May 22, 2020

MN Legislature Adjourns with a Special Session on the Horizon

It was an unremarkable ending to a memorable and unusual legislative session. The MN Legislature adjourned on Monday, May 18th, without agreement on several legislative priorities including a bonding bill, a tax bill, a framework to distribute federal coronavirus funds to cities and counties, and other state assistance measures. COVID-19 postponed the legislature's work in mid-March. When legislators began meeting online a few weeks later, most initiatives were set aside as their priorities shifted to addressing the public health emergency. Like the postponement in March and eventual resumption of work, there is an opportunity for leaders to finish their work in a special session.
The most disappointing result for AGC of Minnesota is the lack of agreement on a robust bonding bill, but there is hope for future action. Governor Walz declared a peacetime state of emergency in March that now runs through June 12th. The governor will have to call the legislature back into a special session in a month for the order to be extended. The Governor released his $2.6 billion bonding bill in January, while the Democrat-controlled House introduced theirs in early May totaling $2.5 billion. The Republican-led Senate introduced a $998 million bill with an additional $400 million in trunk highway bonds. Although each proposal received support in both legislative bodies from their respective political majorities, a bonding bill must have a three-fifths supermajority to pass. This requires support from the minority parties. Since legislators understood there would be a special session to address the peacetime state of emergency, the pressure to come to an agreement prior to adjournment faded. AGC of Minnesota is persistent in our advocacy efforts and remains optimistic that the governor and legislative leaders can provide the necessary economic stimulus for the construction industry and local economies.
Stay tuned in the coming weeks. AGC of Minnesota will provide a comprehensive summary of all construction-related initiatives and any additional actions taken in a special session.
President Trump Signs Executive Order for Regulatory Relief

President Trump signed an  executive order  Tuesday directing federal agencies to be lenient on businesses that make good-faith attempts to follow agency guidance and regulations during the pandemic. The order would hold back agencies like OSHA from bringing enforcement actions against businesses that try to keep up with evolving guidance documents.  The extent to which the order would provide protection against pandemic-related liability would be limited, but it could protect contractors from fines for civil regulatory violations.

AGC of America is working with Congress on legislation that, ultimately, is needed to protect good actor contractors following recognized safety and health protocols against exposure liability lawsuits.
Wage Allocations

AGC has standardized the format for wage allocations and hopefully made clearer what is taxable, reportable for prevailing wage, and answering common questions.  We have posted the information in clean PDF versions ("AGC Allocation Sheet") and the master Excel file ("Master Allocation Sheet") which enables members to view formulas, hide columns, and otherwise customize.  Available
  here .
COVID-19 / Epidemic Contract Rider

The AGC of America contracts committee has prepared a contract Rider to include in construction contracts clarifying that epidemics like COVID-19 include potential unforeseen costs and delays that are not included in the contract bid and justify equitable adjustments.  AGC of Minnesota has a copy of the draft rider.   Contact Mike  if you need to see the draft ASAP.  It should be finalized by the contracts committee next week and will be posted on our website under "New" on our  COVID-19 page  when available.
Webinar: 2020 Labor Negotiations Postmortem - Outcomes & Lessons
Members have been sent an invitation to a members-only online meeting (27 May 2020, 9:00 a.m.)  on 2020 labor negotiations, including explanations of what some things mean or how we got there, wage and other contract cost settlements, challenges and lessons, and things to watch. Contact Mike if you haven't received an invitation and would like to attend.
Five Important Questions to Consider When a Union Company Buys a Non-Union Business
You would think that when a union company buys a non-union business, there should be no concern that the non-union business could be subject to the buyer's existing collective bargaining agreement, or that the purchased business is subject to an obligation to recognize the union. Like most things in labor law, it is not quite as neat as you would like.  Learn more

Written by  Phyllis Karasov, Larkin Hoffman
Summer 2020 MPCA Volkswagon Settlement Grant:
$1.1M for Heavy-Duty Off-Road Equipment

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency will issue a grant request for proposals (RFP) in summer 2020 to fund the replacement or improvement of heavy-duty off-road equipment that is eligible under the Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA). We anticipate approximately $1.1 million will be available for projects that reduce emissions from older, diesel-powered off-road equipment.

Eligible equipment may include marine engines, locomotives, trailer refrigeration units, terminal tractors, drayage trucks, and off-road engines, and equipment or vehicles used in construction, handling of cargo, agriculture, mining, or energy production.

Stay tuned for updates on this grant opportunity! Find more information here, or email the MPCA.
AGC of America Releases 7th Edition of Coronavirus Survey

AGC of America calls for measures to rebuild the economy, as the 7th edition of their survey finds 69 percent of firms report having projects canceled since the start of the pandemic. The new survey results came out on the same day federal officials reported that construction employment declined in 49 states and D.C. in April. 
May is Mental Health Month

May is Mental Health Awareness month and a great opportunity to highlight the importance of taking care of our emotional and mental wellbeing to our employees. Mental health is a huge component of the Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention's (CIASP's) suicide prevention efforts and one really cannot be addressed without the other. Because of this, we feel that May is the perfect time to take the pledge to STAND up for Suicide Prevention.

Have you taken the pledge yet? No matter what your role in the industry - CIASP has a pledge for you! Contractors, Unions, Associations, Service Providers, Partners in the Mental Health & Suicide Prevention space and also Project Owners. We all have a role to play in addressing mental health and suicide prevention in the construction industry.

Post the actions you are taking on social media and use the hashtag #STANDupforSuicidePrevention

Campaign: Culture of CARE
AGC of America has launched Culture of CARE, a national campaign that invites construction firms to build inclusive workplaces that are free from harassment, hazing and bullying by taking the Culture of Care pledge. More information about the campaign can be found at
Congratulations to AGC Members Celebrating Milestone Membership Years

The following AGC members are celebrating significant milestone years of continuous membership in 2020.  Thank you for your support of the industry!

50 Years:
C.W. Houle, Inc.
Landwehr Construction, Inc.
Lunda Construction Company
Neenah Foundry Co.
Ryan Companies US, Inc.

55 Years:
Cemstone Companies
Hancock Concrete Products, LLC
Robert R. Schroeder Construction, Inc.

60 Years: 
Opus Design Build, LLC

65 Years: 
Forterra Pipe & Precast

70 Years: 
Standard Iron

75 Years:
Park Construction Co.
Twin City Tile & Marble Co.

80 Years:
George F. Cook Construction Company

85 Years:
Carl Bolander & Sons Co.



Associated General Contractors of Minnesota 

525 Park Street, Suite 110  |   St. Paul, MN 55103