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January 16, 2012

 

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. 

 

Throughout the session, members will be asked to contact their legislators on issues affecting the construction industry.  Members will receive Legislative Alerts detailing the issues and containing contact information.  The memberships of legislative committees have changed and are available on the Legislature’s website at www.legis.state.wv.us. New lawmakers have been added to committees and veteran members have shifted committee assignments. Some committees, such as House Roads and Transportation, have new leaders.

 

            Senate committees

            www.legis.state.wv.us/committees/senate/main.cfm

 

            House of Delegate committees 

            www.legis.state.wv.us/committees/house/main.cfm 

 

 

GOVERNOR PROPOSES USING SURPLUS FOR INFRASTRUCTURE FUNDING

 

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin presented his first State of the State address as governor, opening the 2012 legislative session on Wednesday, January 11.  The governor specifically listed a proposal for infrastructure financing.  “It is essential that we don’t forget the importance that modern infrastructure plays in West Virginia’s economic future,” he said.  “We must find innovative ways to invest in safe water and sewer systems, invest in new and improved schools, in roads and broadband access.”  The governor said he will submit legislation that will call for 50 percent of surplus revenues to be placed in an infrastructure fund once the Rainy Day Fund reaches 15 percent of the General Revenue fund.  “We have to invest in ourselves if we expect others to invest in us,” the governor stated.

 

It is unclear what monies will be available in the future to go into an infrastructure fund.  The Rainy Day Fund, which currently has a balance of $820 million, is based on 10 percent of the General Revenue Fund.  The state needs a surplus this year of about $250 million to get to the 15 percent.  In the past, the state has run a surplus but the budget outlook is not as promising.  Lottery revenues have been declining for the past three years and Medicaid costs are projected to soar to $3.5 billion over the next two years as the match changes and health care reforms take effect.  In developing this year’s budget, most every reserve account was drained in order to balance the budget. This budget also contains no teacher or public employee pay raises which will, in the future, require additional revenues.  On the flip side, no one knows what future revenues will be derived from activities associated with Marcellus shale development.  The governor said he is still hopeful that West Virginia will be chosen as the location for one or two cracker plants which would each be about $2 billion projects.   Regardless, it will probably be 18 to 24 months before funds would be available for infrastructure projects.  The budget does not include a new prison proposed by lawmakers which would have cost $200 million.

 

TRANSPORTATION DAY AT THE WEST VIRGINIA CAPITOL SHINES SPOTLIGHT ON HIGHWAY INFRASTRUCTURE FUNDING

 

Nearly 200 CAWV members and West Virginians for Better Transportation coalition partners flooded the State Capitol and both the House of Delegate and Senate chambers on Thursday, January 12. The group all wore reflective vests making the message of “Roads = Jobs” visible to lawmakers. The group filled both the House of Delegates and Senate balconies for their 11:00 a.m. floor sessions.

Several elected officials joined WVBT Chairman Bill Hilborn to provide live television interviews with many of the state media outlets while attendees met with their senators and delegates. “We don’t gather together very often,” said CAWV President Gene Thompson. “But we came out today to show that there is united support within the business community for a long-term solution for funding our roads, bridges and highways … and for a secure transportation funding source not only for maintenance of the existing infrastructure but also for new construction and expansion.”

 

The group joined together at 1:00 p.m. for a press conference featuring WVBT Chairman Hilborn, CAWV President Thompson, AFL-CIO President Kenny Perdue, Senate President Jeff Kessler, House Roads and Transportation Chair Margaret Staggers and Senate Transportation and Infrastructure Chair Bob Beach.

 

“We were very pleased that Governor Tomblin also took time to meet with WVBT attendees, and to have Senate President Jeff Kessler and the two chairs of the Transportation committees provide remarks at our press conference,” said Chairman Hilborn. “Collectively, we have helped to increase awareness about the needs facing our transportation system, helped to highlight the importance of good roads, bridges and highways to jobs, economic development and commerce, and started the process for the enactment of a long-term transportation plan.”

 

President Kessler got a round of applause from the group when he said that maybe the time table for finding a solution for the state’s highway funding problems should be accelerated to this year instead of waiting to next year (not an election year).  “We know the importance of a good transportation system and we will work together to find a solution,” Sen. Kessler said. “We have our finances in order and now is the time to move the state to a greater level. I know your goal is to find a solution in 2013, but we may just turn the clock up and solve this issue in 2012.”

 

A joint hearing of the House and Senate transportation committees was held at 2:00 p.m. Members again filled the balcony as committee members heard testimony from WV Division of Transportation Secretary Paul Mattox, WVU Bureau of Business and Economic Research Director Dr. Tom Witt, AFL-CIO President Perdue, Business and Industry Council President Jan Vineyard, CAWV President Thompson and WVBT Chairman Hilborn. The hearing was covered by a variety of news outlets.  CAWV Executive Director Mike Clowser will be discussing the issue with Hoppy Kercheval on MetroNews TalkLine on Wednesday, January 18, at 11:00 a.m.

 

HOUSE, SENATE PASS RESOLUTION SUPPORTING TRANSPORTATION

 

The West Virginia Legislature adopted resolutions Thursday that support WVBT’s call for a long-term funding plan for transportation and for Congress to enact a fully funded federal highway reauthorization bill.  The resolutions were provided by WVBT as part of Transportation Day activities. Bill Hilborn, chairman of WVBT,  Jan Vineyard, chairman of the WV Business and Industry Council, Kenny Perdue, president of AFL-CIO and Brenda Nichols Harper, vice president of governmental affairs for the WV Chamber of Commerce, joined CAWV members in the presentation by House and Senate leadership.  CAWV members participating in the resolution included CAWV President Gene Thompson, Bob Orders, Willie Crane, Doug Canterbury and Joe Deneault.

 

Copies of the House and Senate resolutions are linked on WVBT’s January 13 newsletter which is attached to this week’s Legislative Bulletin.

 

WVDOT SECRETARY PROPOSES $1B - $1.5B ROAD BOND; GOVERNOR SAYS NO

 

During last week’s joint meeting of the House and Senate transportation committees at the Capitol, state DOT Secretary Paul Mattox proposed the idea of asking state voters to approve a $1 billion bond measure to accelerate a number of key highway and road projects.  That number would increase to $1.5 billion if completion of Corridor H was added to the bond measure.  He said the action would “create more highway construction jobs, strengthen our economy and allow for the opportunity for economic development adjacent to these projects.”  While not specifically calling for funding measures to raise money for debt repayment, he did note that increasing registration fees could generate up to $45 million of the $65 million needed for debt service.  Governor Tomblin, through spokeswoman Kimberly Osborne, said after the meeting that he does not plan to propose a bond issue this session.

 

H.B. 2545 AND S.B. 37 REQUIRE WORKERS TO COMPLETE OSHA 10-HOUR COURSE PRIOR TO STARTING WORK

 

Bills that have generated a lot of discussion are H.B. 2545 and S.B. 37, which will require every worker on public works projects over $1,000 to complete the OSHA 10-hour safety program prior to starting work, and mandate 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 referred to the Committee on Energy, Industry and Labor, Economic Development and Small Business then Government Organization.  The Senate bill is referred to Labor then Government Organization.

 

Many members have expressed concern over the bill for various reasons. These include:  OSHA does not require completion of the 10-hour course; the course is not intended for highway or water and sewer construction; contractors have foremen and supervisory personnel who are fully trained in all aspects of safety;  workers receive training specific to their aspect of construction; unemployed construction workers are looking to get back to work and putting this as a requirement could hinder their re-employment; Workers Compensation insurance premiums make safety a top priority for all contractors; and this bill applies to all subcontractors and DBE firms that may be doing only a small portion of the work yet their employees would have to have the 10-hour training before setting foot on the jobsite.

 

Members have noted that in these tough economic times, contractors are trying many innovative ideas just to keep their doors open and employees working. Safety still remains a top priority.  However, adding another level of bureaucracy without a corresponding improvement in safety could prohibit calling qualified workers back on the job.

 

BILL REQUIRES SUBMITTING SUB LIST WITHIN TWO HOURS

 

S.B.36 requires contractors to submit a list of their subcontractors within two hours of a bid opening to the contracting agency or risk being declared irregular.  While the bill only pertains to the low bidder, all bidders may be required to submit their subs list.  On projects where there are alternates, the low bidder may not be apparent, based on which alternates are selected.  In order for contractors’ bids to be responsive, all bidders who may ultimately be declared the low, responsive bidder will have to submit their sub list within two hours.  Currently, the School Building Authority of WV is the only agency that has such a policy. Agencies throughout the state are putting this requirement in on select projects.   S.B. 36 would require all public agencies to mandate this policy. 

 

Building contractors are used to having the two-hour requirement in the bidding documents. Highway contractors have noted that, during the construction season, they could bid anywhere between 25 and 50 jobs in one highway letting, placing a hardship in getting in a sub list within the allotted time.  The bill is referred to Labor and then the Judiciary Committee.

S.B. 76 ESTABLISHES 2009 INTERNATIONAL ENERGY CONSERVATION CODE

 

S.B. 76, introduced by Sen. John Unger, D-Berkeley, requires new public facilities to be designed and constructed to comply 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 this bill last year but it lost in the final days of the session.  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.

 

It is anticipated that the 2009 version would increase construction costs in the 5 percent range in the short term while manufacturers upgrade their production process.  It was noted that this is common with previous code revisions and that costs should stabilize once manufacturers implement the new code version.

 

The bill is referred to the Committee on Government Organization then Finance.

 

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 2034          Del. Ellem - Relating to the adoption of the 2008 National Electric Code - To House Government Organization

 

HB 2092          Del. Cowles - Changing the definition of "construction" to only include projects whose total costs are more than $200,000 in the prevailing wage law - To House Energy, Industry and Labor, Economic Development and Small Business then Government Organization

 

HB 2094          Del. Cowles - Exempting certain construction projects performed on behalf of county or municipal governments from the prevailing wage laws - To House Political Subdivisions then Judiciary

 

HB 2111          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 - To House Roads and Transportation then Finance

 

HB 2114          Del. Caputo - Providing an employee the right to decline to work more than forty hours in a workweek - To House Energy, Industry and Labor, Economic Development and Small Business then Judiciary

 

HB 2120          Del. Rodighiero - Poviding overtime pay for all employees who are required to work holidays regardless if the holiday hours are in excess of a forty hour workweek - To House Energy, Industry and Labor, Economic Development and Small Business then Finance

 

HB 2165          Del. Cowles, J. Miller and Overington - Prohibiting project labor agreements on state-funded construction contracts - To House Government Organization then Finance

 

HB 2176          Del. Sumner and Frazier -  Terminating tolls on the West Virginia Turnpike before 2020 - To House Roads and Transportation then Finance

 

HB 2316          Del. Guthrie – Giving full consideration to bicycle, pedestrian and transit ways in the planning, development of state roads, railways and waterways – To Roads and Transportation then Finance

 

HB 2343          Del. Manypenny, Marshall and Fleischauer - Requiring the West Virginia Commissioner of Highways to use recycled materials in construction or maintenance of roads and highways - To House Roads and Transportation then Finance

 

HB 2371          Del. Paxton - Relating to the West Virginia Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) - To House Energy, Industry and Labor, Economic Development and Small Business then Judiciary

 

HB 2422          Del. Moore, Varner and T. Campbell - Creative Communities Development Act - To House Energy, Industry and Labor, Economic Development and Small Business then  Finance

 

HB 2435          Del. C. Miller, Sobonya, Sumner, Rowan, Duke, Crosier, Shaver and Stowers -Allowing the school building authority to designate money for the building of playgrounds  - To House Education then Finance

 

HB 2477          Del. Walters - Relating to roads and highways  - To House Roads and Transportation then  Finance

 

HB 2489          Del. Michael, Staggers and Crosier - Exempting licensed surveyors from liability for defamation or slander of title when performing their professional duties  - To House Judiciary

 

HB 2545          Del. D. Poling, Butcher, Hamilton, D. Campbell, Ellem, Barker and Storch - Requiring onsite employees at certain public works construction projects to complete an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) approved 10-hour construction safety program  - To House Energy, Industry and Labor, Economic Development and Small Business then Government Organization

 

HB 2658          Del. Williams, Shaver, Perry, Michael, Hartman and Sumner - Reducing the wholesale tax on heating fuel, off road fuels, kerosene and propane used for home heating purposes or off road use - To House Agriculture then Finance

 

HB 2664          Del. Moye, Barker, M. Poling, T. Campbell and D. Poling - Verifying legal employment status of workers - To House Energy, Industry and Labor, Economic Development and Small Business then Judiciary

 

HB 2665          Del. Moye, Staggers, Manchin, T. Campbell and Miley - Relating to annexation generally - To House Political Subdivisions then Judiciary

 

HB 2734          Del. Overington, Carmichael, Andes and J. Miller - Establishing prevailing hourly rates to be used in connection with the construction of public improvements - To House Energy, Industry and Labor, Economic Development and Small Business then Judiciary

 

HB 2736          Del. Overington, Cowles, J. Miller, Andes and Carmichael - Exempting construction performed on behalf of educational authorities from prevailing wage requirements - To House Energy, Industry and Labor, Economic Development and Small Business then Judiciary

 

HB 2741          Del. Manypenny, Doyle, Mahan, Guthrie, Canterbury, Barker, Hartman, Brown and Hatfield - Exempting the construction or addition of active solar energy systems from real and personal property taxation - To House Judiciary then Finance

 

HB 2788          Del. Boggs, T. Campbell, Swartzmiller and Walters - Specifying that infrastructure projects providing broadband services facilities be included in infrastructure projects eligible for funding - To House Energy, Industry and Labor, Economic Development and Small Business then Finance

 

HB 2795          Del. Armstead - Jobs Impact Statement Act - To House Energy, Industry and Labor, Economic Development and Small Business then Government Organization

 

HB 2834          Del. Fleischauer, Manypenny, Marshall, Doyle, Longstreth and Hatfield - Relating to water pollution control - To House Government Organization then Judiciary

 

HB 2862          Del. Walters, Nelson, Stowers, Lane, T. Campbell, Hartman, Reynolds and Cann - Allowing a deduction for all capital expenditures from the corporate net income tax - To House Finance

 

HB 2937          Del. Cowles, Hamilton, Andes, Howell, Pasdon, Ellington, Azinger, Storch and Ireland - Reducing the corporation net income tax rate - To House 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 - To House Roads and Transportation then Finance

 

HB 2978          Del. Duke, Canterbury, Ashley, Walters, Nelson, Ellington, Howell, Householder, Rowan and Gearheart - Abolishing the business franchise tax starting July 1, 2011 - To House Finance

 

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

 

HB 3088          Del. Manypenny and Fleischauer – West Virginia Energy Efficiency Act - To House Government Organization then Finance

 

HB 3118          Del. Doyle - Relating to private developers constructing new water systems  - To House Political Subdivisions then Finance

 

HB 3141          Del. Fleischauer, M. Poling, T. Campbell, Barill, Manypenny, Caputo, Manchin, Michael and Wells - Requiring the Commissioner of Highways to require bonds be posted in connection with major construction, mineral extraction and industrial projects that impact the roads - To House Roads and Transportation then Finance

 

HB 3160          Savilla, Gearheart, Overington, Armstead, C. Miller, Kump, Carmichael and Andes - Transferring powers of construction and maintenance activities of parkways authority - To House Roads and Transportation then Government Organization

 

HB 3181          Del. Boggs, Cann, Barill and Mahan - Creating "The Prompt Pay Act of 2011” - To House Government Organization then Finance

 

HB 3201          Del. Doyle, Talbott, Moore, Williams, Mahan, Hamilton, Marshall, Barker and Lawrence - Increasing the number of commissioners on the Public Service Commission - To House Government Organization then Finance

 

HB 3210          Del. Miley, Caputo, Manchin, Staggers and Stephens - Creating the Consumer and Employee Arbitration Fairness Act - To House Energy, Industry and Labor, Economic Development and Small Business then Judiciary

 

HB 3224          Del. T. Campbell, Cann, Hall, Varner and Stowers - Removing annual credit cap for expansion projects - To House Finance

 

HB 3232          Del. Canterbury, Walters, Hamilton, Evans and Azinger - Relating to consumers sales tax on motor vehicles - To House Roads and Transportation then Finance

 

HB 3250          Del. Guthrie - Authorizing the School Building Authority to award grants or moneys to county and local library boards in connection with public library construction projects - To House Finance

 

HB 3262          Del. Manchin - Requiring persons engaged in natural gas horizontal well drilling activities to annually submit a report to the Department of Labor identifying the state of residency - To House Government Organization then Judiciary

 

HB 4006          Del. Manchin - Relating to elevator workers' licensure exemptions - To House Government Organization

 

HB 4040          Del. Kump -  Prohibiting employers and labor unions from requiring employees to become or remain members of labor unions as a condition of employment - To House Energy, Industry and Labor, Economic Development and Small Business then Judiciary

 

HB 4044          Del. Ashley and Manchin - Energy Efficient Building Act - To House Finance

 

HB 4061          Del. Frazier, Miley, Barker, Manypenny, Michael, Moore, Skaff, Ellem, Lane and C. Miller - Expediting the construction of a new one thousand two hundred bed correctional facility by the Division of Corrections - To House Judiciary

 

HB 4074          Del. Guthrie, Poore, Brown, Staggers, Miley, Manchin, Fragale, Brown, Marshall, Mahan, Poore and Longstreth - Giving bicycle, pedestrian and transit ways full consideration in the planning and development and redevelopment of state roads, railways and waterways - To House Roads and Transportation then Finance

 

SENATE BILLS

 

SR 3                 Sen. Beach, Plymale, Unger, Jenkins, Browning, Klempa, Williams and Kessler (Mr. President) - Recognizing importance of highway system and urging its funding  - To House Completed legislative action           

                                               

SB 15               Sen. McCabe, Foster and Klempa - Creating Energy Efficient Building Act  - To Senate Government Organization – To Senate Government Organization then Finance

                                               

SB 27               Sen. Foster, D. Facemire and Klempa - Relating to bidding preference for resident vendors and vendors employing state residents - To Senate Government Organization then Finance

                                               

SB 36               Sen. Klempa - Relating to disclosure requirements for public construction contracts - To Senate Labor then Judiciary

                                               

SB 37               Sen. Klempa and Foster - Requiring certain public works employees complete construction safety program - To Senate Labor then Government Organization

                                               

SB 72               Sen. Beach - Creating Safe and Efficient Parkways Act - To Senate Transportation and Infrastructure then Finance

                                               

SB 76               Sen. Unger - Relating to requirements for new facility projects of public agencies and projects receiving state funds - To Senate Government Organization then Finance

                                               

SB 85               Sen. Jenkins - Expanding counties covered by WV Route 2 and I-68 Authority  - To Senate Transportation and Infrastructure then Government Organization

                                               

SB 88               Sen. Jenkins, Williams, Klempa and Minard - Creating Jobs Impact Statement Act - To Senate Economic Development then Finance

                                               

SB 115             Sen. Yost, Miller and Klempa - Creating Keep Jobs in West Virginia Act - To Senate Labor then Government Organization

                                               

SB 125             Sen. Yost and Klempa - Creating State Labor Relations Act - To Senate Labor then Government Organization

                                               

SB 137             Sen. Snyder and Unger - Requiring certain lottery funds be used for public works projects  - To Senate Judiciary then Finance

                                               

SB 153             Sen. Klempa, Beach and Kessler (Mr. President) - Increasing tax credits for apprenticeship training in construction trades - To Senate Labor then Finance

                                               

SB 177             Sen. Foster, Browning, Fanning, Jenkins, Minard, Tucker, Wills, Barnes, K. Facemyer, Yost, Williams and Plymale - Affirming legislative intent for construction of state correctional facility - To Senate Judiciary

 

SB 179             Sen. Miller, Laird and Wills - Creating deadline for final wage payment of discharged employees  - To Senate Labor

                                               

SB 182             Sen. Kessler (Mr. President), Foster, Yost, Stollings, McCabe, Browning, Klempa, Miller and Wills - Creating West Virginia Future Fund  - To Senate Economic Development then Finance