June 12, 2020

The PPP Flexibility Act (HR 7010) was signed into law and yesterday Treasury and SBA released revisions to the interim final rule for PPP. They expect to release an updated loan forgiveness application soon, and we’ll circulate it once it’s available. 

Below is a letter ACEC sent in response to a request from the Department of Labor. The letter outlines a variety of workplace reopening concerns identified by ACEC members, including liability. ACEC also signed onto a joint coalition letter which goes into more detail about these liability concerns. ACECL has likewise asked our delegation to support federal legislation to provide a liability safe harbor for employers that follow relevant guidance when reopening their workplaces. There is no formal legislation yet but it is expected to be filed by Senator John Cornyn (R-TX).
Highway Trust Fund’s May 2020 Tax Receipts Drop 79% Year-Over-Year
Net deposits of tax receipts credited to the Highway Trust Fund totaled only $674 million in May, according to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, down 79 percent from $3.238 billion in May 2019.
The unexpectedly large decline highlights the immediate need for Congress to pass the ACEC-backed $50 billion infusion to state DOTs to backstop revenue losses.
“While most current construction projects continue, we know that State DOT budgets are threatened by dramatic revenue losses as a result of declining fuel usage and other economic activity,” said ACEC Vice President Transportation Programs Matt Reiffer. “Some states are already delaying critical transportation projects, and we expect many more to follow.  
“The $50 billion infusion of federal aid is urgently needed to prevent program disruptions and allow DOTs to continue planning, design, and construction engineering contracts. This federal backstop will also serve as a bridge to passage and implementation of a robust, bipartisan, and long-term surface transportation reauthorization bill that both the House and Senate are working to advance this summer.”
This morning, Erich Ponti, representing the La. Coalition to Fix Our Roads, urged the Louisiana Economic Recovery Task Force to include highway funding in its Phase III recommendation to the Legislature. This task force of private sector leaders was created by Speaker Schexnayder and President Cortez, and has proven to be influential in legislative efforts to recover from COVID-19.
The Louisiana Legislature passed the state's general construction bill and sent to the Governor. It uses $70m in surplus for the highway program and put $30m in P1 priority programs.  

Tort reform legislation to reduce car insurance rates is making its way through the legislative process again. These bills seek to fix a problem with the same legislation that passed the legislature at the final moments of the session that ended June 1. H B 43 by Rep. Ray Garofalo (R-Chalmette) , would revise the Omnibus Premium Reduction Act to correct the error, while  HCR 4 by Rep. Alan Seabaugh (R-Shreveport ) would suspend those same problematic provisions for one year. If passed, that resolution would go into effect without requiring the governor's signature.

Considering the possibility that Gov. Edwards may veto the bill passed during the regular session, two bills were filed:

HB 57, filed by House Speaker Clay Schexnayder (R-Gonzales) would enact the Civil Justice Reform Act of 2020, allowing all evidence of medical expenses to be shown to a judge or jury, including both medical expenses paid and billed. It reduces the jury trial threshold from $50,000 to $10,000 and repeals the seat belt gag rule which prohibits evidence about whether a driver was wearing a seat belt at the time of an accident.  HB 44 by Rep. Ray Garofalo (R-Chalmette)  would enact the Omnibus Premium Reduction Act

ACECL supported all of these bills as well as legislation to suspend the corporation franchise tax levied on certain taxable capital and suspend the initial corporation franchise tax levied on certain entities. These bills have passed the House Committee and will be considered by the full House on Monday.

Thursday, June 25th, 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM EST
Presenters: Javier Baldor and Eileen Canady BST Global
How many people are staying at home during the COVID-19 pandemic? How far are people traveling when they don’t stay home? Which states and counties have more people taking trips? The Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) now provides answers to those questions through new mobility statistics.

Click here to learn about U.S. mobility at the National, State, and County levels.