547.1625 (phone) • 202.547.1635 (fax)• www.agc.org
AGC Home | About AGC | Advocacy | Industry Topics | Construction Markets | Programs & Events | Career Development | News & Media

To ensure delivery of AGC’s Construction Legislative Week in Review, please add 'communications@agc.org' to your email address book or Safe Sender List. If you are still having problems receiving our communications, visit our white-listing page for more details.

© Copyright The Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America. All Rights Reserved.