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LB 2011 - 04

February 7, 2011

PRIMARY AND GENERAL ELECTION DATES SET

 

The House and Senate have agreed on legislation that provides for a primary and general election to select the state’s governor.  The Senate agreed to the House’s May 14 date for the primary and the House agreed to Senate’s October 4 general election date.  Several business groups called for a primary election to select candidates instead of a state convention as proposed by labor and some legislators.  A number of candidates have indicated they intend to run.  Democrats include Acting Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, Acting Senate President Jeff Kessler, House Speaker Rick Thompson, Treasurer John Purdue and Secretary of State Natalie Tennant.  Republicans include Senator Clark Barnes, former Secretary of State Betty Ireland, Putnam County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Sorsaia and Delegate Patrick Lane.  Jesse Johnson is running as the lone Mountain Party candidate.

 

COMMITTEE SUBCOMMITTEE ADVANCES 10-HOUR OSHA BILL

 

A subcommittee of the House Energy, Industry, Labor, Economic Development and Small Business Committee amended H.B. 2545, the bill requiring public works construction employees complete the 10-hour OSHA safety program, by increasing the threshold on included projects from $1,000 to $25,000.  The bill now goes to the full committee for passage.  H.B. 2545 and S.B. 204 will require every worker on public works projects to complete the OSHA 10-hour safety program prior to starting work, and it mandates that workers carry a card showing successful completion of the program. The bills 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.  The House bill is expected to pass the EIL Committee.  It has a second reference to Government Organization.  The Senate bill is referred to Transportation and Infrastructure then Finance.  For more information on the bill, click here to see the January 24 CAWV Legislative Bulletin.

 

CAWV SEEKING INPUT ON GREEN BUILDINGS, ENERGY CODES

 

Meetings were held Friday with Senate Majority Leader John Unger, D-Berkeley, on S.B. 24, a bill to require all public buildings over 50,000 square-feet to meet green building status.  The CAWV opposed the legislation last year because the bill dictates the U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building silver standard as the only standard accepted.  In Friday’s meeting, discussion centered around a proposal to adopt the ICC International Energy Conservation Code and the ANSI / ASHRAE / IESNA Standard 90.1-2007 for all public buildings in design after July 1, 2011.  The current state energy code is the 2003 version. 

 

CAWV Building Division members received a CAWV Legislative Alert February 4 seeking input on the IECC proposal and what impact it will have on future construction and construction costs.  All members with comments on this proposal are asked to send them to Mike Clowser at mclowser@cawv.org by close of business today, February 7.

 

REVERSE AUCTION BILL DISCUSSIONS CONTINUE

 

S.B. 240 and H.B. 2759 (by Governor Tomblin) allows the Director of Purchasing to conduct reverse auctions to purchase commodities.  This is a bill that has been considered for a number of years. The CAWV has been adamantly opposed to the concept of reverse auction for the procurement of construction projects.  The bill will not impact construction projects but would be used for purchase of commodities. Discussions continue on what is the bill’s intended purpose.

 

GOVERNOR’S BILL EXTENDS TIF AVAILABILITY

 

S.B. 272 and H.B. 2852 (by Governor Tomblin) amends the Tax Increment Financing Act (TIF) to allow Class III and Class IV municipalities to participate and clarifies the power of municipalities to use TIF for development and redevelopment projects.  The bill also allows certain remediation projects to fall within the parameters of the TIF statute and provides that TIF would be used for all classes of municipalities without county issuance of bonds.  The Senate bill goes to the Committee on Energy, Industry and Mining.

 

FEDERAL TRANSPORTATION HEARINGS TO BE HELD IN WEST VIRGINIA

 

U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica (R-FL) announced that West Virginia will be the one of the locations for series of national field hearings and public forums on pending major surface transportation legislation.  The nationwide meeting with state and local officials and transportation stakeholders will help inform the committee’s drafting of a long-term reauthorization of the nation’s highway, transit and highway safety program.  Chairman Mica said the legislation will “help improve our transportation infrastructure and promote job creation in the nation’s hard-hit construction industry.”  The committee will seek input on how to consolidate and improve the performance of programs, cut government red tape and streamline the project delivery process, increase private sector investment in infrastructure, identify creative financing alternatives and other ideas for writing the legislation.  The previous multi-year law (SAFETEA-LU) expired in September 2009.

 

Chairman Mica and members of the committee will participate in the hearings and meetings, which will begin on February 14 in West Virginia, the home state of the committee’s Ranking Democrat Member Nick J. Rahall.  At least a dozen other sessions across numerous states are currently planned for February 17-25.

 

Beckley and Charleston sessions are planned for Monday, February 14.  Preliminary plans call for the Beckley session to be held at Tamarack from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.  There will be a “listening” session at Charleston’s Yeager airport at about 11 a.m.  Once details are finalized, members will be asked to attend the sessions.

 

In a related issue, the House Budget Committee Chairman announced spending caps that will govern debate on the continuing resolution that is currently funding all government programs until March 4. The budget caps will reduce spending government wide by about $32 billion from 2010 spending levels. Specific spending cuts have not yet been decided, however, every category of spending other than defense is expected to be reduced. Charts released by the Committee give aggregate figures for cuts that will be applied in different funding categories. Transportation and Housing programs, which are funded through the same appropriations bill, are shown on the chart to be targeted for cuts of 17 percent. It is not certain how these cuts will be allocated between the two categories or whether the reductions will be applied across the board. The proposed spending ceiling is less than the $100 billion cuts in the non-defense / non-security part of the budget that House Republicans pledged leading up to the November elections.


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 mclowser@cawv.org.

 

HOUSE BILLS

 

HB 2954                      Mr. Speaker (Mr. Thompson) and Del. Armstead [By Request of the Executive]-Relating to the construction, planning and location of comprehensive career technical education facilities-To Education then Finance.

 

HB 2964                      Del. Gearheart, Sumner, Frazier, Savilla, Ellington, Hall, Moore and O’Neal-Eliminating tolls on the West Virginia Turnpike before February 1, 2020 (FN)-To Roads and Transportation then Finance.

 

HB 3015                      Del. Longstreth, Caputo, White, Kominar and Martin-The Healthy and Safe Workplace Act-To Energy, Industry and Labor, Economic Development and Small Business then Judiciary.

 

HB 3026                      Del. Varner, Pethtel, Ferns, Givens, Ferro, Swartzmiller, Martin, Jones, Storch, Ennis and Romine-Authorizing additional powers of the Commissioner of Highways by entering into agreements or permits to protect the care and maintenance of certain secondary highways used in natural gas and oil production (FN)-To Roads and Transportation then Finance.

 

HB 3040                      Del. Skaff, T. Campbell, Walters, Guthrie, Kominar, Poore and Brown-Twenty-First Century Business Technologies Property Valuation Act (FN)-To Energy, Industry and Labor, Economic Development and Small Business then Finance.

 

SENATE BILLS

 

SB 373                         Sen. Kessler (Acting President) and Hall [By Request of the Executive]-Requiring School Building Authority to allocate and expend certain moneys for vocational programs at comprehensive middle schools.-To Education then Finance.

 

SB 384                         Sen. Hall and K. Facemyer-Providing for financing to complete Route 35 without using toll booths-To Transportation and Infrastructure then Finance.

 

SB 395                         Sen. Beach-Requiring annual surpluses from certain revenue shortfall funds be transferred to State Road Fund (FN)-To Transportation and Infrastructure then Finance.

 

SB 410                         Sen. McCabe and Browning-Extending alternative fuel motor vehicle tax credit (FN)-To Finance.

 

SB 427                         Sen. Jenkins-Providing credit against tax for fees paid for recycling (FN)-To Judiciary then Finance.

 

SB 437                         Sen. Laird and Sypolt-Exempting licensed surveyors from liability fo defamation or slander of title-To Energy, Industry and Mining then Judiciary.

 

SB 442                         Sen. Hall and Browning-Increasing expenditure limit on public service district contracts before competitive bids required-To Government Organization then Finance.