Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org May 23, 2019
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On the Inside
Infrastructure
AGC Continues to Push for Infrastructure Package despite Political Setback
Construction Funding
Senate to Pass Another Disaster Aid Bill
Human Resources
Congress Passes Legislation Improving Employer Retirement Plan Options
Regulatory
AGC Supports DOLís Reasonable Update to Overtime Ruleís Salary Threshold
International Trade
Steel and Aluminum Tariffs on Canada and Mexico Removed
Events
Register Now for the Federal Contractors Conference
Register for the Summer Financial Issues Committee Meeting
Register for the 2019 Safety, Health & Environmental Conference
Infrastructure
AGC Continues to Push for Infrastructure Package despite Political Setback
 
While the planned May 22 meeting among President Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer did not produce meaningful progress on the proposed $2 trillion infrastructure plan, AGC will continue to advocate for needed investment in our nation’s infrastructure. After the meeting, AGC of America CEO Stephen Sandherr called on the president and congressional leaders to set aside their political differences and return to the negotiating table to get an infrastructure bill done. Addressing the country’s critical infrastructure needs will remain a top-line priority for AGC and we encourage you to tell the President, your representative, and senators that infrastructure is too important of an issue to be derailed by partisanship.   
 
For more information, please contact Sean O’Neill at oneills@agc.org.
 
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Construction Funding
Senate to Pass Another Disaster Aid Bill
About $19 Billion for Recovery Efforts
 
As of the afternoon of May 23, the Senate is expected to pass the AGC-supported disaster aid package, H.R. 2157, that would provide roughly $19 billion in emergency supplemental funding. The bill would provide rebuilding and recovery aid for areas of the country affected by the natural disasters of 2018 and 2019.  AGC previously reported that House and Senate negotiators failed to include disaster aid in the compromised funding bill for FY 2019. The House is expected to follow the Senate and pass the disaster supplemental funding.
 
For more information, contact Jordan Howard at jordan.howard@agc.org or (703) 837-5368.
 
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Human Resources
Congress Passes Legislation Improving Employer Retirement Plan Options
 
On May 23, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R.1994, the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019 (SECURE Act). This AGC-backed bipartisan legislation expands retirement opportunities and improves the portability of retirement plans from one plan to another. A number of AGC Chapters across the country have recognized the need to offer retirement options to employers wanting to retain and recruit workers. 
 
Due to the significant financial and administrative burdens involved with implementing and maintaining employee retirement plans, AGC applauds the effort in this bill to increase coverage through expanding access to Multiple Employer Plans. Among other benefits the SECURE Act provides include promoting efficiency and greater participation in the system by providing relief from the “one bad apple” rule, which gives joint liability for the qualification failures of every other employer in a plan and establishing a new tax credit for employers to start retirement plans. The legislation also aims to address the growing workforce shortage by allowing tax-free distributions from 529 plans for certain apprenticeship programs.
 
For more information, please contact Jim Young at youngj@agc.org or (202) 547-0133.
 
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Regulatory
AGC Supports DOLís Reasonable Update to Overtime Ruleís Salary Threshold
 
On May 21, AGC submitted comments to the U. S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) in response to a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) updating the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime regulations. In line with AGC’s recommendations to the WHD, this NPRM is the second step the DOL is undertaking to revisit the Obama administration overtime rule that dramatically increased the salary threshold for exempt employees and would have resulted in unintended consequences, particularly for small construction companies construction employers in lower-wage regions, and construction personnel. In contrast to the Obama rule, this new proposal would simply update the salary threshold using current wage data, projected to January 1, 2020. The result would boost the standard salary threshold for exempt employees from $455 to $679 per week (equivalent to $35,308 per year).
 
AGC’s comment letter supports and agrees with the Department’s decision that the appropriate methodology for determining the salary threshold is the same methodology used by the Department in 2004, while keeping most other factors status quo. AGC believes that setting a single salary threshold remains the simplest methodology to establish a reasonable level of a “screening” salary for the exemption and makes sense for employers nationwide, including those in lower-cost, lower-wage regions, allowing the economic market conditions to prevail in higher-cost, higher-wage regions. By keeping the methodology consistent with the historical methods and not making any other changes (e.g. multiple salary levels, changes to the duties test) the possibilities of new disruptions, confusion and litigation will be greatly reduced.
 
AGC will continue to provide input to the DOL on the impact further changes might have on the construction industry and will notify members of any developments.   
 
For more information, contact Claiborne Guy at claiborne.guy@agc.org or 703-837-5382.
 
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International Trade
Steel and Aluminum Tariffs on Canada and Mexico Removed
 
On May 17, the Trump administration reached an agreement to lift import tariffs on steel and aluminum products from Canada and Mexico—as AGC previously recommended—in favor of stronger enforcement actions on the newly-negotiated U.S. Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA). In turn, Canada will lift retaliatory duties on U.S. products as part of the deal. AGC applauds this move as it is a positive step both for the construction industry and the economy at large. For a full run-down of all construction industry-related trade actions under the Trump administration, click here.
 
For more information, contact Cory Gattie at cory.gattie@agc.org or (202) 547-4685.
 
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Events
Register Now for the Federal Contractors Conference
June 10-12, 2019
 
Register today for the 2019 AGC Federal Contractors Conference taking place June 10-12, 2019 in Washington, D.C. The Federal Contractors Conference is the premier conference for federal construction contractors to discuss the latest projects, policies and contracting issues facing the industry with federal agencies, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Naval Facility Engineering Command, Air Force Civil Engineer Center, General Services Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of State, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Bureau of Reclamation.
 
In addition to substantive discussions and presentations with federal agencies, attendees will hear from legal experts about the latest federal regulations that will impact their businesses and may have the opportunity to continue a dialogue with federal agencies after the conference. Leading federal construction attorneys will address executive orders, Small Business Administration and Federal Acquisition Regulation rules, and case law trends your company needs to know to work in the federal market. And, when the conference concludes, AGC member attendees will have the opportunity to participate in ongoing dialogue and meetings with agency headquarters later in the year.
 
For more information and to register, go to http://meetings.agc.org/Fedcon/
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Register for the Summer Financial Issues Committee Meeting
June 10 - 11, 2019 | Washington, D.C.
 
Register today for the summer AGC Financial Issues Committee Conference is open. The meeting will take place June 10-11 at the Ritz-Carlton in Washington, D.C. Further details can be found on the website, which can be found here. Geared toward member company CFOs, Controllers, Tax Directors, Sureties and other senior accounting professionals – learn from practitioners, formulate positions on matters affecting the industry, talk with FASB and lawmakers, as well as network with peers. 
 
For more information, contact Matt Turkstra at matt.turkstra@agc.org or (202) 547-4733.
 
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Register for the 2019 Safety, Health & Environmental Conference
July 23 - 25, 2019 | Seattle, WA
 
Join more than 300 construction safety, health, and environmental professionals at the AGC Safety, Health & Environmental Conference taking place July 23 – 25, 2019 in Seattle, WA. This conference is the industry's foremost annual conference to hone in on the most critical safety, health, and environmental compliance and risk issues impacting the business of construction. Whether your goal is protecting the safety and health of the men and women working in construction or protecting the environment during the construction process – this is the conference for you. Stay current on the latest issues through a mixture of plenary and breakout sessions. Learn more about the conference today
 
For more information, please contact Kevin Cannon at cannonk@agc.org.
 
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