Deregulatory Efforts Continue
On October 17, 2018, the Trump Administration unveiled its Fall 2018 Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions mapping out federal agencies’ priorities for the coming months. This bi-annual publication informs the public of regulatory or de-regulatory actions under consideration or planned by federal agencies. The present agenda includes several submissions with implications for construction contractors, included in this story.
Labor (Click here for full article)
The U.S. Department of Labor’s submission updates projected timelines for action already in progress and adds several new actions of relevance to construction contractors, such as a:
- proposed rule revising the overtime regulations;
- proposed rule to update the regulations governing apprenticeship programs;
- proposed rule to revise the law governing time-and-a-half overtime calculations by redefining the regular rate of pay;
- proposed rule expanding the usage of HRA’s;
- proposed rule establishing criteria for the sponsorship of association retirement plans; and a
- proposed rule to clarify the joint employer standard under FLSA.
Environment (Click here for full article)
On the environmental side:
- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is still working to repeal and replace the 2015 Waters of the United States Rule and anticipates finalizing the repeal in March 2019, releasing the proposed replacement rule this fall and finalizing that rule approximately a year later in 2019 (with the Army Corps of Engineers). The agency also plans to take final action of many issues on which AGC commented this year, such as dust-lead hazard standards. Looking ahead, the agency will update its stormwater programs, look at sections 401 and 404 of the Clean Water Act, and review national ambient air quality standards.
- In March 2019, the Corps plans to propose revisions to the rules covering the review and approval of mitigation banks and in-lieu fee programs for compensatory mitigation.
- Fish and Wildlife Service intends to propose in December 2018 revisions to the regulations that implement section 10 of the ESA re: permit issuance for the take of endangered/threatened species. The Service also intends to streamline the permitting process for rights-of-way, address incidental take under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and further revise its regulations for the designation of critical habitat.
- The Council on Environmental Quality will propose in February 2019 updates to the existing CEQ regulations implementing the procedural requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) re: the environmental review process pursuant to Executive Order 13807.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) indicates that it is considering a change in its current regulations that discourage states from including proprietary products in construction specifications on Federally-assisted projects and may propose streamline procedures for using patented and proprietary products.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) indicates that it is considering revising certain provisions in its Hours of Service rules and is seeking public input and data that the agency could use in a future proposal. AGC has already provided input to FMCSA on this request and will continue to pursue a construction exemption from the HOS rules.
The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Council is also looking to put out several rules impacting contractors, including:
- FAR Case 2018-003, Credit for Lower-Tier Small Business Subcontracting will allow large businesses to receive small business subcontracting credit for subcontracts that their subcontractors award to small businesses.
- FAR Case 2016-005, Effective Communication between Government and Industry, encourages agency acquisition personnel to talk to industry.
- FAR Case 2017-004, Use of Acquisition 360 to Encourage Vendor Feedback, will address soliciting contractor feedback on how well agencies are doing in awarding and administering contracts. This will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of agency acquisition activities.
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