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Legislative and Regulatory Agenda

Legislative and Regulatory Agenda

Legislative Issues

Below is a list of updated issues and activities related to the full ASA Legislative Agenda.

IMPACT Energy Act

This bill will establish a nonprofit foundation that will engage with the private sector to raise funds that support the creation, development, and commercialization of innovative technologies that address tomorrow’s energy challenges. The foundation would serve as the ideal framework to organize, connect, and lead such a diverse group of partners. This would bridge the gap between DOE and other federal agencies.

Infrastructure

Infrastructure will most likely be a bi-partisan win for the 116th Congress. When thinking about infrastructure, most people think of roads and transportation, but buildings are an important and essential part of infrastructure too. Including what goes into the buildings, such as plumbing and heating and cooling. As the next Congress goes into offices ASA has been meeting with congressional offices to ensure that resilient buildings do not get left when coming to the table for the BIG infrastructure bill that will be coming in 2019.

On January 28, 2019, ASA signed onto a letter sent by The Clean Water Council to House and Senate 116th Congress Leadership, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

On March 4, 2019 ASA again joined other organizations in sending a letter to the Honorable Peter DeFazio, Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure expressing our support for the Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act.

Marketplace Fairness- South Dakota v. Wayfair Guidance

This case was a win for brick and mortar businesses. In a 5-4 decision by the Supreme Court, states may now charge sales tax to out of state businesses. Even without a physical presence in the state. However, Congress has still not implemented any type of guidance for companies selling out of state. If you are still looking for guidance on this issue, see a state by state chart and analysis of the sales tax rules or contact Catherine Treadwell, J.D., Director of Government Relations at ctreadwell@asa.net.

Tax Reform

As independent, small-and medium-sized businesses, as well as national wholesaler-distributers and manufacturers, members of ASA support tax reform that recognizes the diversity in our economy and the need to encourage growth through a business friendly environment.

Business Interest Expense

ASA has submitted comments of concern related to proposed amendment to §163(j) by placing additional limitations on the deduction of the business interest expense for taxpayers and expanding the group of taxpayers to which it applies. The new §163(j) that applies through the end of 2021 would limit the formula to exclude depreciation and amortization. This would make the amount that businesses could deduct even smaller. This proposed IRS formula would essentially go beyond an EBITDA formula and would immensely affect ASA members’ tax liability in a negative manner.

Trade-USMCA

President Trump signed the Unites States Mexica Canada Agreement on November 30, 2018. The agreement is a trilateral trade agreement with the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. The agreement will account for $1.2 Trillion in trade. This modernized agreement is essential part of securing a stronger trade deal for the United States economy and jobs. North American market is the biggest market for U.S. exports in the world. However, Congress still needs to review and ratify the agreement. ASA calls on Congress to act NOW, to review the USMCA before January. Read ASA’s letter of support for President Trump’s negotiation and signing of the USMCA.

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) released a new manufacturing one-pager that underscores the importance of congressional passage of the USMCA to restore certainty, promote U.S. manufacturing growth, compete globally and support millions of well-paying manufacturing jobs.

Transportation—The Drive Safe Act

Transportation has been a huge issue for ASA members. There are several reasons that transportation issues have effected companies, but the lack of truck drivers available has plagued almost every industry across the U.S. The Drive Safe Act will allow 18-21 year olds to drive intrastate and interstate, with an additional 400 hours of training. This would create more truck driving jobs and help alleviate the pressure and burdens on the PHCP and PVF industry that ASA members are currently facing, pertaining to transportation.

ASA Advocacy met with Senator Manchin to ask him so Co-Sponsor the Senate version of the bill. He has since agreed to be one of the democrat co-sponsors. The House (H.R. 1374) and Senate (S. 569) have both dropped versions of the Drive Safe Act. ASA Advocacy is currently meeting with democrats on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in districts where ASA has members. Please check back for updates.

We Need Your Help!

The Drive Safe Act is now being considered by the Senate and House. Please go to the ASA Grassroots page and contact your State Senators and House Representative asking them to support the Act.

The following is being provided as additional resources and background related to the Drive Safe Act:

Workforce Development

ASA supports more investment in applied technology training to return craft education to our schools and to encourage the next generation to join our workforce.

The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act was signed by President Trump on July 31, 2018. This act reforms and reauthorizing the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, which authorizes $1.2 billion for career and technical education in FY 2019, up from $1.1 billion in 2017. Funding for the next five years is authorized to rise modestly, reaching $1.3 billion in FY 2024. The law will take effect on July 1, 2019. This was a step in the right direction for The Administration and Congress. However, it is a long way from being finished.

ASA Opposes the PRO Act—Protecting the Right To Organize

The House may vote on H.R.2474, the Protecting the Right To Organize (PRO) Act, as soon as this June. The bill attempts to implement a number of highly contentious policies from the Obama administration that have been struck down by courts, opposed on a bipartisan basis in Congress, or have been abandoned by the federal agencies charged with implementing them. These include, but are not limited to, codifying the Obama-era joint- employer standard into law, banning right-to-work laws, forcing union representation without an election, and undermining independent contractor status.

The PRO Act treads on employee rights and ignores the consequences of making radical changes to well established law by taking away rights to employee privacy and association, destroys businesses, and threatens entire industries.

In anticipation of this vote, ASA Advocacy has signed onto a letter written by the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace that will be sent to every Representative.

Regulatory Issues

US EPA Requests Public Input for Development of National Water Reuse Action Plan

ASA is actively engaged in regulatory activities related to water reuse. The increased use of rainwater and stormwater catchment systems and systems intended to recycle gray and blackwater is becoming more prevalent in both residential and commercial settings. Jim Kendzel, ASAs Vice President of Advocacy, chairs a task group looking at these issues and has also been actively engaged in developing comments related to the US EPAs request for public input related to the development of a national water reuse action plan. The first set of comments submitted to the US EPA, under the Plumbing Industry Leadership Coalition, which ASA participates, relates to a request for the development of common terminology. Additional comments are currently being prepared.

California Proposition 65

On August 31, 2018 the new Clear and Reasonable Warnings of Proposition 65 went into effect.

To assist are members, the following is being provided on the new Clear and Reasonable Warning requirements and the impact it has on are members who distribute product in the State of California or distribute product on the internet to consumers located in the State of California:

ASA May 2019 Webinar: Proposition 65—Clear and Reasonable Labeling, Background and Updates

The expert presenters on the webinar are:

  • Judith Praitis, J.D.: Partner in Sidley’s Los Angeles office, head of the Sidley West Coast Environmental practice group and a global co-leader of the firm’s Environmental practice
  • Randy Massie: Ferguson Enterprises, Inc., Senior Manager Product Quality & Compliance, Ferguson Enterprises—Corporate Headquarters

Overview of the New Requirements

ASA is committed to keeping our members informed on the implementation of this new regulation. Please contact Jim Kendzel at jkendzel@asa.net with your questions or feedback.

Wayfair vs. South Dakota—Internet Sales Tax

This case was a win for brick and mortar businesses. In a 5-4 decision by the Supreme Court, states may now charge sales tax to out of state business, even without a physical presence in that state. However, Congress has not implemented any type of guidance for companies selling out of state. If you are still looking for guidance on this issue, see a state by state chart and analysis of the sales tax rules or contract Catherine Treadwell, JD., Director of Government Affairs at ctreadwell@asa.net.

Proposed Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRA’S)

Together the Department of Labor, Health and Human Services, and the Treasury Department proposed a new regulation that would expand the use of Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRA’s) in a way that would help individual selected and portable health coverage.

The proposed regulation does several things. It is open to all employers, there are tax advantages, reimbursement for certain qualified medical expenses, and it mitigates risk by implanting safe guards.

The regulation includes all employers. Most small businesses that offer coverage, only offer one type, by eliminating the administration burdens this regulation could change that and potentially help employers be able to offer more choices for employers.

It also would extend tax advantages like exclusions or premiums and benefits received from federal income and payroll taxes to HRA’s of individual market insurance premiums.

The proposed regulation expands the usability of health reimbursement arrangements in a way that gives working Americans and their families greater control over their healthcare by providing an additional way for employers to finance quality, affordable health insurance. Read the full brief prepared by Catherine Treadwell, J.D., Director of Government Affairs.

Overtime Rule Changes

The Department of Labor is examining changes to The Fair Labor Standards Act exceptions for overtime pay. The current threshold is set at $27,000, meaning that anyone who makes more than that in a year and is considered to be an executive, administrative, or a professional, is exempt from the current overtime pay laws.

However, in 2016, the Obama Administration under the DOL, issued a new rule that increased the salary threshold for the exemption from $23,600 to $47,474 per a year, but it was enjoined in federal court during the official rule making process. In July 2017 the DOL issued a Request for Information and is currently holding listening sessions where companies can come and comment publically.

Read the full brief prepared by Catherine Treadwell, J.D., Director of Government Relations. If you or your company would like to let the DOL know how these changes could affect you, please email Catherine at ctreadwell@asa.net.

Joint Employer Standard

On September 24, 2018 the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) released a Notice of Proposed Rule Making for the Joint Employer Standard. The Joint Employer Standard is used to determine when two or more entities are jointly liable for the terms and conditions of employment over the same group of employers, such as ability to hire, fire, and supervise employers.

Under the current rule, the joint employer liability triggers on indirect or even unexpected potential control over the terms and conditions of employment. This opens up joint liability for companies even if it was not intended.. The NLRB trying to change the rule back to the pre 2015 era, which would prevent third parties from being liable. The joint employer standard would only trigger with direct control over the employee. Read the full brief prepared by Catherine Treadwell, J.D., Director of Government Affairs.

The NLRB is accepting comments through January 28, 2019 ASA has signed on to the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace comments, as well as, submitted our own comments. Please contact Catherine Treadwell, Director of Government Affairs at ctreadwell@asa.net with any questions.

OSHA Tracking and Workforce Inquiries and Illnesses Proposed Rule

On September 28, 2018 ASA submitted comments on the proposed OSHA rule, Tracking of Workforce Inquiries and Illnesses. In addition to ASA submitting comments expressing concern about the proposed rule, the ASA has also signed on to additional letters being submitted by the National Association of Manufactures (NAM) and the Coalition for Workforce Safety which support the comments directly noted in the ASA letter.

Short-Haul Hours of Service

On October 10, 2018 ASA submitted comments of the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration proposed rules related to drivers hours of service (HOS). ASA opposes the proposed rules due to lack of flexibility, potential safety issues and additional transportation costs associated proposed action.

Overview of the New Requirements

ASA is committed to keeping our members informed on the implementation of this new regulation. Please contact Jim Kendzel at jkendzel@asa.net with your questions or feedback.

OSHA Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses Proposed Rule

On September 28, 2018 ASA submitted comments on the proposed OSHA rule, Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses. In addition to ASA submitting comments expressing concern about the proposed rule, the ASA has also signed on to additional letters being submitted by the National Association of Manufactures (NAM) and the Coalition for Workplace Safety which support the comments directly noted in the ASA letter.

On Jan. 25, OSHA published the final rule modifying the Obama OSHA’s regulation requiring employers to submit their forms 300, 301 and 300A employee injury/illness annual summaries. The new rule drops the obligation for employers of 250 or more employees to submit forms 300 and 301, but retains the requirement to submit the 300A annual summary (and employers with 20 or more employees but less than 250 in certain industries including construction must submit 300As, too). It also adds a requirement that employers submit their Employer Identification Number with Form 300A. Please note the 300 and 301 forms will still need to be kept on site for five years, in case of OSHA inspection.

Short-Haul Hours of Service

On October 10, 2018 ASA submitted comments of the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration proposed rules related to drivers hours of service (HOS). ASA opposes the proposed rules due to lack of flexibility, potential safety issues and additional transportation costs associated proposed action.

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