Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org April 11, 2019
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On the Inside
Infrastructure
AGC Members Meet with Top Infrastructure Republican
AGC Joins Stakeholders in Calling for Infrastructure Now
Tax and Fiscal Affairs
AGC-Backed Work Opportunity Tax Credit Bill Introduced
AGC-Supported Invest in America Act Introduced
Federal Construction
GSA Administrator Addresses Contractors at AGC Convention
Regulations
DOL Proposes Revisions to Joint Employer Regulations
Energy and Utility
President Trump Signs Executive Orders Supporting Energy Infrastructure
AGC’s Utility Infrastructure Division Presents Underground Safety and Damage Prevention Program
Environment
AGC-Backed DERA Authorization Bill Voted Out of Senate Committee
Diversity and Inclusion
AGC Announces 2019 Diversity & Inclusion Awards Winners
Infrastructure
AGC Members Meet with Top Infrastructure Republican
Executives from New England States Discuss Industry Priorities
 
On April 11, several AGC members from throughout New England met with House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-Mo.) for a Boston roundtable discussion on issues impacting the construction industry. Rep. Graves provided attendees with an update on an infrastructure package and surface transportation reauthorization AGC continues to press Congress to reauthorize the federal highway and transit programs and include a Highway Trust Fund fix in any infrastructure package considered this year.  
 
For more information, contact Sean O’Neill at oneills@agc.org.
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AGC Joins Stakeholders in Calling for Infrastructure Now
 
On April 11, AGC joined over 40 national organizations in urging the bipartisan leadership of the House Ways & Means and Transportation and Infrastructure Committees to act on and pay for a well-funded infrastructure bill.  As with similar efforts, AGC and the other stakeholders are calling on Congress to produce an infrastructure bill that responsibly deals with the nation’s infrastructure crisis.   
 
For more information, contact Sean O’Neill at oneills@agc.org.
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Tax and Fiscal Affairs
AGC-Backed Work Opportunity Tax Credit Bill Introduced
Would Permanently Extend the Tax Credit
 
On April 10, Reps. G.T. Thompson (R-Pa.), Tom Reed (R-N.Y.), Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.), Tom Rice (R-S.C.) and Tom Suozzi (D-N.Y.) introduced AGC-backed legislation to make the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) permanent. Created more than two decades ago, WOTC provides tax incentives to employers who hire certain disadvantaged groups, such as individuals dependent on public assistance, qualifying veterans, individuals with physical or mental disabilities, and the long-term unemployed. The credit enjoys broad bipartisan support but has consistently been extended in the past on a short-term basis. It is currently scheduled to expire at the end of 2019.
 
For further information, please contact Matthew Turkstra at matt.turkstra@agc.org or (202) 547-4733.
 
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AGC-Supported Invest in America Act Introduced
Could Spur Billions in Commercial Construction Investment
 
On April 10, Reps. John Larson (D-Conn.) and Kenny Marchant (R-Tex.), introduced the AGC-supported Invest in America Act (H.R. 2210), which would repeal a decades-old tax provision that artificially limits foreign investment in the United States. By some estimates, enacting this legislation would result in $65 to $125 billion in increased infrastructure and real estate investment, and 150,000 to 280,000 construction and construction-related jobs.  
 
Originally created in 1980, the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act (FIRPTA) imposes U.S. tax on gain realized by a foreign investor on the disposition of an “interest” in U.S. real property. As a result, the FIRPTA tax can subject foreign investment in U.S. real estate and infrastructure (including some interests in public-private partnerships) to a much higher tax burden than applies to a foreign investor purchasing a U.S. stock or bond, or an investment in any other asset class.
 
For further information, please contact Matthew Turkstra at matt.turkstra@agc.org or (202) 547-4733.
 
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Federal Construction
GSA Administrator Addresses Contractors at AGC Convention
Followed by Joint GSA-Contractor Presentation
 
On April 2, General Services Administration (GSA) Administrator Emily Murphy headlined the AGC Federal and Heavy Construction Division Session at AGC’s 100th Annual Convention in Denver, Colorado.  Administrator Murphy spoke about the value of AGC’s partnership during her time working on congressional committees and now at GSA Headquarters.  She leads a staff of more than 11,000 employees nationwide and approximately $55 billion in annual contracts. Following Administrator Murphy’s remarks was a presentation reviewing the recently completed Laredo Land Port of Entry project by GSA and Brasfield & Gorrie, LLC. 
 
The presentation by GSA’s Raul Moreno and Brasfield & Gorrie’s Jason Hard and Robert Hammack presented a recent successful federal construction project – the $100M Laredo, Texas Land Port of Entry. The presenters discussed how partnering between the agencies and contractors helped the project overcome complex logistics and security concerns.  
 
For more information, contact Jordan Howard at jordan.howard@agc.org or (703) 837-5368.
 
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Regulations
DOL Proposes Revisions to Joint Employer Regulations
 
On April 1, the U. S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) unveiled a proposed rule to revise and clarify the responsibilities of employers and joint employers to employees in joint employer arrangements. This proposal intends to ensure employers and joint employers clearly understand their responsibilities to pay at least the federal minimum wage for all hours worked and overtime for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek. 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.
 
The Department now proposes a four-factor test - based on court-established precedent - that would consider whether the potential joint employer actually exercises the power to:
  • Hire or fire the employee;
  • Supervise and control the employee's work schedules or conditions of employment;
  • Determine the employee's rate and method of payment; and
  • Maintain the employee's employment records.
The proposal also includes a set of joint employment examples for comment to further assist in clarifying joint employer status. In 2017, the DOL withdrew—in line with AGC recommendations—the previous administration’s sub-regulatory guidance regarding joint employer status.
 
For more information, contact Claiborne Guy at claiborne.guy@agc.org or 703-837-5382.
 
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Energy and Utility
President Trump Signs Executive Orders Supporting Energy Infrastructure
 
On April 10, President Trump signed two executive orders supporting the development of energy infrastructure. The orders seek to address lengthy permitting delays that can impede construction. The first order removes barriers to pipeline construction, provides incentives for private investment in energy infrastructure and updates transport regulations to allow shipment of liquified natural gas by rail. The second order provides the president with sole authority to grant permits for pipelines to cross U.S. borders with Canada and Mexico, with advice from the State Department. AGC continues to support efforts to streamline federal permitting processes. 
 
For more information, contact Allen Gray at allen.gray@agc.org or (703) 837-5321.
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AGC’s Utility Infrastructure Division Presents Underground Safety and Damage Prevention Program
 
The AGC’s Utility Infrastructure Division (UID) unveiled its white paper addressing underground utility safety and damage prevention during AGC’s Annual Convention on April 3. The white paper lays out key elements of an effective excavation safety program that when included in an overall safety package will help keep facility damages to a minimum and maintain a record of the circumstances surrounding a damage; particularly, which party in the 811 process is liable for a damage. The program is based on Common Ground Alliance (CGA) Best Practices and AGC’s expertise and resources.
 
The program will also help deal with the practice of aggressive billing by facility owner/operators (O/O’s). Aggressive billing is when O/O’s and their collection agents file a claim against contractors for damaging their facilities whether the excavators is at fault or not.  These claims are often filed years after a damage has occurred and the contractor has no record of the event and/or if it happened at all.
 
For more information, contact Allen Gray at allen.gray@agc.org or (703) 837-5321.
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Environment
AGC-Backed DERA Authorization Bill Voted Out of Senate Committee
Would Annually Provide $100M in Grants for Diesel Retrofits
 
On April 10, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works voted overwhelmingly to advance a bipartisan AGC-backed bill to reauthorize the Diesel Emissions Reductions Act (DERA) program. The bill would provide $100 million annually through fiscal year 2024 for grants and rebates to states and localities to upgrade or replace older diesel engines, including off-road construction equipment. AGC chapters – working with AGC of America – have won millions in federal funds to support AGC members’ voluntary retrofit projects, in addition to leveraging millions more in matching and in-kind contributions to help their members afford the high cost of reducing emissions from construction equipment.
 
AGC will continue to work with Congress and the administration to ensure they recognize the importance of the DERA program and they provide greater financial assistance to the many equipment owner who seek a fair and effective way to reduce emissions from existing fleets of off-road equipment.
 
For more information, contact Sean O’Neill at oneills@agc.org.
 
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Diversity and Inclusion
AGC Announces 2019 Diversity & Inclusion Awards Winners
 
AGC announced the six winners of the 2019 Diversity & Inclusion Awards program on April 2 during its annual Convention in Denver, Colorado. Ujamaa Construction of Chicago, Illinois was named as the 2019 Diverse Business of the Year award winner. Austin Commercial, based in the Texas state capitol, won the Diversity & Inclusion Excellence Award for a large contractor. The Diversity & Inclusion Excellence Award for a mid-sized contractor went to Shoemaker Construction in West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania. The Diversity & Inclusion Excellence Award for a small contractor went to Central Builders in San Antonio, Texas. The Diversity and Inclusion Excellence Award for a service or supply firm went to United Rentals. And the Diversity & Inclusion Chapter Award went to the AGC of Missouri. 
 
"These awards recognize firms that have established outstanding programs that have helped make the construction industry a more diverse, inclusive, and better sector in which to work," said Eddie Stewart, the association’s president and president and chief executive officer of Caddell Construction in Montgomery, Ala. “By making our industry more diverse, we can solve a lot of our workforce challenges, and become a better, safer and stronger industry.”
 
For more information about the AGC Diversity & Inclusion Awards, please click here or contact Brynn Huneke at brynn.huneke@agc.org.
 
 
 
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