Politics and Policy
The United States Senate passed a one-year “extenders” bill Dec. 16, retroactively renewing 55 previously expired tax credits and other key policies for the 2014 tax year. The 76-16 Senate vote echoes the overwhelming 378-46 House approval earlier in the month and sends the bill to the President’s desk where the White House signaled he will sign it into law. ABC recently joinedmore than 500 industry groups in urging the swift passage of such legislation.
The Michigan Supreme Court has agreed to hear ABC’s appeal in a case that could lead to the invalidation of local prevailing wage ordinances throughout the state. The lawsuit seeks to overturn a May 2014 Michigan Court of Appeals ruling, which overturned a previous Ingham County Circuit Court decision that ruled in ABC’s favor.
The 113th congress concluded its final session Dec. 16 without reauthorizing the Terrorism Risk Insurance (TRIA) program. Despite overwhelming bipartisan support, and over four hundred Representatives voting to reauthorize the program for six years, the democratically controlled Senate was unable to vote on the bill before leaving town for the last time until the new year.
Beginning Jan. 1, contractors will face new deadlines and requirements for reporting severe injuries on the jobsite. The rule will go into effect Jan. 1, 2015, for all employers covered by the Occupational Safety and Health Act - even those who are exempt from maintaining injury and illness records.
The DOL’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) issued a final rule Dec. 9 implementing Executive Order 11246, which prohibits federal contractors from discriminating against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) employees and prohibits discrimination based on gender identity in federal employment.
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a 3-2 split decision along party lines Dec. 11, stating that employees are permitted, except in very limited circumstances, to use corporate email systems during non-work time for union organizing (Section 7 activities). The Board’s decision overturns the 2007 decision in Register Guard.
On Dec. 12, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued its long-awaited final rule that overhauls the procedures for union representation elections. Under this controversial rule, the amount of time between when a union files a representation petition and an election takes place likely will dramatically be reduced from the current average of 38 days. The changes are currently scheduled to take effect on April 14, 2015, unless a court or Congress blocks enforcement of the new rule.
Through ABC’s Project Management Institute, owners, project managers and estimators can take the next steps to a more productive and profitable business. The 80-hour course, held at Purdue University, Lafayette, Ind., equips construction professionals with resources and tools to manage the quality, budget and unexpected changes on your projects, but ultimately to increase profit and client satisfaction.
In the most recent regulatory agenda released Nov. 21, expected action items from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are outlined and include the Clean Water Act, the Power Plant Rule and the Lead Paint Renovation Repair and Painting Program.
New in 2015, a team competition for journey-level craft professionals will be added to the lineup of National Craft Championships (NCC) events with teams of five representing electrical, pipefitting, millwright, carpentry and insulation crafts. The teams will demonstrate how the crafts work together to simulate real-life working conditions and to highlight their skills. If you have a craft professional who you want to participate in the inaugural team competition, complete an Intent to Compete form by Jan. 9.