Legislative Update by Richard Markuson, PHCC Lobbyist

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Governmental Affairs

Drought Response

Toilets and faucets sold in California starting next year will have to meet low-flow efficiency standards set by the state under emergency drought regulations approved in April.

The California Energy Commission set the higher efficiency standards for toilets, urinals and faucets sold after Jan. 1, 2016. “In the face of California’s current drought, we must use water as efficiently as possible and updating minimum standards for toilets, urinals and faucets is a step in that direction,” said Commissioner Andrew McAllister of the Energy Commission in a statement.

The commission approved the standards — which apply to toilets and faucets sold and used in residential homes and public bathrooms. Toilets cannot consume more than 1.28 gallons per flush, while residential faucets could not exceed a 1.2 gallons-per-minute flow rate.

The new regulations were part of an emergency drought order issued by Gov. Jerry Brown last week, which also mandated that urban water agencies cut residential and business water use by 25 percent.

Places like San Francisco, which already consume relatively low amounts of water on a per capita basis, would likely have to make smaller cutbacks under the proposed sliding scale of 10 to 35 percent. The San Francisco, Santa Cruz and Monterey water agencies could face a 10 percent cutback under the proposal being weighed by the state water board.

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission has already reduced water use by 7 to 8 percent compared with 2013, meaning under the current proposal, the agency might have to reduce use by an additional 2 to 3 percent. Statewide, water cutbacks fell in February to 2.8 percent, the smallest percentage of cutbacks since the state began tracking water use in June.

2014 Legislation

Governor Brown confirmed that he fully supports the effort of State Building and Construction Trades Council to make PLAs integral to state legislation. Evidence of that is his approval of AB 155 (Alejo) that authorized the Monterey County Water Resources Agency to award a design-build contract for the combined design and construction of a project to connect Lake San Antonio, located in the County of Monterey, and Lake Nacimiento, located in the County of San Luis Obispo, with an underground tunnel or pipeline for the purpose of maximizing water storage, supply, and groundwater recharge. The bill requires a PLA and Alejo made it clear to Monterey County that State bond allocations would be contingent of the County executing a PLA.

Brown also signed AB 1522 (Gonzalez) that made California the first state in the nation to mandate paid sick days, to be accrued at a rate of no less than one hour for every 30 hours worked.

He also signed AB 1870 (Alejo) that reallocated state apprenticeship allocations from merit-shop programs to union JATCs, and AB 1897 (Hernández) that created new joint and separate liability for employers who procure workers from labor contractors.

Brown did veto a last minute “gut and amend” bill SB 792 (Padilla) by union painters that would have created new union only monopolies on certain industrial paining and coating.

Brown also signed two new design-build measures SB 785 (Wolk) and SB 1433 (Hill) that contained union friendly provisions.

CAPHCC Supported Legislation

Brown signed several PHCC supported bills.

AB 2282 (Gatto) will require the Department of Housing and Community Development, in consultation with other designated entities, to conduct research to assist in the development of, and to submit for adoption by the California Building Standards Commission of, mandatory building standards for the installation of recycled water systems for newly constructed single-family and multifamily residential buildings.

AB 1705 (Gatto) would require public agencies to report in bid documents what retention provisions would apply to progress payments to thwart some agencies’ use of “substantially complex” to avoid State requirements that limit retention to 5%.

He also signed AB 1939 (Daly) that allows contractors to be reimbursed under certain circumstances, if a project is determined to be a public works job after work has commenced as a private work. He also signed AB 2312 (Nestande) that increased requirements on scrap dealers to help curtail metal theft.

Looking Ahead – 2015  Legislation

AB 1308 (Perea) would revise specified conditions for when the apprentice training needs in the building and construction trades justify a new apprentice program. This bill would also remove the authority of the California Apprenticeship Council to approve a new apprenticeship program justified by special circumstances by regulation.

SB 119 (Hill) among its other provisions, would require the Contractors’ State License Board to adopt a program to enforce violations of provisions relating to excavation. The bill would authorize the board to require a contractor to undergo training, levy a fine, and suspend a contractor’s license for a violation.

AB 67 (Gonzalez) would enact the Double Pay on the Holiday Act of 2015 that would require an employer to pay at least 2 times the regular rate of pay to an employee for work on a family holiday defined as either: Christmas or Thanksgiving of each year.

AB 842 (Patterson) would exempt a contractor with their own health plan, from contributing to a union benefits plan pursuant to a PLA.

One of the worst bills is AB 1431 (Gomez) that permits school districts to use Job Order Contracting but requires the district to adopt a PLA for any district work.

AB 219 (Daly) would require the payment of prevailing wages to ready-mixed concrete drivers.

Fair and Open Competition

CAPHCC continues to be a key supporter of the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction (CFEC). CFEC, with CAPHCC’s help, is one of the most ardent advocates for Fair and Open Competition for public works construction contracting. You can learn more about their efforts at www.opencompca.com.