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LB 2009 - 3

March 2, 2009

 

 

Much discussion in the legislature this week centered around the economic stimulus package and how the anticipated $1.6 billion in federal funds West Virginia is supposed to receive will be appropriated.  A select committee was formed by House leadership to review what federal funding will be available and how projects will be identified.  Transportation Secretary Paul Mattox and Gov. Manchin s Legislative Director Jim Pitrolo appeared before the committee this week.  They outlined the $210 million worth of stimulus projects identified by the WV Division of Highways, sometimes defending the selection process.  Legislators who do not have stimulus projects in their region were interested in why this was the case.  The CAWV was asked by committee members if there are enough contractors and workers to perform the additional work.  The association assured members that the industry is prepared to bid and perform the work as soon as projects are ready.  Committee Chairwoman Nancy Guthrie, D-Kanawha, asked if contractors would be increasing their prices due to a possible increase in projects.  CAWV spokesman Mike Clowser responded that material prices make up a large percentage of highway projects.  While material prices have declined over the last quarter, West Virginia contractors have no control over what national and international markets will do.  He also noted that WVDOH and the Federal Highway Administration will know almost immediately what is happening with prices.

 

There was little legislative action this week on H.B. 2336 and S.B. 246 that establish new employer-employee assessments to provide added funds for the states  Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund.  The West Virginia Chamber of Commerce has been meeting with legislative leaders to discuss the proposal and to highlight the substantial tax impact it will have on the state s employer community, particularly employers with high-wage employees.  The legislative proposal would create new employer-employee assessments, and the employer assessment would be based on gross wages. The chamber estimates that the proposed employer assessment in the bill could result in an estimated $80 million increase (per annum) on employers who have full-time workers.  The following table, which shows the impacts on different private-sector employers is reprinted from the February 24 WV Chamber Links.

 

 

 

Employees

Payroll

Assessment Tax Amount (annual)

Employer A

50

$1.25 million

$6,250

Employer A

50

$3.75 million

$18,750

 

 

 

 

Employer B

500

$12.5 million

$62,500

Employer B

500

$37.5 million

$187,500

 

 

 

 

Employer C

5,000

$125 million

$625,000

Employer C

5,000

$375 million

$1,875,000

 

Finally, in the Sunday, March 1, Charleston Gazette-Mail, statehouse reporter Phil Kabler wrote a humorous piece on the legislative process and how a bill becomes law.  The article at Error! Hyperlink reference not valid..

 

HOUSE COMMITTEE ADVANCES MANDATORY HEALTH INSURANCE BILL

 

The House Health and Human Resources Committee Wednesday passed out H.B. 2478 which requires contractors working on public improvement projects to show at least 80 percent of the employees working on the project are covered by a health insurance policy.  The bill now goes to the House Judiciary Committee for further consideration.  The CAWV has opposed this legislation for a number of years. Members will receive a Legislative Alert to inform them of the bill’s progress.

 

PREVAILING WAGE EXEMPTION BILL INTRODUCED

 

H.B. 2751 would exempt nonprofit corporations from paying prevailing wage rates.  There is usually a bill introduced that limits or repeals the state prevailing wage requirements for public construction.  The bill never advances. This bill is somewhat different in that is doesn t repeal prevailing wages on public works. Rather, prevailing wages would only by applicable on public projects estimated at $50,000 and above. Also different is that Father Thomas Acker has been waging a very vocal campaign to get the state Department of Labor to revamp how it performs wage rate surveys.  The bill is referred to Energy, Industry and Labor then Judiciary, which should effective kill the bill this session.

 

TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURE BANK LEGISLATION INTRODUCED

 

S.B. 328 and H.B. 2900 create the West Virginia Transportation Infrastructure Bank.  The purpose of the legislation, which other states have, is to create a fund that local governmental entities could utilize to fund local transportation projects.  S.B. 328 was voted out of Senate Transportation and Infrastructure Committee last week with a recommendation it does pass.  The Senate bill now goes to the committee on Finance.  The House bill has been referred to the Government Organization Committee with a second reference to 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.html.  Members can view daily 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 2768          Del. Overington, Schadler, Cowles, J. Miller, Andes, Blair, Shott, Carmichael and McGeehan-Exempting construction performed on behalf of educational authorities from prevailing wage requirements-To Energy, Industry and Labor, Economic Development and Small Business then Judiciary

 

HB 2771          Del. D. Poling, Hamilton, Ellem, Shook, Klempa, Hatfield and Miley-Including political subdivisions of West Virginia in the West Virginia Alcohol and Drug-Free Workplace Act-To Political Subdivisions then Judiciary

 

HB 2781          Del. Guthrie-Providing a tax credit to sawmills that become certified in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System (FN)-To Energy, Industry and Labor, Economic Development and Small Business then Finance.

 

HB 2784          Del. Overington, Blair, Carmichael, Schadler, Shott, Andes and J. Miller-Establishing prevailing hourly rates to be used in connection with the construction of public improvements-To Energy, Industry and Labor, Economic Development and Small Business then Judiciary

 

HB 2785          Del. Manchin, Beach, Doyle, Miley, D. Poling-Requiring that every house, dwelling or business located in an area where public water services are made available for the first time, be connected-To Political Subdivisions then Government Organization

HB 2844          Del. Ellem, D. Poling-Relating to the adoption of the 2008 National Electric Code-To Government Organization

 

HB 2845          Del. Doyle-Relating to the annexation of land by a municipality-To Political Subdivision then Judiciary

 

HB 2854          Del. Louisos and Butcher-Extending permanent total disability benefits to workers= compensation benefits claimants for life (FN)-To Judiciary then Finance     

 

HB 2863          Del. Manchin, White, Caputo, Morgan, M. Poling, M. Webster, Boggs, Fragale, Schadler and Perdue-Relating to construction of state utility projects-To Political Subdivisions then Government Organization

 

HB 2871          Del. Moye, Barker, M. Poling, Stephens, Campbell, Schoen, Rodighiero, D. Poling and Argento-Verifying legal employment status of workers-To Energy, Industry and Labor, Economic Development and Small Business then Judiciary

 

HB 2872          Del. Fleischauer, Shook, Marshall, Beach, Moye, Perry, Canterbury, Doyle, Hartman, Cowles and Susman-Allowing county school board to enter into energy-saving contracts-To Education then Judiciary

 

HB 2883          Del. Overington, Schadler, Cowles, J. Miller, Blair and Andes-West Virginia Right to Work Law-To Energy, Industry and Labor, Economic Development then Judiciary

 

HB 2887          Del. Fleischaeur, Staggers, Lawrence, Manypenny, Susman, Tabb, Talbott, Doyle, Eldridge and Hatfield-Stopping accelerated rate recovery because of adverse effects of construction transmission facilities-To Judiciary

 

HB 2892          Del. Doyle, Tabb, Michael, Ashley, Fleischauer, Hartman, Williams, Shaver, Campbell and Ross-Increasing any award of just compensation to a property owner for eminent domain takings by nongovernment entities-To Judiciary then Finance

 

HB 2894          Del. Frazier, Shott, Wooton, Sumner, Phillips, Campbell, Mahan, Guthrie, Moore, Perry and Crosier-Establishing tax credits for personal and commercial users of the West Virginia Turnpike (FN)-To Finance

 

HB 2900          Del. Stephens, Swartzmiller, C. Miller, Cowles, J. Miller, Boggs, Cann, Barker, Kominar and Klempa-Creating the West Virginia Transportation Infrastructure Bank-To Government Organization then Finance

 

SENATE BILLS

 

SB 342             Sen. Snyder and Unger-Updating requirements for new subdivision highway access-To Transportation and Infrastructure then Finance

 

SB 353             Sen. Minard, Fanning, Prezioso, Unger, Boley and K. Facemyer-Authorizing Fire Commission promulgate legislative rules relating to standards for certification and continuing education of municipal, county and other public building code officials, building code inspectors and plans examiners-To Finance then Judiciary

 

SB 354             Sen. Minard, Fanning, Prezioso, Unger, Boley and K. Facemyer-Authorizing State Fire Marshall promulgate legislative rule relating to supervision of fire protection work-To Finance then Judiciary

 

SB 364             Sen. Minard, Fanning, Prezioso, Unger, Boley and K. Facemyer-Authorizing Bureau of Commerce promulgate legislative rule relating to supervision of elevator mechanics and apprentices-To Labor, then Finance, then Judiciary

 

SB 371             Sen. McCabe, Prezioso and Caruth-Creating Energy Efficient Building Act (FN)-To Transportation and Infrastructure then Finance

 

SB 390             Sen. Unger, Stollings, Green, Snyder and Barnes-Continuing Highway Design-Build Pilot Program-Transportation and Infrastructure then Finance

 

SB 410             Sen. Tomblin (Mr. President) and Caruth [By Request of the Executive]-Updating terms in Corporation Net Income Tax Act (FN)-To Finance

 

SB 413             Sen. Prezioso, Foster, Jenkins and Stollings-Creating temporary tax credit for certain small group employers (FN) (IB)-To Finance