LB 2009 - 1
February 16, 2009
Starting today, and running through the 60-day legislative session, members will receive the CAWV Legislative Bulletin every Monday morning. The bulletin contains legislation and activities that will affect contractors, subcontractors and suppliers.
Members will be asked to contact their legislators on issues affecting the construction industry. Members will receive during the session Legislative Alerts detailing the issues and containing contact information. A list of House and Senate members with their contact information and committees is included in this week’s Legislative Bulletin.
This bulletin contains bills that were introduced last week which impact our industry. If you have any questions or need further information, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
GOVERNOR MANCHIN GIVES STATE OF THE STATE ADDRESS
The 2009 session of the West Virginia Legislature began Wednesday with Governor Joe Manchin giving his fifth State of the State Address. The governor noted that “tougher times are ahead” and the budget he presented to lawmakers is a “responsible” spending plan that includes no new spending plans or any salary increases for teachers or public employees. The new budget does not include any tax increases, but the governor said he may seek to increase the state cigarette tax to $1.20 to fund chronic disease prevention programs. He also did not mention any funding measures for highway or infrastructure projects.
GOVERNOR INTRODUCES UNEMPLOYMENT COMP TRIGGER BILL
Governor Manchin’s unemployment compensation “solvency” bill has been introduced in the state Senate. S.B. 246 would establish a trigger mechanism that would impose “temporary solvency assessments” on both employers and employees when the state’s unemployment compensation trust fund drops below $180 million during any quarterly period. The assessments would cease when the fund returns to a balance of $250 million. The state’s unemployment compensation fund had a balance of $232 million as of December 31, 2008.
According to the bill, the temporary solvency assessment paid by the employer will be an amount one half of one percent of wages paid to its employees, and the employee assessment shall be fifteen one hundredths of one percent of each employee’s gross wages. The bill does not contain any of the benefit recommendations that have been advocated by the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber has been pushing for reforms in this program, such as:
• eliminating “out of step” provisions that award benefits to striking workers;
• discontinuing the awarding of benefits to temporary workers who decline new assignments;
• establishing mandatory disqualification from unemployment comp benefits if a worker is terminated for failing a workplace drug or alcohol test; and
• modifying hearing procedures and rules to reduce the burden on small businesses.
MANDATORY HEALTH BILL REINTRODUCED IN HOUSE
A bill requiring contractors performing public works construction projects to show that at least 75 percent of the workers on a project over $500,000 have health insurance, which has been defeated in previous sessions, was introduced today and referred to the House Health and Human Resources Committee. H.B. 2425http://www.legis.state.wv.us/Bill_Status/bills_History.cfm?input=2438&year=2007&sessiontype=rs&btype=bill is supported by the ACT Foundation which states that the growth in uncompensated care resulting from the lack of accessible and affordable insurance in West Virginia as rationale for supporting the legislation. The CAWV cites a number of reasons why the legislation is not necessary or constitutional.
A task force of contractors, subcontractors and insurance providers in 2005 concluded that construction workers probably have greater access to health insurance than other industries. Another issue the association cited is that since construction workers may work for more than one contractor, portability was a concern. The industry has repeatedly asked what other states have passed similar legislation that can be used as a model in West Virginia. States that have passed legislation, including Florida, have all had their laws struck down because they are in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). Last year, the Maryland Assembly passed a law that required Maryland employers with 10,000 or more employees to pay 8 percent of their total payroll on employee health insurance. The 4th United States Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the law invalid.
If the bill does pass out of the Health Committee, it has a second reference to Government Organization.
INNOVATIVE HIGHWAY FINANCING DISCUSSED IN SENATE TRANSPORTATION
The Senate Transportation Committee Friday heard a presentation by Tom Smith, state division administrator, Federal Highway Administration, on innovative financing measures for highways. He also outlined the latest information on the transportation spending included in the economic stimulus bill. Smith told senators that federal highway trust funding is continuing to decline and that states will need to look at alternative financing measures. He detailed three programs being used in other states. These include: State Infrastructure Banks (SIB); TIFIA loans authorized by The Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 1998; and public-private bonds.
The SIB would establish a bank that would in turn make loans to local entities for transportation improvements. The SIB could be capitalized with state highway fund revenues or from the state’s General fund. The projects that were proposed in Morgantown last year would have been a good use of SIB funds. Voters in Monongalia County rejected a user fee to pay for road improvements in the Morgantown area. TIFIAs provides Federal credit assistance to nationally and regionally significant surface transportation projects, including highway, transit and rail. The program is designed to fill market gaps and leverage substantial private co-investment by providing projects with supplemental or subordinate debt. The WV Legislature approved a public-private partnership bill last year to allow ppps in West Virginia. The committee will continue to discuss highway funding issues in their upcoming meetings.
TRANSPORTATION TALKS TURN TOWARD THE FUTURE
During an interim meeting last week of the Legislature’s Select Committee C - Infrastructure, committee members continued evaluating the State Road Fund and talks turned to the Economic Stimulus Plan’s potential impact on highway construction. Dr. Tom Witt, WVU Bureau of Business and Economic Research, presented recommendations on how the State Road Fund could alter funding to maintain solvent. Dr. Witt suggested combining the gasoline tax, creating a new fee for alternative fuel vehicles, increasing the privilege tax and encouraging county or local governments to perform road building and repair jobs. To view an article from the Charleston Daily Mail which details Dr. Witt’s recommendations, click here.
CAWV Executive Director Mike Clowser also addressed the committee, sharing with them that 14,400 jobs could be created in West Virginia by the Economic Stimulus plan. “The state should expect 16 direct jobs for every $1 million received,” he said. West Virginia's estimated $1.1 billion share of stimulus funding, in the latest Senate version of the bill, includes $240 million for highways. Clowser said the state stands to gain an equal number of indirect jobs among materials suppliers, equipment dealers and the hauling industry and jobs will also be created by dollars spent in the community, such as at grocery stores and other retailers. "Our members are pretty confident that there is capacity in the industry...that we can create jobs immediately,'' Clowser said. "We'll be able to start building as soon as the funding is available.'' To view an article from the Charleston Daily Mail detailing Clowser’s comments, click here.
WEST VIRGINIA LEGISLATURE BILL INFORMATION
House and Senate bills can be accessed from the CAWV’s Legislative home page at www.cawv.org/legislative.html. Members can view status updates on bills of interest to the construction industry and see what legislation is introduced that affects the construction industry. A summary of each day’s activities will be uploaded each afternoon.
Below is a list of bills that have been introduced this week that have an impact on the construction industry or some CAWV members. Anyone needing further information can contact Mike Clowser at (304) 342-1166 or email email@example.com.
HB 2025 Del. Guthrie-Including bicycle and pedestrian ways in consideration in the planning and development of state roads (FN)-To Roads and Transportation then Finance
HB 2050 Del. Craig and Morgan-Expanding the counties covered by West Virginia Route 2 and Interstate 68 Authority to include Cabell, Mason and Jackson counties; and increasing the number of members-To Government Organization-[Local Bill]
HB 2062 Del. Blair, Overington and Miller, J.-Giving the owners of newly constructed homes a ten-year grace period before connection to a newly installed sewer line is mandatory (FN)-To Judiciary then Finance
HB 2063 Del. Webster, Andes and Fleischauer-Relating to water utility rates-To Judiciary then Finance
HB 2129 Del. Martin, Argento and Rowan-Requiring bids under state contract to disclose the location of work performed or risk state termination of the contract-To Government Organization
HB 2143 Del. Shaver and Williams-Dedicating a portion of the receipts from the tax on food products to be distributed equally to each district of the Division of Highways (FN)-To Roads and Transportation then Finance
HB 2151 Del. Brown, Poling, D., Ralbott, Miley, Overington and Sobonya-Administration, Purchasing Division-To Finance then Judiciary
HB 2153 Del. Brown, Poling, D., Talbott, Miley, Overington and Sobonya-Architects, Fees for Registration-To Government Organization then Judiciary
HB 2159 Del. Brown, Poling, D., Miley, Overington and Sobonya-DEP-Air Quality, Permits-To Judiciary
HB 2160 Del. Brown, Poling, D., Talbott, Miley, Overington and Sobonya-DEP-Air Quality Standards of Performance for New Stationary Sources-To Judiciary
HB 2165 Del. Brown, Poling, D., Talbott, Miley, Overington, Sobonya-DEP-Water Resources, State Water Pollution Control Revolving Fund-To Judiciary
HB 2186 Del. Brown, Poling, D., Talbott, Miley, Overington and Sobonya-Architects, Registration-To Government Organization then Judiciary
HB 2193 Del. Brown, Poling, D., Talbott, Miley, Overington and Sobonya-DEP-Air Quality, Permits for Construction and Major Modification of Major Stationary Sources of Air Pollution-To Judiciary
HB 2199 Del. Brown, Poling, D., Talbott, Miley, Overington and Sobonya-DEP-Water Resources Dam Safety Rule-To Judiciary
HB 2213 Del. Brown, Poling, D., Talbott, Miley, Overington and Sobonya-Labor, Elevator Safety Act-To Energy, Industry and Labor, Economic Development and Small Business then Judiciary
HB 2236 Del. Caputo-Making the use of permanent replacements for striking workers and unfair labor practice in certain instances-To Energy, Industry and Labor, Economic Development and Small Business then Judiciary
HB 2239 Del. Perry-Exempting nonprofit organizations from paying an annual motor vehicle registration fee (FN)-To Roads and Transportation then Finance
HB 2247 Del. Caputo and Martin-Providing an employee the right to decline to work more than forty hours in a workweek-To Energy, Industry and Labor, Economic Development and Small Business then Judiciary
HB 2255 Del. Walters-Relating to the “Mandated Benefits Review Act”-To Health and Human Resources then Government Organization
HB 2272 Del. Boggs-Establishing the Flexible Leave Act-To Energy, Industry and Labor, Economic Development and Small Business then Finance
HB 2274 Del. Shook-Relating to the distribution of the State Treasurer’s “Road Fund” (FN)-To Finance
HB 2321 Del. Caputo, Longstreth and Manchin-Extending the alternative-fuel motor vehicle tax credit for ten years and making the credit retroactive from the expiration date of the initial credit (FN)-To Finance
HB 2336 Mr Speaker (Mr. Thompson) and Del. Armstead [By Request of the Executive]-Relating generally to unemployment compensation and the unemployment compensation trust fund-to Energy, Industry and Labor, Economic Development and Small Business then Finance
HB 2363 Del. Armstead and Carmichael-Jobs Impact Statement Act-To Enery, Industry and Labor, Economic Development and Small Business then Government Organization
HB 2372 Del. Doyle-Authorizing county commissions to use impact fees to fund the building and operation of libraries and to administer and provide affordable housing for individuals or families of low or moderate income-To Political Subdivisions then Finance
HB 2375 Del. Doyle-Removing the exemption from planning and zoning restrictions for mining and manufacturing activities and uses (FN)-To Energy, Industry and Labor, Economic Development and Small Business then Finance
HB 2378 Del. Hatfield, Caputo, Walters, Martin, Argento and Perdue-Relating to the removal of the exemption for government employees performing electrical work on government property from having to possess an electrician’s license-To Energy, Industry and Labor, Economic Development and Small Business then Government Organization
HB 2401 Mr. Speaker (Mr. Thompson) and Del. Armstead [By Request of the Executive]-Providing for the expiration of the alternative minimum tax (FN)-To Finance
HB 2403 Del. Morgan, Martin, Argento, Beach, Caputo, Eldridge and Miller, C.-Updating the law governing professional licensing boards in general-To Government Organization-[Interim Bill]
HB 2411 Del. Caputo, Hamilton, Poling, D., and Poling, M.-Requiring that workplace fatalities be reported to the Division of Labor-To Energy, Industry and Labor, Economic Development and Small Business then Judiciary
HB 2421 Del. Staggers, Perry, Shaver, Rodighiero, Moye, Swartzmiller, Martin, Argento, Crosier, Poling, D. And Manypenny-Distinguishing between operable and inoperable fire hydrants by having inoperable hydrants painted black-To Political Subdivision then Judiciary
HB 2425 Del. Hatfield, Perdue and Caputo-Requiring employers to provide health insurance to employees working on public improvement projects (FN)-To Health and Human Resources then Government Organization
HB 2427 Del. Caputo, Talbott and Hatfield-Requiring contractors awarded state public works construction projects to meet time restrictions for the completion of a public works construction project-To Energy, Industry and Labor, Economic Development and Small Business then Government Organization
HB 2476 Del. Miller, C., Ashley, Porter, Sumner, Carmichael and Sobonya-Reducing the corporate net income tax rate to five point nine percent effective the first day of July, two thousand nine (FN)-To Finance
HB 2478 Del. Perdue, Hatfield, Caputo, Boggs, Fleischauer, Poling, D., Klempa, Martin, Ellem and Staggers-Health Insurance for Employees-To Health and Human Resources then Judiciary
SB 8 Sen. Caruth-Requiring certain nonprofit directors and board members attend training-To Government Organization then Finance
SB 13 Sen. Jenkins-Expanding Route 2 and Interstate 68 Authority Territory-To Transportation and Infrastructure then Government Organization
SB 14 Sen. Jenkins-Requiring jobs impact statement for certain proposed legislation-To Economic Development then Judiciary
SB 40 Sen. Sypolt-Relating to land surveyor’s liability upon entering railroad property-To Judiciary
SB 45 Sen. Fanning-Authorizing Department of Environmental Protection Secretary to sign National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits-To Energy, Industry and Mining then Judiciary
SB 58 Sen. Fanning-Allowing blasting program penalties’ deposit in Special Reclamation Fund-To Energy, Industry and Mining then Finance
SB 63 Sen. Plymale-Increasing deposit from State Excess Lottery Revenue Fund to Higher Education Improvement Fund (FN)-To Pensions then Finance
SB 87 Sen. Facemyer-Creating Asbestos Claims Transparency Act-To Judiciary then Finance
SB 93 Sen. Oliverio-Authorizing municipalities to enter into energy-saving contracts-To Government Organization then Finance
SB 94 Sen. Minard-Relating to private investments for Stonewall Jackson Lake State Park-To Natural Resources then Finance
SB 96 Sen. Jenkins-Permitting Commissioner of Highways to transfer surplus balance between funds-To Finance
SB 112 Sen. Hall-Creating Municipal Roads and Bridges Repair Fund-To Transportation and Infrastructure then Finance
SB 120 Sen. Facemyer-Increasing maximum weight for six-axle tractor trailers-To Transportation and Infrastructure then Judiciary
SB 130 Sen. Plymale-Relating to Infrastructure and Jobs Development Council (FN)-To Transportation and Infrastructure then Finance
SB 240 Sen. McCabe-Repealing article banning nuclear power plants’ construction-To Energy, Industry and Mining then Judiciary
SB243 Sen. McCabe-Relating to issuing general obligation bonds-To Finance
SB 246 (Mr. President) and Caruth [By Request of the Executive]-Relating to unemployment compensation generally-To Judiciary then Finance
SB 248 Sen. Tomblin (Mr. President) and Caruth [By request of the Executive]-Providing for alternative minimum tax expiration (FN)-To Finance
SB 251 Sen. McCabe-Authorizing issuance of revenue bonds for public projects-to Government Organization then Finance
SB 256 Sen. Snyder-Providing additional requirements for certain property annexation-To Government Organization then Judiciary
SB 262 Sen. Snyder-Removing prohibition against using county’s General Revenue Fund for historic preservation-To Government Organization then Finance
SB268 Sen. Snyder-Permitting Class III municipalities’ participation in Tax Increment Financing Act-To Government Organization then Finance