Politics and Policy
ABC sent a letter to the U.S. Senate in support of the FIRST STEP Act, which was introduced by Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). This bipartisan bill addresses the important issue of prison reform with the goal of lowering recidivism rates by helping incarcerated individuals prepare to reenter their communities.
ABC released its 2018 Merit Shop Scorecard, an annual state ranking based on policies and programs that encourage open competition, education and job growth, and award construction contracts based solely on merit, regardless of labor affiliation. Florida topped the list this year, vaulting from ninth position in 2017 to first based on the state’s free-enterprise and open-competition approach to the construction sector, increased career and technical education opportunities and job growth rates.
Estimated October construction unemployment rates fell nationally and in 45 states on a year-over-year basis, according to ABC’s analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data. While the October 2018 not seasonally adjusted national construction unemployment rate fell 0.9 percent from a year ago to 3.6 percent, the construction industry employed 318,000 more workers nationally compared to October 2017, according to BLS statistics.
Over the last month, the U.S. Department of Treasury and Internal Revenue Service have issued several proposed rules that provide guidance and implement changes to the tax code under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Signed into law nearly a year ago, the historic tax reform bill included several key provisions that affect the construction industry, and the recently issued proposals provide critical information for construction employers on how to comply with the law.
Updates to equal employment opportunity regulations that apply to all sponsors of apprenticeship programs registered either with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Apprenticeship or a state apprenticeship agency are just around the corner. The final rule updating EEO regulations was issued in 2016 by the Obama administration and went into effect on Jan. 18, 2017; however, some of the provisions were delayed for two years until Jan. 18, 2019.
The 2018 Design-Build Project award winners were announced at an awards dinner during the Design-Build Conference & Expo, Nov. 7-9 in New Orleans. From university buildings to bridge replacements, this year’s winners are some of the best construction projects in the country. Several ABC members are part of award-winning teams and were honored by DBIA for their accomplishments.
The ABC Western Michigan Chapter announced its first-ever construction technology and innovation conference, which will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Nearly 350 construction industry professionals from cities across the country will gather to be inspired by numerous education sessions, exhibitor displays and live demonstrations—all centered around the advancement of technology.
The ABC Board of Directors elected Tony Rader, telecom vice president for National Roofing Partners, to serve as the 2019 national chair during the association’s annual Leadership Institute in Las Vegas. Ray Zamora, president of AnchorBuilt Inc., was elected chair-elect, and Steve Klessig, vice president of architecture and engineering, Keller Inc., was elected secretary.
On Nov. 9, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration published a final rule that updates its standard for cranes and derricks in construction to ensure crane operators are qualified to safely operate equipment. The final rule requires employers to train operators as needed to perform assigned crane activities, evaluate them and document successful completion of the evaluations.
The Construction Legal Rights Foundation supports efforts to preserve, protect and defend the free enterprise system in the construction industry. Watch ABC’s new video to find out how the foundation offers financial support through legal and issue advocacy campaigns.