A Message From the Director
Dear ABC Members,
There are currently thousands of available jobs that can’t be filled. Career technical pathways are less expensive than a four-year college education and research and opinion pieces exist ad nausea to support this claim. However, high school students interested in learning more about the construction trades can’t currently get a summer job on a construction site if they are under eighteen years of age.
It is therefore with great interest that ABC is following HB 551, a bill that would allow 16 and 17 year-olds that are not affiliated with a specific school-related program in the trades, to work in construction-related jobs during the summer. An employer would be required to provide all participants with appropriate safety training prior to working.
ABC Central Ohio member Mick Given, CEO of Ferguson Construction, and ABC of Ohio lobbyist Bryan Williams provided proponent testimony.
Underground Damage Prevention
ABC Central Ohio lobbyist, Bryan Williams, attended a meeting to discuss possible updates to Ohio’s three-year-old underground damage prevention law. Nearly fifty other interested parties attended. Agreement could not be reached on the necessity of new legislation. ABC of Ohio, along with the Associated General Contractors and Ohio Contractors Association expressed opposition because a clear problem or solution was not evident. ABC will continue to monitor the topic as it moves forward.
Among partisan Ohio voters, Democrat-affiliated voters grew 165,432 to a current total of 1.4 million. Republican-affiliated voters grew 60,162 to a current total of 2.1 million. Over half of Ohio’s 7.6 million registered voters are not partisan affiliated.
Last week, more than 500 ABC members came to Washington, D.C., for meetings with top administration and congressional leaders on the issues that impact the merit shop construction industry at both the federal and state levels. Attendees heard from speakers including Fox News Chief Political Anchor Bret Baier, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, and U.S. House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx.
ABC Executive Committee also had a very successful meeting with President Trump, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin, and Senior Adviser to the President Ivanka Trump, to discuss the critical issues facing ABC members.
On Wednesday, the Senate Health, Education Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee passed its bill to reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act. The House passed its ABC supported version of the bill last year with broad bipartisan support and ABC is continuing to push for the full Senate consideration of the bill before the end of the year.
Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against public-sector unions in Janus v. AFSCME Council 31 in a 5-4 ruling that ends compelled union dues for non-union-member public employees.
The Supreme Court vacancy will shuffle the Senate’s schedule and become the number one priority this summer and fall. Having failed to effectively address immigration, Republicans in the House will turn to continuing the appropriations process.
The House Appropriations Committee has released 11 of the 12 spending measures, with Homeland Security still outstanding, and the Appropriations panel in the Senate has completed work on seven bills. Both Houses have passed four of their appropriations bills.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell previously canceled most of the traditional August recess, citing need for action on spending bills, among other priorities. Senate Republicans are considering bringing bundles of two bills to the floor at a time. Newly appointed Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) has made significant efforts to keep the process on track in the Senate, and has expressed his intent to continue to work on the appropriations bills in a bipartisan fashion.
The Bipartisan Budget Act increased the spending caps for fiscal 2018 and 2019, which increases odds of a deal since Congress knows how much it can spend. Despite movement in committees and on the floor, significant challenges remain, including funding for the President’s border wall and treatment of DACA recipients.
Further, being an election year complicates matters significantly, and a continuing resolution remains likely for funding the government past the September 30, 2018 deadline.