The Carolinas Associated General Contractors (CAGC) reports successful outcomes with several of the association’s end-of-session legislative priorities. These included defeat of the gas tax cap, certificate of merit for designers, and the force-account proposal.
* The NC General Assembly did not pass the proposal to cap the gas tax thus keeping transportation funding intact to the tune of $1 billion over the next decade.
* The state House not approving a Senate-passed bill that would have required the construction industry to first get a Certificate of Merit before any civil action could be taken against designers. The bill, still alive for next year’s short session, would have resulted in a costly and cumbersome process that could have had a chilling effect on the construction industry. CAGC led successful efforts to keep the bill bottled up despite an aggressive campaign waged for the bill by architects and engineers.
* Legislative approval of studies involving improving laws concerning underground safety for utility contractors and others as well as another study concerning lien/double payment issues. Proposals are expected to be made for the short session, which is expected to begin next spring.
* Approval of a budget bill that includes $559 million for UNC System construction projects but does not include a provision, strongly opposed by CAGC, that would have increased the force-account ceiling dramatically for universities and community colleges at a time when the construction industry’s unemployment rate is around 20 percent. The unsuccessful proposal would have raised the ceiling to $500,000 for construction work that could have been done by UNC System employees (now at a $200,000 maximum) and community colleges employees (now at a $125,000 threshold).
* Approval of a gradual, phased-in, new e-verify program for new employees for all employers with 25 or more employees, a main priority for Republican lawmakers. The watered-down bill deleted previous versions of the proposal that would have only applied only to public construction work and would have involved a felony for failure to e-verify new employees. Read More.