Colorado Capitol Report

The Colorado Chamber Leads Response to Onslaught of Sweeping New EPA Regulations

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State Policy News

CACI Leads Response to Onslaught of Sweeping New EPA Regulations - See CACI Actions Document

Click here to see list of key regulations and CACI actions

The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is doing all it can to push an aggressive agenda aimed at increasing the burden on business and industry operators within and beyond Colorado.  A number of major new environmental regulatory proposals have either been initiated or finalized by the EPA in 2015, resulting in a flux of regulatory activity at the both the federal and state level, as state regulators are charged with developing and implementing state plans for many federal regulations.  2016 promises to be another highly active year as the Colorado is forced to develop new state implementation plans for the Clean Power Plan, new ground-level ozone regulations, and EPA proposals regarding new federal methane regulations are added to the mix.  The EPA is not hiding its preference for renewable energy sources and ending – as soon as possible – the nation’s reliance on the affordable energy produced by fossil fuels, regardless of the cost or economic implications of these policies.

Many of the EPA’s new regulatory proposals support the advance of these priorities by placing new, complex, and costly regulatory burdens on business and industry operators in Colorado and nationwide.  In response to the EPA’s aggressive multi-front regulatory agenda, CACI has been the leading business voice advocating for a balanced approach to new regulations that balances the goals of environmental protection with the costs and impacts that new and sweeping regulations generate for Colorado’s businesses, leading industries, and overall state economy.  Click the link above for an overview of recent and pending EPA actions and CACI’s actions on each issue.

Federal Policy News

Obama Executive Order on Sick Leave to Affect 300,000 Federal Contract Workers

On Tuesday, President Obama signed an Executive Order mandating that all federal contractors, subcontractors and lower-tiered subcontractors provide “one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked.” According to the White House, paid sick leave can be used for illness or for reasons covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) such as taking care of a family member.  Sick time accrued by federal contractors can be carried over to the next year and it’s estimated this Order will impact approximately 300,000 federal contract workers.

It is worth noting that the language of this Order is virtually identical to the “The Healthy Families Act.” This bill failed last year, but has been reintroduced this year in both the Senate and House by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) without any traction.  It appears the Administration is using this Executive Order on federal contractors to place pressure on all employers, much like attempts at raising the minimum wage for federal contractors.

The Department of Labor will issue regulations by September 30, 2016, to be effective by January 1, 2017, – the day President Obama officially leaves presidential office.

Senate, Gardner Intro Bill to Rein In NLRB’s Joint-Employer Push

On Wednesday, Republican leaders and the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee introduced legislation to roll back the recent National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) joint-employer decision which, would make big businesses bigger and the middle class smaller by discouraging companies from franchising and subcontracting work,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), HELP Chairman and Rep. John Kline (R-MN), chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. 

The joint-employer ruling also “threatens to steal the American dream from owners of the nation’s 780,000 franchise businesses and millions of contractors. The board’s effort to redefine the idea of what it means to be an employer will wreak havoc on families and small businesses across the country.  Our commonsense proposal would restore policies in place long before the NLRB’s radical decision, the very same policies that served workers, employers, and consumers well for decades.”

The new Browning-Ferris standard doesn’t just apply to franchises.  Many employers will now have to jointly negotiate working conditions with unions and share liability for labor law violations according to the NLRB.  As a result, larger businesses may be forced to take on greater liability and therefore exert greater control over smaller employers who actually own and operate businesses such as stores, restaurants and day care centers.  Additionally, fewer employers will send out business to local subcontractors, suppliers or subsidiaries, for fear they will now be liable for the subcontractor’s employment decisions.  Under the Browning-Ferris decision, millions of employees will now also lose the ability to negotiate things like pay, hours and leave time with their direct supervisor, because the NRLB has ensured those decisions will be made between the larger employer and the union.

The Protecting Local Business Opportunity Act (S. 2015) would roll back the Browning-Ferris Industries ruling and reaffirm that an employer must have “actual, direct and immediate” control over an employee to be considered a joint employer – the same standard that was in place decades before the board’s extreme decision.  S. 2015 has 35 Senate sponsors, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO), and three Presidential candidates.

“The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has bypassed Congress to overturn decades of established law in its joint-employer decision,” said Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), chairman of the Senate HELP subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety. “Changing the joint-employer standard will impede franchising by taking away the benefits of a small entrepreneur being able to start a small business and grow it using a brand name that was established by a major corporation. If you take away incentives for corporations to franchise, the results will be similar to what we have already seen in so many oversteps by the Obama administration and the NLRB: making the big guys bigger and putting the small guys out of business. Instead, this administration should be focusing on how to create more opportunities for small businesses to grow.”

“We’ve heard numerous stories about how damaging the NLRB’s decision will be for small businesses and entrepreneurs across the country,” said Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.), chairman of the House Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions.  With an economy still struggling to recover, the last thing we need is more union favoritism that makes it harder for small businesses to survive and more difficult for Americans to find jobs. What we need instead are commonsense solutions that protect working families and job creators. Unlike the NLRB’s misguided decision, this legislation will help, rather than hurt, the men and women working hard to provide for their families and those who aspire to one day have a business of their own.”

Congress In Brief

Iran Deal

  • Motion to proceed to vote of disapproval on Iran vote failed (58-42) in the Senate late on Wednesday, effectively ending Senate opposition bids.
  • On Thursday, the House passed a resolution (245 to 186) stating the President didn’t uphold his end of the bargain because Congress has not seen documents related to two “side deals” negotiated by the International Atomic Energy Agency as part of the deal with Iran.  The resolution also states that without those documents, the 60-day clock for Congressional approval has not yet started.
  • Today, the House overwhelmingly opposed the Iran deal (162-269) and may still take up a measure today to prevent President Obama from removing sanctions on Iran.  Majority Leader McConnell has said the Senate will likely try one more vote of disapproval before next Thursday’s deadline.
  • Unless the Senate passes (and the President signs) the House resolution re: side deals and time clock, Congress has until September 17th to approve the Iran deal or it automatically goes into effect.

** SAVE-the-DATE ** CACI Federal Affairs Council**OCT. 6th**

Please join us for a discussion with Colorado business leaders & key Colorado staffers for Senator Michael Bennet & Senator Cory Gardner.

Find out what Congress plans to address this fall, plus what our Senators are working on to protect & promote business in Colorado.

October 6th Agenda:

Congressional update: With Sen. Gardner’s District Director & Sen. Bennet’s new Business Director

CACI Congressional Legislative Update

“Farmers, Sugar & Responsibly Growing Beets” + TOUR Western Sugar’s Production Facility