July 24, 2020

GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS NEWS
Capitol Logjam over Bonding Bill and Emergency Powers Remains

By now, members have heard about the failure by the MN state legislature to pass a $1.8 billion public construction projects package earlier this week, which marked the end of the second special session this summer. 

In the House, the bill did not muster the necessary three-fifths majority to pass a bonding bill. The vote was cut along strict party lines with all DFL members voting yay and all Republicans casting nay votes. The bill needs at least six votes from Republican legislators to pass.

Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-Nisswa) and House Speaker Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park) agreed on the $1.8 billion bonding package. Senate Minority Leader Susan Kent (DFL-Woodbury) also stated her DFL colleagues would provide the necessary votes to pass the bill should the House send one their way.

The bonding bill has become an enormous bargaining chip in broader negotiations. Back in May, House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) said that House Republicans would not vote for a bonding bill until Governor Tim Walz gives up the emergency powers related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Rep. Daudt reiterated this position on Monday, as well as objected to some components of the bill, such as the rail and transit projects. The bonding bill was also included several tax provisions such as full conformity to Section 179 expensing.

The Governor is expected to call another special session in August to extend his peacetime emergency powers. Rep. Daudt stated they could take up the bonding bill again, but other leaders believe with the November election quickly approaching and the current impasse that passage is unlikely. Additionally, there are concerns by MN Management and Budget regarding a planned August bond sale and subsequent blackout period for making significant changes to its financial position. Officials have said the State cannot pass a bonding bill until late September or it will risk the planned bond sale.

AGC will continue to advocate for the passage of a bonding bill this year, but these realities make it very challenging. AGC will continue working with construction and community partners on potential next steps and strategies. Members should continue to reiterate the importance of this economic stimulus and community investment to their legislators and candidates running for state office.
Face Mask Mandate

AGC developed a poster/sign to help you comply with Executive Order 20-81 - Requiring Minnesotans to Wear a Face Covering in Certain Settings to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19. Page 12 of the Governor's Executive Order states:

14. Notice of face covering requirements.  Businesses must post one or more signs that are visible to all persons-including workers, customers, and visitors-instructing them to wear face coverings as required by this Executive Order.

The guidance requirements for the construction industry have been updated to reflect the new State requirements. A primary requirement is that employers must review and update their written COVID-19 Preparedness Plans to operate in accordance with the new requirements involving "face-coverings". Additional considerations include the following:
  1. Ensure all workers are provided training on the additional requirements;
  2. Face-coverings must be used indoors at all times (unless they qualify under one of the "Exemptions", or are allowed to "temporary remove" them);
  3. Face-coverings must be worn outdoors by workers where social distancing cannot be maintained;
  4. If workers are unable to wear face-coverings due to a medical/physical limitation, or mental health condition, alternative protections must be implemented;
  5. Review the guidance to evaluate circumstances where the use of a face-covering "may present a hazard" to the workers;
  6. The use of face-coverings is not a substitute for social distancing where social distancing can be achieved and/or maintained.
Any questions should be directed in writing via email to OSHA Consultation at osha.consultation@state.mn.us .
EVENTS & EDUCATION
2020 Sporting Clays Fundraiser

Team spots and sponsorships are still available for the 21st AGC Sporting Clays Fundraiser, which will take place on September 16, 2020 at Minnesota Horse & Hunt Club.

Click here for more information, to register, and for sponsorship opportunities. Contact Lisa Larson with any questions.

The Sporting Clays Fundraiser benefits the AGC of Minnesota Foundation, which provides scholarships to students pursuing a degree in the construction industry. 
AGC of Minnesota 2019/20 Scholarship Recipients

The AGC of Minnesota Foundation Board of Directors is pleased to announce the 2020/21 scholarship recipients.
 
C.S. McCrossan Scholarship
Brandi Rutten | U of M Minneapolis | Civil Engineering
 
AGC Foundation Scholarships
Olivia Januszewski | Minnesota State Moorhead | Construction Management
Matthew Henderson | Stanford University| Civil Engineering (Master's Degree)
Karli Schmitt | U of M Minneapolis | Construction Management
Adam Wardak | U of M Minneapolis | Construction Management
Gunnar Cowing | North Dakota State University | Civil Engineering
Brandon Sloniker | U of M Minneapolis | Construction Management
 
Total Awarded: $13,500
2021 AGC American Scholarship Opportunity

The AGC America Education and Research Foundation is accepting scholarship applications for 2021 from students enrolled in an ABET or ACCE accredited construction management or construction related engineering program. The application period opened July 1, 2020 and closes November 1, 2020.

More information can be found here or by contacting
Courtney Bishop.
GENERAL NEWS
Click for larger version
CHASE Level 3 Project - Andover Community Center with Four AGC Member Contractors

 

Congratulations to Rachel ContractingRJM ConstructionSowles Company, and Parsons Electric LLC for their CHASE Level 3 project at the Andover Community Center! We love seeing so many of our members working on projects with the highest levels of safety! CHASE is a partnership between Minnesota OSHA and AGC of Minnesota. 


 

View more photos of 2020 CHASE Level 3 projects here.

$1.1 million in grand funds available from MPCA for diesel vehicle replacement
  • Apply by September 18, 2020. 
  • Priority given to vehicle replacements that benefit overburdened communities.
  • For more information about applying for a grant, click here.
  • Small business assistance also available
In Minnesota, people of color and lower-income residents are exposed to more air pollution, especially pollution from vehicles.  Fine particles are one of the main pollutants from old diesel trucks, construction equipment, trains, and boats. 

Some small businesses may not have the immediate funds to purchase new equipment up front (and then be reimbursed for a portion of that cost). Small business applicants are also encouraged to consider zero-percent interest Small Business Environmental Improvement Loans up to $75,000 for capital equipment purchases that help meet or exceed environmental regulations. Loan funding can be used as gap funding for a grant or to leverage funding for a larger project.
2020 MNDOT Specification Changes

Attorney Hugh D. Brown with Fabyanske, Westra, Hart & Thomson, P.A., drafted this helpful paper on 2020 updates to the MN Department of Transportation Standard Specifications for Construction.
Jeff Jensen Memorial Construction Safety Excellence Awards

Nominations are being accepted for the Jeff Jensen Memorial Construction Safety Excellence Award  . This award, based on safety standards achieved in 2019, will presented in three different categories. The awards will be recognized this fall at the 2020 AGC Recognition Evening. 

Read more about the award here.

Completed applications are due no later than August 24, 2020 and should be returned to Merry Beckmann or mailed to the AGC office.

   

CAREERS

Associated General Contractors of Minnesota 

525 Park Street, Suite 110  |   St. Paul, MN 55103
651-632-8929