Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org March 28, 2019
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On the Inside
Labor
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AGC-Backed Legislation Addressing Government-Mandated PLAs Introduced
DOL Proposes Update to Regular Rate of Pay Regulations
Tax & Fiscal Affairs
AGC-Supported Bill Introduced to Fix “Retail Glitch”
Infrastructure
AGC Weighs-In Supporting Increased Airport Infrastructure Funding
Nason Approved as FHWA Administrator
Events
GSA Administrator to Speak at AGC Convention
Resources
Constructor Cast: Advancing Your Career
Labor
TAKE ACTION
Multiemployer Pensions: Support Composite Plans
 
The nation’s multiemployer pension plan system is facing a crisis. Various measures have been proposed to address the severe underfunding of these plans as well as the federal agency serving as their financial backstop - the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. However, one pension reform policy that should be enacted immediately is the authorization of composite plans. Follow the link to contact your U.S. Representative and Senators and urge them to support legislation on composite plans. 
 
A composite plan is a hybrid between a traditional defined contribution and a defined benefit plan. Composite plan legislation would be beneficial to the construction industry because:
  • The plan design would protect retirement savings from market downturns or other unforeseen circumstances;
  • These plans provide lifetime income to participants and give employers certainty as to how much they must contribute to the plans; and
  • The plan design is tried, true, and trusted. In fact, a similar, successful model is utilized in Canada.
For more information, contact James Young at youngj@agc.org
 
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AGC-Backed Legislation Addressing Government-Mandated PLAs Introduced
Would Establish Government Neutrality in Federal and Federally-Assisted Contracts
 
During the week of March 25, U.S. Sens. Todd Young (R-Ind.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.), and Reps. Ted Budd (R-N.C.) and Francis Rooney (R-Fla.) introduced legislation (S. 907 and H.R. 1858) that falls in line with AGC’s long standing position on government-mandated project labor agreements. That position is that AGC neither supports nor opposes contractors’ voluntary use of PLAs on government projects, but strongly opposes any government-mandate for contractors’ use of PLAs. To view more details on AGC efforts opposing government mandated PLAs, click here.
 
For more information, contact James Young at youngj@agc.org
 
 
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DOL Proposes Update to Regular Rate of Pay Regulations
Part of Updating Overtime Rules
 
On March 28, the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) unveiled a proposed rule that would update the regulations governing regular rate requirements for the first time in more than 50 years. Regular rate requirements define what forms of payment employers include and exclude in the "time and one-half" calculation when determining workers' overtime rates. The proposed rule focuses primarily on clarifying whether certain kinds of perks, benefits, or other miscellaneous items must be included in the regular rate. AGC will provide input to the DOL on the impact this update might have on the construction industry and will notify members of any developments.
 
Specifically, the proposed rule includes clarifications to confirm that employers may exclude the following from an employee's regular rate of pay:
  • The cost of providing wellness programs, onsite specialist treatment, gym access and fitness classes, and employee discounts on retail goods and services;
  • Payments for unused paid leave, including paid sick leave;
  • Reimbursed expenses, even if not incurred "solely" for the employer's benefit;
  • Reimbursed travel expenses that do not exceed the maximum travel reimbursement under the Federal Travel Regulation System and that satisfy other regulatory requirements;
  • Discretionary bonuses, by providing additional examples and clarifying that the label given a bonus does not determine whether it is discretionary;
  • Benefit plans, including accident, unemployment, and legal services; and
  • Tuition programs, such as reimbursement programs or repayment of educational debt.
The proposed rule also includes additional clarification about other forms of compensation, including payment for meal periods, "call back" pay, and others.
 
For more information, contact Claiborne Guy at claiborne.guy@agc.org or 703-837-5382.
 
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Tax & Fiscal Affairs
AGC-Supported Bill Introduced to Fix “Retail Glitch”
Would Help Retail, Restaurant Renovation Projects
 
On March 25, a bipartisan group of members of the House of Representatives – led by Reps. Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.) and Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.)— introduced AGC-supported legislation to correct a drafting error from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA, the 2017 tax reform law), that inadvertently extended the depreciation schedule for interior improvements to commercial properties from 15 years to 39 years. This legislation mirrors legislation already introduced by Senators Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Doug Jones (D-AL).  AGC has heard from many contractors and service providers that this error is materially impacting construction projects across the country, forcing building owners to delay or reconsider projects.
 
Prior to passage of TCJA, any interior improvements to commercial properties (designated in the tax code as “restaurant, retail and leasehold improvements”) could be depreciated over 15 years.  The TCJA included a provision that sought to simplify this section of the code by consolidating multiple classes of infrastructure eligible for the 15-year depreciation schedule into a new definition, called “qualified improvement property” or QIP.  
 
Additionally, under this section of the Internal Revenue Code, QIP was intended to be eligible for temporary 100 percent bonus depreciation, thus allowing these commercial improvements to be expensed in one year until the temporary full expensing expires in 2023.  However, due to a drafting error, the TCJA inadvertently changed QIP’s depreciation schedule from 15 years to 39 years.  This is a substantial change, and significantly affects cost-recovery and must be addressed to help many of these construction improvement projects get back on track.   
 
With bipartisan legislation introduced to “fix the glitch” in both the House and Senate, AGC is hopeful that this error can be corrected this year.
 
For more information, contact Matt Turkstra at matthew.turkstra@agc.org
 
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Infrastructure
AGC Weighs-In Supporting Increased Airport Infrastructure Funding
 
On March 26, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee held a hearing focused on the chronic underinvestment in our nation’s airports and potential solutions. Prior to the hearing AGC urged support for increasing airport infrastructure, including increasing the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC).  The PFC is a local airport user fee used for airport facility expansion and renovation that has a federally mandated cap on how high an airport can set the fee. Raising or eliminating the cap on the PFC will allow local airports to meet there short and long-term infrastructure needs. AGC is a proud member of the Beyond the Runway Coalition and will continue to work with our partners for increased airport infrastructure funding. 
 
For more information, contact Sean O’Neill at oneills@agc.org
 
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Nason Approved as FHWA Administrator
 
On March 28, by a vote of 95-1, the Senate approved AGC-supported nominee Nicole Nason to serve as the 26th Federal Highway Administrator. Nason has a strong background in transportation having served as the Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NTSHA) in the George W. Bush Administration. She also served as an assistant secretary at U.S. DOT and worked on SAFETEA-LU transportation authorization legislation. AGC met with Nason several times in her prior Trump administration position of Assistant Secretary of State to discuss U.S. embassy construction issues. The FHWA Administrator position has been vacant for the past two years as President Trump’s original nominee withdrew from consideration.
 
Brandye Hendrickson, FHWA Deputy Administrator, has been leading the agency since. Ms. Hendrickson will address AGC’s Highway and Transportation Division on April 2 during AGC’s 100th Convention in Denver. AGC pressed the Senate to support Nason’s nomination. 
 
For more information, contact Brian Deery at deeryb@agc.org
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Events
GSA Administrator to Speak at AGC Convention
Headlines Federal Contractors Session on April 2
 
General Services Administration (GSA) Emily Murphy will headline the Federal and Heavy Construction Division Session (April 2 at 9:00 am MT) at AGC’s 100th Annual Convention taking place on April 1 - 4, 2019 in Denver, Colorado.  Administrator Murphy leads a staff of more than 11,000 employees nationwide, overseeing approximately 368 million square feet of property, and approximately $55 billion in annual contracts.  Following Administrator Murphy’s remarks there will be a presentation on the recent Laredo Land Port of Entry project by GSA and Brasfield & Gorrie, LLC.
 
For more information on the AGC convention, including registration, click this link.
 
For more information, contact Jordan Howard at jordan.howard@agc.org or (703) 837-5368.
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Resources
Constructor Cast: Advancing Your Career
 
From college students to CEO opportunities, AGC assists all levels of construction professionals in advancing their career. This episode of the AGC Constructor Cast will help guide listeners in ways to advancing their construction careers with scholarships, courses, and peer-to-peer knowledge exchanges.
 
To access this episode, click here. 
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