SubAla Has High Profile Session
SubAla played a key role in all legislation that touched the construction industry. With just 268 total bills passed this session, SubAla clearly was on its game to either directly push for or be a key team member of several bills that became law. There were 1103 bills introduced: 624 from the House and 479 from the Senate. Of the 1103 bills introduced, we tracked over 115 of these bills for impact to members.
Some of the bills highlighted in the 2014 session as well as other monitored legislation are listed below:
SubAla Backed Bills that Passed
ACRI Bill Signing-Act No. 2014-345
by Rep. Jones, R-Andalusia and Sen. Marsh, R-Calhoun
The bill added several members to the construction recruitment industry board including a member from Subala.
Fair and Open Competition-Act No. 2014-107
by Sen. Sanford, R-Huntsville and Rep. Mack Butler, R-Etowah
This ABC backed bill does not allow unions to be favored over non-union shops.
Dual Enrollment-Act No. 2014-240
By Rep. Buttram, R-Cullman
Designed to encourage more "trade ready" job applicants, the bill allows high school students to enroll in a two year technical college while still being enrolled in high school. It would also allow them to qualify for a portion of $10 million dollars in scholarships.
One time Historic Tax preservation transferability-Act No. 2014-452
By Rep. Gaston, R-Mobile and Sen. Irons, D-Florence
SubAla weighed in on this bill as it could bring more construction jobs to the industry. The credits are transferrable for the tax period that began Jan. 1 of this year. Alabama allows up to $20 million statewide in annual tax credits for such projects. The maximum credit for a commercial project is $5 million. The tax credits are awarded on a calendar-year basis with the intent to encourage more investors to redevelop historic properties for retail and other businesses.
Taxpayer Bill of Rights-Act No. 2014-146
by Rep. DeMarco, R-Homewood
SubAla joined several members of the Business Association Tax Coalition to push for the bill and was responsible for direct lobbying of several key votes in the Senate. Creating an independent administrative hearing process for tax appeals, this bill removes the department from underneath the guidance of the Al. Dept of Revenue. This means that the appeals are no longer being heard by the body that issued the order.
Prompt Pay Bill Act No. 2014-404
By Rep. Roberts, R-Jasper and Sen. Marsh, R-Calhoun
The bill would require public agencies to pay contractors working on public jobs within 35 days after the contracting agency approves payment. The current deadline is 45 days. It would also set time limits for reviewing contracts in excess of $50,000 and paying invoices once they are received by the contracting public agency. There are exclusions listed in the legislation.
Paid sick and Leave Act No. 2014-173
By Rep. Williams, R-Birmingham and Sen. Glover, R-Semmes
Alabama cities and counties would be restricted from passing laws that require an employer to issue leave or vacation time that is not required by the state or federal law.
SubAla Opposed Bills that Failed to Pass
Sprinkler Bill and Resolution
HB385 by Rep. Hill-R-Columbiana and SB327 by Sen. Taylor, R-Prattville
HJR210 by Rep. Hill, R-Shelby
This SubAla targeted bill allowed the fire marshal to establish rules for the installation of residential sprinklers. A resolution also failed to pass that created a working task force to set up viable educational and other standards for the installment of residential sprinklers and requirements of the persons being allowed to install these sprinkler systems.
HB451 by Rep. Long, R-Marshall
SubAla took the lead in re-writing a lien bill that maintained the priority of liens as well as authored a resolution to study the issue with SubAla at the table. As introduced the bill would provide for the priority of future advances made pursuant to a future advance mortgage over the liens of persons who perform work on real property when the mortgage is recorded prior to a notice of commencement.
HB551 by Rep. Butler, R-Etowah and SB416 by Sen. Williams, R-Cherokee
The bill would allow any individual who successfully passes a nationally standardized journeyman electrician examination to apply for licensure without further examination requirements. It would also delete the requirement that an electrical contractor who holds a license issued by a county or municipal government take an examination offered by the board.
SB152 by Sen. Keahey, D-Baldwin
This bill requires the use of certain forest certification standards when using any green building standards for construction or major building renovations.
Minimum Wage Law
HB279 by Rep. Melton, D-Selma and SB295 by Sen. Singleton, D-Greensboro
Two bills were introduced in 2014. The first by Rep. Melton created an hourly minimum wage of $9.80 by Jan. 1, 2016, while the second by Sen. Singleton called for a $12 state hourly minimum wage.
Other Monitored Legislation
Right to work
SB127 by Sen. Dial, R-Lineville
The SubAla supported legislation states that Alabamians have the right to work without requiring membership or non-membership in a labor union being a condition of employment. It would also keep employers from requiring an employee from abstaining from a labor organization.
SubAla supported this legislation.
LLC Member Exemption
SB304 by Sen. Ward, R-Birmingham
The amendment states that nothing can exempt a member of a Limited Liability Company from being counted as an employee for determining the number of employees. This bill would remove the requirement for the certification to be filed with the Department of Labor and would add a member of a limited liability company to the persons who may file for exemptions.
SubAla supported this legislation.
Subcontractors prompt pay
HB547 by Rep. Rogers, D-Jefferson
Under existing law, an owner is required to timely pay a contractor for work performed pursuant to contract. This bill would require a contractor to timely pay a subcontractor for work completed on public works contracts.
SubAla supported this legislation.
Limited Liability Law Act No. 2014-144
By Rep. DeMarco, R-Homewood and Sen. Smitherman, D-Birmingham
Under the new law, the implied contractual covenant of good faith and fair dealing cannot be eliminated. Effective Jan. 1, it also provides for the formation and recognition of series LLC's.
SubAla supported this legislation.
Public Works Bid Advertising
SB19 by Sen. Orr, R-Limestone
Under the provisions of the bill an awarding authority would be allowed to award a contract for public works if a newspaper to which an advertisement for sealed bids for the contract was submitted by the awarding authority did not publish the advertisement and the authority can provide proof that it in good faith submitted the advertisement to the newspaper.
SubAla supported this measure.
Contractor Bid Bill
HB125 by Rep. Hubbard, D-Montgomery
This bill would require public works authorities that are awarding contracts to give preference to a bidder that submits a bid no more than 5% greater than the lowest bidder if that bidder has at least 50% of his workforce from Alabama and has an Alabama Driver's license or state issued ID.
Employing Unit redefined Act No. 2014-436
By Sen. Scofield, R-Guntersville and Rep. Long, R-Guntersville
An employer must purchase and maintain at least 65% of another business in Alabama for an owner to keep the unemployment compensation rates of the purchased company. The law is effective on July 1.
Competitive Bid Bill
SB76 by Sen. Whatley, R-Auburn
This bill would provide that if a bid of a preferred vendor is no more than five percent greater than the lowest bid of a responsible bidder, the awarding authority shall award the contract to the preferred vendor.
SB150 by Sen. Allen, R-Tuscaloosa
Would amend the statute relating to the state of Alabama Plumbers and Gas Fitters Examining Board and the licensing and regulation of plumbers and gas fitters.
Employees allowed to choose own Pharmacy
SB205 by Sen. Beasley, D-Barbour
This bill would allow employees on a corporate insurance plan pick their own pharmacy.
Tax Relief Legislation That Benefits Business Owners
Small business tax relief act
HB151 by Rep. Moore, R-Enterprise
Increases the liability threshold for a taxpayer to be required to make advanced estimated payments from $1,000 to $2,500 or greater.
Short Form Business Personal property Return Act No. 2014-415
By Rep. Wren, R-Montgomery
Small businesses that have filed an itemized personal property tax return that included $10,000 or less in total property acquisition costs in the previous tax year can use a new short tax form.
Business Tax Streamlining Act
HB108 by Rep. Wren, R-Montgomery
By creating an online filing system, this bill would provide businesses with a "one-stop shop" for filing business personal property taxes. Further, it would allow businesses claiming $10,000 or less in business personal property tax to file a short form that would not require itemization of their property.
Unemployment and Workers Compensation
Temporary worker benefit changes
HB88 by Rep. Williams, R-Homewood
The bill is a revision to a current law that allows recipients to earn only $17.00 per week in part-time or temporary work without any reduction in benefits. The bill as passed would allow an individual to earn up to 1/3 of its weekly benefit without any reductions.
Death Benefit Increase-Act No. 2014-240
by Rep. Scott-D-Jefferson
This legislation would increase the employer's responsibility from $3,500 to $6,500 but is said to come out of a pool with little impact from the increased amount. Testimony in meetings revealed that there is an average of only seven work related deaths a year and the average cost of burial is roughly $9000.
Benefits Must Perform Community Service
It would require those receiving unemployment compensation to perform community service in order to keep their benefits.
Weekly Benefit Increase
HB88 sponsored by Rep. Williams-R-Jefferson
The bill allowed those individuals who are receiving unemployment to work additional hours and not lose their benefits. It could boost the temporary work pool for construction.
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