On Thursday, June 1st NUCA’s Young Professionals Committee hosted two jobsite tours for some of UW’s Construction Management students. Shane Webley and Ashley
Baldwin of NUCA hosted tours of Flatiron’s SR 520 West Approach Bridge North project in Seattle along with Johansen’s NE Spring Blvd Multi-Modal Corridor Zone 1B project in Bellevue.
Tom McMillan with Flatiron gave a great tour of the SR 520 project showing various scopes of work including dismantling of the temporary trestle, construction
of the expansion joints, pouring concrete for the barriers, electrical work and preparing the deck for grinding. He gave a great overview of what took place during different phases of construction while also informing the students about working within the
budgets, the number of crews and subcontractors, environmental constraints and safety requirements.
Following the SR 520 tour the group went to Bellevue for lunch at the Crab Pot where Ashley and Shane discussed NUCA of WA and our members, the scholarships available,
and working in the civil construction industry.
After lunch Shane took the group down the street to Johansen’s NE Spring Blvd project where the group got an opportunity to observe ongoing SEW, bridge, and earthwork
operations. Sam Nelson with Johansen gave a tour of the project and discussed ongoing SEW, bridge, earthwork, and utility operations. Emphasis was placed on NUCA and its members who are delivering important, and challenging projects in and around the greater
Overall the students were very interested in NUCA and genuinely interested in learning more about the Organization. Opportunities for increasing NUCA awareness
through participation in their upcoming UWCM Golf Tournament, Career Fair, and potential guest lecture regarding Dig Safe training in the Heavy Civil class this coming fall were identified.
The NUCA Young Professionals group coordinated a project site tour of the I-90 Snoqualmie Pass East project with some of Central Washington University’s Construction Management students and faculty. Ashley Baldwin and Matt Frause have been working with CWU to organize a field trip of this project in conjunction with KLB & Atkinson who are the primary contractors. Our goal is to connect with college students and make them aware of NUCA and aware of the contractors who are affiliated with NUCA in Washington. CWU is one of few colleges who have a construction management major with a Civil-specific focus and classes about utilities and other underground construction.
This field trip was made successful by representatives from Atkinson and KLB; specifically, Jason Cadle of KLB. 12 students and faculty met on the Snoqualmie Pass summit in Atkinson’s project office where we introduced ourselves, met the students, informed them about the project and NUCA. From here, we all boarded a bus and toured the project.
These students were exposed to a wide variety of live work as well as the history behind the project. Additionally, they got to interact with many members of the crews and project staff.
Types of work happening while onsite:
- Concrete Girders were set early in the morning prior to our arrival but everyone was able to walk underneath where the temporary timber soffit was installed for accessing closure pours, etc
- MSE concrete facing walls were being built. One of the facing walls is 57ft above the east bound lane. This will be the new west bound lane
- Excavating, grading, (moving material in haul trucks)
- Reusing materials onsite (rock, aggregate, wood chips, etc) There is very little import or export of material on this project. All concrete was crushed, blast rock was crushed and used under roads, wall backfill, shoulder ballast, gravel borrow, CSBC, CSTC
- Storm structure installation
There was other work occurring but these were the primary activities.
Following the site tour, we all met for a late lunch which provided opportunities for questions from the students, project questions for KLB & Atkinson, and questions about NUCA.
Overall it was a great opportunity for all of us. We have made a small stride in introducing NUCA to CWU and we will continue this effort with other schools and young professionals.
Ashley Baldwin, Jason Lane and I accompanied the students with Jason Cadle/KLB & Jeff Anderson/Atkinson.
A link to the overall project details can be found below.
Following the record-setting duration of the 2015 legislative sessions that lasted nearly six months, including three special sessions, it was universally believed that the Legislature would get its business done during the “short” sixty-day session this year. Most of this belief was based on the fact that in 2015 the Legislature passed a record $38.2 billion two-year budget that was 15 percent greater than the previous biennial budget, and also passed a record $16 billion transportation revenue package. These major accomplishments, combined with the widely held believe that “short” sessions are designed to address emergencies, made it reasonable to assume the session would conclude on time.
Unfortunately, after sixty days, the divided House and Senate were miles apart in their respective budget proposals. Despite the historic increase in spending in 2015, House Democrats proposed $467 million in additional spending. This included $120 million in new taxes and dipping into the state’s emergency reserve account by $340 million; a very dangerous prospect should the economy see any downturn. For its part, the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus (25 R, 1 D) proposed only $47 million in increased spending, primarily to make adjustments for changed circumstances since the 2015 two-year budget was passed.
Governor Inslee, who supported the House Democrat’s budget proposal, reacted to the legislative inaction by taking the unprecedented step of vetoing 27 of 37 bills that had arrived on his desk prior to the end of the regular session. His expressed intent was to both punish the Legislature for its lack of progress, as well as leverage it to pass a supplemental budget in the face of future veto threats. These actions were largely dismissed by legislators as being meaningless in terms of advancing the budget negotiating process, noting the only result was to hurt innocent parties that had worked hard to get their priority bills through the Legislature.
NUCA of WA’s Legislative Activity
For NUCA of WA, the 2016 session went as planned. With a divided legislature it was expected that no controversial measures would pass, which is largely good because there are typically more bills harmful to our industry than not. The following includes an overview of bills that we worked to defeat as well as an update on Department of Transportation, minimum wage and climate change issues.
Bad Bills Affecting Construction Specifically that Did Not Pass
HB 1231 – Requiring all prevailing wage rates be established by collective bargaining agreements.
HB 2385 – Imposing carbon emissions limitations on asphalt production.
HB 2803 – Imposing a $500 penalty and debarment strike for not posting a statement of intent to pay prevailing wages.
HB 2818 – Implementing additional covered load requirements.
HB 2844 – Requiring contractor training on prevailing wage as responsible-bidder criteria.
HB 2845 – Extending time-limits for recovery of unpaid prevailing wages.
HB 2933 – Increasing bid limits for small works roster and limited public works projects.
HB 2953 – Increasing bid limits for first class cities.
Human Resource Bills – The following issue areas had one or more bills in the Legislature that DID NOT PASS:
Minimum Wage Increase; Safe and Sick Leave; Employee Anti-retaliation; Accommodation for Pregnancy; Equal Pay/Pay Equity; Paid Vacation; and all Workers’ Compensation Bills.
Specific Issues of Interest
Secretary of Transportation Fired
On Friday, February 5, 2016, the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus (MCC) voted down the confirmation of Secretary of Transportation Lynn Peterson; effectively firing her. The MCC claimed that Peterson had not shown adequate leadership in managing Washington’s mega-transportation projects, most recently the tolling lanes on I-405, and did not have confidence in her ability to manage projects to be funded with last year’s $16 billion transportation revenue package. Peterson’s termination caught the Governor’s office by surprise, and currently the state’s three largest agencies, Transportation, Corrections and DSHS, do not have permanent department heads.
While no minimum wage bill survived the regular session, Initiative 1433 has been filed and signatures are being gathered to place it on the November ballot. I-1433 would raise the minimum wage to $13.50 over 4 years and would require employers to pay sick leave at a rate of 1 hour for every 40 hours worked. At this time there is conflicting polling information regarding the initiative’s chances for success.
Placing limitations on carbon emissions has been Governor Inslee’s number one priority since taking office. During this time, he has promoted legislation that would impose a cap and trade carbon marketing program as well as legislation imposing a carbon tax. In addition, the Governor threatened to create a Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) by executive order. The cap and trade and carbon tax bills have not been able to garner enough support in the legislature to pass. In addition, the LCFS by executive order was thwarted by a “poison pill” in last year’s transportation revenue package that would have diverted all transit relating funding to the highway construction account if the Governor continued down that path.
Following the failure of his first three proposals, the Governor directed the Department of Ecology to impose a carbon cap by rule. However, following nine months of activity, Ecology has withdrawn the rule and will be starting over. It is hoped Ecology realized the underlying proposal would be too costly while providing only marginal benefit to overall carbon reductions.
Finally, there is a carbon cap and trade initiative on the November ballot. I-732 is modeled after a similar program in British Columbia. By design it is supposed to be revenue neutral by off-setting increased fuel prices with a reduction in the State sales tax and the manufacturing B&O tax. However, review from the State Office of Financial Management indicates it would result in a billion-dollar deficit to the State each year. As a result of this negative impact, it is anticipated the measure will have a tough go in November.
State government rarely takes a break and most of what it does is not to the benefit to our industry. So we remain vigilant. Looking ahead, we will be closely monitoring the November general election as all 98 seats in the House of Representatives and 24 of 49 seats in the Senate are up for election. We will continue to support candidates that understand and support our industry and will recommend endorsements of candidates to NUCA of WA members
As always, if your company has an issue that might require a legislative solution or other involvement from the NUCA of WA Legislative Committee, please let us know. We are here to serve you.
David Ducharme, NUCA of WA Chief Lobbyist and Robert Marconi, Chair, NUCA of WA’s Legislative Committee
Thank you to everyone who came out and enjoyed our annual golf tournament at The Washington National Golf Course in Auburn. We had a terrific turnout and look forward to doing it again next year!
Congratulations to the following teams and golfers!
1st Place (Scored 56)—Team 1A (Pat Scoccolo (SCI Infrastructure), Travis Scoccolo, Robby Hopkins (SCI Infrastructure), Ted Hentschell (Hentschell & Associates)
2nd Place (Scored 57)—Team 17A Goodfellow Bros., Inc. (Ryan Phelan, Erin Redmond, Billy VanBerkom, and Joey Merrill)
3rd Place (Scored 57)—Team 12B (Scott Newton (Northwest Linings & Geotextile Products, Inc), Brett Holmstrom (Northwest Linings & Geotextile Products, Inc.), Mike Hemphill (Roberts Johns & Hemphill, PLLC), and Ryan McBride (Scarsella Bros. Inc)
Putting Contest Winner—Chris DeGrazia (CNA)
Eagle Contest Winner—Team 18A, Glenn Watkins (HD Supply Waterworks), Mike Waldner (Karvel Construction), Joey Taylor (HD Supply Waterworks), Jim Henricks (BDZ Construction)
Closest to the Pin Winner (Men’s)—Ryan Phelan (Goodfellow Bros. Inc)
Closest to the Pin Winner (Women’s)—Erin Redmond (Goodfellow Bros. Inc)
Longest Drive Winner (Men’s)—Sean Fallows (Philadelphia Insurance)
Longest Drive Winner (Women’s)—Cindy Jaeger (Oldcastle Precast)
Thank you to those who attended the NUCA Washington Summit at our nation’s capital last month. Take a look at the photos we took! Described as one of the most productive “Hill Days” that we can remember. Lots of meetings with so many of our actual Members of Congress! Enjoy the slide show below!
The 2014 legislative session opened for business on Monday, January 13th and is scheduled to run for 60 days. Unlike last year where lawmakers worked in excess of 160 days through one regular and three special sessions, it is anticipated the Legislature will complete its work on time. This is largely due to the fact that the 2013 legislature was ultimately able to pass a bi-partisan budget critical for funding state operations over the next two fiscal years with no projected budget deficits.
The composition of the Legislature changed slightly since last year. The House remains the same at 54 democrats to 44 republicans, but the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus (MCC) added one new member. Jan Angel (R) defeated incumbent Nathan Schlicher (D) in a 16thdistrict special election in November. This gave the MCC a 26 (24R – 2D) member majority over the remaining 23 democrats. Given this dynamic, any controversial bills, good or bad, will likely not pass this year. On an historic note, the 2014 Legislature has seen an unusual influx of new members given 2013 was an off-election year. Fully 10 percent of the House and Senate are new members due to retirements, resignations and special elections.
NUCA WA Legislative Priorities
County Venue Provisions
State law provides that any lawsuit by or against a county may be filed in that county or in either of the nearest two judicial districts. However, several county public owners have stipulated in public works contracts that any action brought by a contractor must be brought in the county of the public owner.
NUCA WA has two bills introduced in the Legislature (HB 2602 and SB 6384) that would void any contract provision restricting an action against a county to the superior court of that county and not allow a contractor to file a lawsuit in an adjacent county or judicial district.
While we have these two bills in the legislative system we have not yet been able to get either scheduled for a public hearing. Given the short term of the 60 day session we may not be able to move these bills much further this year, but will keep working to get them scheduled prior to the first deadline on February 7th.
Public Works Trust Fund
In 2013 the legislature diverted the majority of the PWTF and its revenue sources into the state general fund. NUCA WA has joined with local governments, labor and the business community to fight back and restore the PWTF. The following three pieces of legislation have been introduced this year to accomplish this purpose:
HB 2244 – Restoring Resources to the Capital Budget
This bill will restore revenue streams to the Public Works Assistance Account in 2015 that were diverted by the 2013 Legislature.
HJR 4215 – Requiring all revenues from any state taxes levied for the purpose of funding local government public infrastructure to be paid into the state treasury, deposited into the public works assistance account, and used exclusively for funding local government public works projects.
Proposes a Constitutional amendment requiring revenues from any state taxes levied to fund local government public infrastructure to be deposited into the Public Works Assistance Account and used only to fund local public works projects.
- Authorizes legislative appropriations from the Public Works Assistance Account only to fund local government public works projects, unless the monies are appropriated for another purpose by a two-thirds vote of each house.
SB 6120 – Funding the Public Works Assistance Account.
This bill is similar to HB 2244, but restores the PWFT revenue stream beginning in 2017 as opposed to 2015.
A transportation revenue package remains a key topic of discussion but it seems as though the parties are not getting any closer to a solution. As the 2014 elections become more visible on the horizon, fewer legislators are showing interest in taking a gas tax vote; particularly in light of continuing headlines highlighting Department of Transportation failures in delivering projects on time and on budget. In addition, there is concern governor Inslee will issue an executive order implementing greenhouse gas emissions standards estimated to add an average on one dollar per gallon to the price of fuel. Both parties agree such a maneuver would be the end of any transportation package.
HB 2208 – Civil Construction on GC/CM Projects
Modifies self-performed work provisions by General Contractor/Construction Managers for heavy civil construction work. Allows a GC/CM to self-perform as a negotiated amount up to 50% of the cost of the work, and to bid on other portions of the work agreed to with the owner, provided that at least 30% of the work is publicly bid.
This bill was brought by the Capital Project Advisory Review Board as consensus legislation and has been endorsed by NUCA.
Other Bills of Interest
There have been several bills introduced into the legislature dealing with public works contracting this session. Most of them are supported by either one party or the other which means they are controversial and will likely not pass the politically split House and Senate. They are attached for your review and you may click on their respective links should you wish further information.
These bills would increase bid limits for water-sewer districts from $20K to $90K. NUCA WA will oppose. No hearings have been scheduled at this time.
HB 2299 – Permitting local governments to opt out of prevailing wage requirements.
This bill would allow local governments to opt-out of prevailing wage requirements for projects under $5 million. NUCA WA will monitor but generally does not support measures that would create a patch work of regulatory requirements differing from one jurisdiction to another. ACG opposes this legislation.
These bills would exempt from public disclosure proposals and documents submitted on GC/CM, Design-Build and Job Order Contracts prior to a contract being entered into. Because a contractor loses any right to challenge the award of a public works contract once the contract is entered into, exempting disclosure of these documents prior to the award would be harmful.
SB 6186 – Relaxing apprenticeship utilization requirements.
- For WSDOT public works projects, the cost trigger for apprentice utilization requirements is changed from $2 million to $4 million, and the apprentice utilization rate is changed from 15 to 13 percent of the labor hours.The language directing the Secretary of Transportation to establish an apprenticeship utilization advisory committee and report back to the Legislature by January 1, 2008, is removed.
L&I must provide registered contractors the option of completing a wage survey electronically.
These bills would require that wage surveys be submitted mandatorily from a random sample of contractors for purposes of establishing prevailing wage for all scope of work classifications (as opposed to making the determination based on those who voluntarily submit wage information). NUCA will support these bills.
HB 2209 – Improving the accuracy of the prevailing rate of wage.
Provides that the Department of Labor and Industries may use only data from nonpublic works in establishing the prevailing rate of wage.
HB 2527 – Requiring union wage rates to establish prevailing wage.
Requires the prevailing wage rate to be established by adopting the hourly wage, usual benefits, and overtime pay established in collective bargaining agreements for trades and occupations that have collective bargaining agreements. This is a bad bill. NUCA will oppose.
HB 2331 – Requiring certified payroll records on public works.
Requires contractors and subcontractors on public works projects to submit certified payroll records to the awarding agency before any payment or final payment is made or retainage is released to the contractor. This bill creates a new burden under a system that already requires the filing of an affidavit of wages paid. NUCA will oppose.
HB 2332 – Providing damages for wage violations.
- Provides that an employer that unlawfully collects a rebate from an employee’s wages or willfully pays an employee lower wages than required is liable for triple damages, rather than double, in a civil action.
- Removes the provision in the damages statute that bars an employee from obtaining higher damages if the employee knowingly submitted to the wage violation.
This is a bad bill. NUCA will oppose.
This is just a summary of some of the key issues being addressed in the legislature by the NUCA Legislative Committee. Should you have any questions or would like to provide feedback, please feel free to contact Dave Ducharme at: firstname.lastname@example.org