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The people I've met through AGC have helped me both personally and professionally. Every contractor needs those resources and those relationships. If you want to be successful, well then, you need AGC.

Phyllis Harden

Legislative & Special Projects, Pine Bluff Sand & Gravel
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Construction Law

January 27, 2017

Construction contracts can be an unholy mess with their often unique provisions that too often thwart predictability and fairness. The ConsensusDocs coalition of 40 industry groups has formed over the past nine years to counter this trend, and its latest update offers wide-ranging revisions for its 2016 Design-Bid-Build prime and subcontract agreements.

June 2, 2016

<p>A new <a href="https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2016-05-31/pdf/2016-12494.pdf"><u>rule</u> </a>by the Small Business Administration makes several changes to small business contracting regulations. These changes, set to go into effect June 30, are aimed at increasing small-business competition and enabling small businesses to potentially obtain larger contracts without increasing compliance costs.&nbsp; In April, AGC <a href="http://newsmanager.commpartners.com/agcleg/downloads/AGC%20Comments%20on%20SBA%20Performance%20of%20Work%20Prop%20Rule.pdf"><u>submitted comments</u></a> on the proposed rule.</p>

June 2, 2016

<p>The U.S. Supreme Court issued a <a href="http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/united-states-army-corps-of-engineers-v-hawkes-co-inc/"><u>ruling</u> </a>that will allow landowners to challenge a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers determination that a jurisdictional “Waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS) is present on property where they want to build.&nbsp; A “jurisdictional determination” significantly impacts how land may be used, dramatically raises costs, and often reduces the feasibility of constructing critical infrastructure. AGC submitted a joint “friend of the court” brief in the case, US Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes Co., making a strong case for why it is vital for contractors to know with certainty whether their property contains a WOTUS. The Court’s findings closely track the points AGC argued in <u><a href="http://www.scotusblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/15-290-bsac-American-Farm-Bureau-Federation.pdf">its joint amicus brie</a>f</u>.&nbsp; AGC was the only trade association to advance the commercial construction industry’s interest in the outcome of this case and, once again, AGC has succeeded in changing facts on the ground. This decision will have a material impact on the way that the Section 404 permit program actually functions.</p>

May 26, 2016

This week, 132 members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) and Ranking Democrat Sander Levin (Mich.) in support of fixing the Highway Trust Fund as part of comprehensive tax reform.  Thanks to the AGC members who met with their representatives during the TCC Fly-In or contacted their representatives asking them to sign the letter.

May 19, 2016

<p>On May 17, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee unanimously approved AGC-supported <a href="https://www.congress.gov/114/bills/hr5199/BILLS-114hr5199ih.pdf"><u>legislation</u> </a>that would (1) require civilian federal agencies—non-Department of Defense agencies—to utilize the two-step design-build selection process for design-build projects greater than $3 million, thereby limiting one-step design-build procurements; and (2) help prohibit reverse auctions for certain construction services. Introduced by Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), the bill—H.R. 5199—is nearly identical to the <a href="https://www.agc.org/news/2016/02/11/agc-backed-procurement-legislation-passes-senate-panel"><u>AGC-backed legislation</u></a> passed by a Senate Committee in February. AGC will continue to push for enactment of these procurement reforms.</p>

May 19, 2016

<p>In what may be a 12-round bout, AGC has scored another victory on the path to expunging President Obama’s <u><a href="https://www.agc.org/news/2015/08/28/agc-submits-comments-opposing-blacklisting-executive-order">Blacklisting Executive Order</a>.</u> On May 19, the House of Representatives approved legislation that includes an AGC-backed provision to the National Defense Authorization Act—a bill that has been annually enacted into law for 54 consecutive years—that ensures the EO would not apply to Department of Defense and National Nuclear Security Administration contracts. AGC will work with Congress to limit the Executive Order.</p>

May 19, 2016

The House of Representatives today failed—on a vote of 209-216—to pass AGC-supported legislation that would block further implementation of President Obama’s 2009 executive order encouraging federal agencies to consider government-mandated project labor agreements (PLAs) on construction projects. AGC, along with other industry allies, urged members of the House to support this initiative and will continue to advocate against government-mandated PLAs.

May 19, 2016

<p>On May 18, the U.S. Department of Labor released its <a href="https://www.dol.gov/featured/overtime"><u>final rule</u></a> implementing changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime regulations.&nbsp; The most significant change is a doubling of the standard salary threshold for exempt employees – from $455 per week ($23,660 per year) to $913 per week ($47,476 per year).&nbsp; The rule takes effect on Dec. 1, 2016. In 2015, AGC sent both <a href="https://www.agc.org/sites/default/files/Files/Labor%20%26%20HR%20%28public%29/AGC%20Comments%20to%20Overtime%20NPRM%20-%20Final_2.pdf"><u>individual comments</u></a> and signed onto <a href="https://www.agc.org/sites/default/files/Files/Labor%20%26%20HR%20%28public%29/PPWO%20Comments%20Overtime_1.pdf"><u>coalition comments</u></a> on the proposed rule. These comments raised strong concerns that the proposed salary threshold of $970 per week ($50,440 per year) would be too large an increase for employers to absorb all at once. While not all of AGC’s and the coalition’s recommendations were accepted, the final rule does establish a lower salary threshold than originally proposed.&nbsp; The final rule’s concession for bonuses and commissions and its abstinence from changing the duties test are also consistent with AGC’s recommendations.</p>

May 12, 2016

As previously reported by AGC, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is accepting public comment on its draft 2017 National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Construction General Permit (CGP) until May 26. AGC has taken numerous actions over the last several weeks to inform the EPA staff of AGC’s main concerns with the agency’s proposed draft, but more input from the construction industry would be helpful to shape the final rule.  The paramount concern is the possible addition of a brand-new requirement that would make construction site “operators” publicly report (via an Internet post) their construction stormwater pollution prevention plans (SWPPPs).  Please use AGC’s draft discussion document to share your concerns with EPA by the May 26 comment deadline. Although EPA’s CGP directly applies in only a handful of states and territories, it serves as a national model for state-issued CGPs.

May 5, 2016

AGC members have every reason to believe they are constantly being threatened by a barrage of new regulatory initiatives. AGC is following more than 20 major rulemakings that impact the industry right now such as the “Waters of the US” proposed rule, the silica rule, the “ambush” election rule, the overtime rule (see next story for an update on AGC’s efforts), and the “blacklisting” rule to name a few. Today, the Competitive Enterprise Institute released its annual survey of the size, scope, and cost of federal regulations, and how they affect American consumers, businesses, and the U.S. economy.

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