LB 2011 - 07
February 28, 2011
Last week was a busy week for CAWV issues at the State Capitol. The OSHA 10-hour safety training bill (H.B. 2545) was debated and defeated in the House Government Organization Committee Wednesday, and the Senate Transportation and Infrastructure Committee refused the administration’s bill (S.B. 606) to finance the Route 35 project using the state’s Public Employee Retirement System but then passed it Thursday night when the PERS element was removed. The Senate T&I originated a bill to increase Division of Motor Vehicle fees (S.B. 608) that will generate around $40 million in additional revenue for the State Road Fund, and the Senate Education Committee advanced H.B. 2709, a bill dealing with energy-saving contracts for county boards of education. All bills had to be passed out of committee in their house of origin Friday in order to be read three several days. All bills must pass their house of origin by Wednesday, March 2, in order to be passed this legislative session.
There are 12 days remaining in the 2011 Regular Legislative Session. There have been 609 bills introduced in the Senate, with 69 of them being passed. In the House, 1,269 bills have been introduced and 82 have passed the House. Only 16 bills have passed both chambers. Wednesday, March 2, is cross-over day, meaning all bills have to pass their house of origin in order to be considered this legislative session.
DMV FEE BILL MUST GET THROUGH SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE
S.B. 608 raises nearly $40 million in new revenues for the State Road Fund by increasing drivers and licensing fees, many of which have not been increased since the 1970s. All CAWV Highway Division members received a CAWV Legislative Alert last week asking them to contact members of the Senate Finance Committee to get the bill on the Finance Committee agenda. The bill has been read a first time but it needs passed by the full Senate Wednesday. The bill is not on today’s Senate Finance Committee agenda.
ALL CAWV MEMBERS ARE URGED TO CONTACT THEIR LEGISLATORS THIS MORNING URGING THEIR SUPPORT FOR S.B. 608. PHONE NUMBERS FOR FINANCE COMMITTEE MEMBERS ARE BELOW, AND WERE INCLUDED IN THE FEBRUARY 22 LEGISLATIVE ALERT.
Drivers License fees would be raised from $2.50 per year to $5.00. Vehicle registration fees would increase $10 for vehicles under 4,000 pounds and $30 for vehicles 4,000 pounds to 8,000 pounds. Class B licenses would remain the same. Some of the fees have not been raised since the 1970s, and one of the fees being discussed has not been increased since 1951.
The proposed increases were developed by averaging the fees in the five states surrounding West Virginia. The proposal was first presented a few years ago in a study by the WVU Bureau of Business and Economic Research. It was originally thought the fee increase bill would be introduced this year, but plans changed when then-Governor Joe Manchin became U.S. Senator and the Senate leadership changed. It has taken a concerted effort this session to keep highway funding in the forefront. The bill now goes to the Senate Finance Committee.
Contact members of the Senate Finance Committee and ask them to vote YES on S.B. 608, the DMV fee increase bill.
Senate Finance Committee
Senator Roman Prezioso - Chair 304-357-3761
Senator Doug Facemire - Vice-Chair 304-357-7845
Senator Truman Chafin 304-357-7808
Senator Larry Edgell 304-357-7827
Senator Mike Green 304-357-7831
Senator Walt Helmick 304-357-7980
Senator William Laird 304-357-7849
Senator Brooks McCabe 304-357-7990
Senator Ronald Miller 304-357-7959
Senator Robert Plymale 304-357-7937
Senator Ron Stollings 304-357-7939
Senator John Unger 304-357-7933
Senator Erik Wells 304-357-7841
Senator Jack Yost 304-357-7984
Senator Donna Boley 304-357-7905
Senator Mike Hall 304-357-7901
Senator Dave Sypolt 304-357-7914
Work continues on getting part of the expected $180 million surplus for Fiscal Year 2011 transferred from the general fund to the State Road Fund. Also, S.B. 606, a bill dealing with the sale of bonds for the Route 35 project, passed the Senate Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. A committee substitute for S.B. 606 eliminated the state Public Employee Retirement System as the source for the bonds. The new plan contemplates going back to the bond market in hopes of getting a better rate now that the bonds are backstopped by the West Virginia Infrastructure and Jobs Development Council. The bill is not on today’s Senate Finance Committee agenda.
WVDOH DESIGN-BUILD PILOT PROGRAM EXTENDED
S.B. 282 extends the WVDOH Design-Build pilot program for two years. The ten projects approved in the pilot program were to have been completed by June 2011. The WVDOH has done about three projects under this legislation (three other Design-Build projects were completed under the first pilot program). This bill extends the program through June 2013.
S.B. 510 ON THIRD READING ON SENATE CALENDAR
Passage is set today in the Senate for S.B. 510. Introduced by Sen. John Unger, D-Berkeley, the bill requires new public facilities to be designed and constructed in compliance with the International Energy Conservation Code and the ANSI / ASHREA / IESNA Standard 90.1 - 2007. The current IECC version is 2003. The CAWV worked with Senator Unger and his staff on the bill. CAWV members provided input on what impact the 2009 version will have on construction costs, on contractors preparing bids, and on contractors performing the construction contract. CAWV contractor and architect members stated it appears that contractors would not see much change in bidding a project. The architect and/or engineer would prepare plans and documents based on the 2009 code and contractors would price their bid accordingly. It also appears there would be no additional administrative or hidden costs in constructing the project.
OSHA 10-HOUR TRAINING REQUIREMENT DEFEATED IN COMMITTEE
H.B. 2545, a bill to require every worker on public works projects to complete the OSHA 10-hour safety program prior to starting work, was struck down Wednesday in the House Government Organization Committee by a vote of 13-8. The bill would have mandated that workers carry a card showing successful completion of the program. The bill would also require contractors to submit a copy of each employee’s card with their first certified payroll submitted to the contracting agency. The Commissioner of Labor, under the rule, may assess a civil penalty of up to $3,000, and, an employer shall be assessed a civil penalty of $500 per employee for each day of noncompliance.
REVERSE AUCTION BILL IN SENATE FINANCE
S. B. 240 has been revised and is getting momentum in the legislature. The bill, introduced by Acting Governor Tomblin, would allow the Director of the Purchasing Division to conduct reverse auctions to purchase commodities. A committee substitute was drafted last week to specifically exclude construction contracts from reverse auction procurement. The CAWV has consistently opposed reverse auctions as a procurement method for construction projects. The bill passed the Senate Government Organization Committee and has been read a first time on the Senate Floor. The bill now goes to Senate Finance Committee but it is not on the agenda for today’s 3:00 p.m. meeting. Senate Finance will probably meet a number of times between now and Wednesday.
MARCELLUS GAS DRILLING BILL REQUIRES PRIVATE COMPANIES TO HIRE ONLY CONTRACTORS WHO HAVE APPROVED APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAMS
H.B. 2878 is a bill which establishes a new regulatory program for gas operations that drill in the Marcellus Shale formation. A committee substitute was presented late Thursday in the House Judiciary Committee. One of the articles (22-6A-3) in the committee substitute requires that companies who want a permit from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection must ascertain from the Commissioner of the WV Division of Labor that the company “requires all contractors hired to work under the permit have bona-fide apprenticeship and training programs registered with the United States Department of Labor. The [WVDEP] secretary shall not issue any well work permit unless the Commissioner of Labor ascertains that the applicant is in compliance with all of the provisions listed herein.” The committee substitute was not able to be amended and it passed out of Judiciary Committee. The bill is on First Reading on the House Special Calendar today.
S.B. 245 ADDRESSES CHESAPEAKE BAY WATERSHED REQUIREMENTS
Sen. Herb Snyder, D-Jefferson, has been shepherding S.B. 245 through the Senate. It is on Second Reading today. The bill adds $6 million in lottery revenues to the WV Infrastructure and Jobs Development Council’s annual appropriation of $40 million. The additional funds would be dedicated to a bond issue that would pay for improvements, upgrades and new construction of wastewater treatment plants in West Virginia’s eight-county Eastern Panhandle. The improvements are needed to meet new, stringent pollution limits imposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the Chesapeake Bay Restoration program. The program is aimed at reducing pollution in bay tributaries. The estimated cost to make the improvements to 13 sewer plants across the Panhandle is about $225 million. S.B. 245 covers about $180 million of the total costs, or about 44 percent. Local customers will fund the remaining amounts. A list of the projects that would be funded if S.B. 245 passes the full legislature will be in Friday’s CAWV Municipal-Utilities Bulletin.
WEST VIRGINIA LEGISLATURE BILL INFORMATION
House and Senate bills can be accessed from the CAWV’s Legislative home page at www.cawv.org/legislative. 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.
SB 606 Sen. Kessler (Acting President) and Hall [By request of the Executive]-Providing funding for parkways projects along U. S. Route 35-To Transportation and Infrastructure then Finance.
SB 608 Sen. Beach, K. Facemyer, Klempa, Plymale, Tucker and Williams-Increasing fees for services and documents issued by DMV-To Transportation and Infrastructure then Finance.