AGC Advocacy Report
Michael Gifford, AGC President & CEO
April 9, 2021
AGC Supported Issue 1 Approved by Colorado Springs Voters on April 6
AGC supported Issue 1 (which allows the City of Colorado Springs to describe capital construction and infrastructure funding ballot issues with more than 30 words) was approved by voters in the city election on April 6. COS Chamber and Economic Development’s Government Affairs Vice President Rachel Beck explains the need for Issue 1 in this short video.
AGC Helps Gain New State Capital Construction & BEST Funding Recommendation of $410M
AGC has been advocating for state capital construction and BEST funding since last year to help Colorado recover from the pandemic caused slowdown. This week the state Senate recommended $301M in Capital Construction funding in the long bill. That is an increase of 70% from last session’s $175M.
In addition, the Senate recommends $100M in BEST Grant funding for the normal program, up from $40M last year, and another $10M for air quality type improvement projects to address COVID concerns.
AGC will report on final approved amounts after the long bill moves to the House and is finally reconciled and signed by Gov Polis.
Biden Infrastructure Plan
The Biden infrastructure plan includes the following amounts:
$621 B for transportation infrastructure
$310 B for utility infrastructure like water & wastewater, broadband, and energy
$418 B for building infrastructure like affordable housing, public schools, federal buildings & childcare facilities
As you can see, this adds up to $1.4B, not the $2T in the package, so there are some non-traditional items included in the remaining $600B in the plan.
Right now, AGC is focusing on the desire by the President to include labor policy like the PRO Act in the plan. To date our information tells us that the Senate would need to have 60 votes to pass the PRO Act part of the plan, while only 51 votes are needed to pass the infrastructure and tax increase portion of the plan. However, democrats could change the rules at the last minute to only require 51 votes for the PRO Act.
Therefore, AGC is investing significant Construction Advocacy Funds (significant means more than larger groups like the US Chamber) in a social media campaign aimed at key Senate votes to keep the PRO ACT from reaching the President’s desk. AGC also met with West Virginia Sen Joe Mansion this week to seek a democratic No Vote on the Pro Act. To contribute to the AGC America CAF please contact Michael Gifford, AGC Colorado CEO at email@example.com.
AGC Opposes SB21-176 Workplace Harassment
AGC continues to aggressively oppose SB21-176. Last week Ray Nunn, Nunn Construction, testified remotely in opposition to the bill. This week members of the AGC Legislative Committee sent versions of the following message to the 5 members of the Senate Judiciary Committee:
Hi Sen Lee, I wanted to send you a quick note on SB21-176, workplace discrimination. This bill is very concerning to the construction industry. The first reason is that it makes an independent contractor or small vendor an employee for purposes of employment law and discrimination claims. This just does not work for our industry. There must be a different way to protect our vendors from discrimination without making them our employees (which they are not).
The second reason we are concerned is the huge amount of employment and labor law that the legislature (and the voters) approved in the last 2 years. We are still digesting all of that, including mandatory sick leave, COVID-19 sick leave, paid family medical leave, COVID rules, wage theft, CDLE investigations, other changes to independent contractor status, equal pay for equal work job advertising and promotion rule changes, and more.
Third, this bill has a huge $6M fiscal note for the state. If this bill will cost the state $6M, think how much it will cost the construction industry.
We are sympathetic to some of the goals of the proponents in the bill but think we should focus first on getting Coloradoans back to work, providing good paying jobs and careers, and then finding a different way to protect 3rd party vendors from discrimination. Please call or email me with questions and thank you as always for listening.
The result is that this bill has been laid over in committee based on significant opposition from AGC member firms and opposition from the entire business community. Stay tuned as we move towards the end of the legislative session.
Gov Polis Signs HB21-1083 Over Veto Request by AGC & Commercial Real Estate Industry
AGC joined other real estate related organization in asking Gov Polis to Veto HB21-1083, a bill that will make it harder for commercial and residential property owners to appeal the assessed value of their property, which will raise the amount of property taxes paid. AGC was disappointed that the Governor did not decide to veto the bill.
AGC Legislative Committee to Meet on April 20
The AGC Legislative Committee will meet on April 20 virtually to review the next batch of bills introduced in the 2021 legislative session, as well as pending ballot issues in Denver and other cities. Several members have joined the committee in 2021. To join the committee, contact Polly Mize at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FederalAGC Issues Construction Inflation AlertApril 14, 2021 - 3:30 PM to 4:30 PM ETWith construction materials and supplies seeing significant price spikes and delivery delays nationwide, AGC of America issued a comprehensive analysis via a Construction Inflation Alert. In addition, the association has reached out to the Biden administration, Congress and federal construction agencies to both provide insight on the impact of these price increases and delays on the construction industry and to recommend avenues to address them. Register today for an AGC-member, complimentary webinar on "Soaring Material and Supply-Chain Costs and Delays: What to Expect, How to Cope," with AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson; ConsensusDocs Executive Director Brian Perlberg; and Dan Schnippert, Procurement Director, Marek or click here to learn more.AGC Presses Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) on PRO Act & Biden Infrastructure PlanOn April 7, AGC of America CEO Stephen Sandherr, Contractors Association of West Virginia Executive Director Mike Clowser and members of AGC Chapter-CAWV met in Charleston, West Virginia with Senator Joe Manchin on the PRO Act—the greatest threat to open shop and union construction firms—and President Biden’s Infrastructure Plan, on which you can find a comprehensive AGC analysis here. Sen. Manchin is one of five Democrats who has not pledged support for the PRO Act. He is also a pivotal player in the Biden’s administration’s plans for enacting any infrastructure legislation through the partisan reconciliation process that would only require 51—instead of 60—votes to pass in the Senate. Click here to learn more.AGC Works to Ensure COVID-Relief Funds are Eligible for Transportation ProjectsApril 21, 2021 - 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM ETOn March 28, AGC, along with other industry stakeholders, called on Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to make clear that state and local governments can use funds provided through the latest $1.9 trillion COVID-relief law—the American Rescue Plan—for transportation construction projects. As part of this law, Congress provided $350 billion in relief funding to state and local governments and $10 billion in capital assistance. The Department of Treasury is preparing guidance on how entities can spend this and other funding provided by the bill. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg was recently asked about this and responded that the law “has some flexibility” and could be used to “support to a significant degree those road budgets that have been impacted.” Register today for an AGC-member, complimentary webinar on what construction firms should know about the $1.9 trillion COVID-relief law or click here to learn more.OSHA Hits Pause on COVID-19 Emergency Temporary StandardThe anticipated publishing of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) COVID-19 emergency temporary standards (ETS) is currently on hold. Since President Biden issued his executive order on January 21, which set a March 15 deadline to issue an ETS if deemed necessary, industry stakeholders have been closely monitoring the rulemaking process. According to reports from agency officials, Secretary Walsh requested OSHA update the materials to reflect the latest science and status of COVID-19. These updates will be based on the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analysis and information related to the state of vaccinations and the variants. For more information, click here to learn more.OSHA Heat Standard Legislation Introduced in CongressOn March 26, members of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives introduced legislation directing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to issue an enforceable heat standard for workers exposed to high temperatures. The bill specifically cites construction workers as suffering among the highest incidences of heat illness. AGC previously testified on similar legislation, citing the industry’s thorough, proactive work on this subject and informed lawmakers that legislation mandating OSHA to quickly formulate a one-size-fits-all national standard to address workplace heat exposure is unwarranted. For more information, click here to learn more.