In this Capitol Report:
- CACI Members Asked to Contact House Members Before Critical Debate on Monday on HB-1355
- New York Attorney General Leads Climate-Change Investigation against ExxonMobil
- Contribute to Campaign to Defeat Amendment 69, the $25 billion, Single-Payer, Health-Care Plan
- News Media Coverage
- CACI Files Comments Against EEOC’s Proposed Wage Reporting Rule
- DOL Issues ‘Persuader’ Rule, Businesses With Labor Activity Beware
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CACI Members Asked to Contact House Members Before Critical Debate on Monday on HB-1355
We are asking that you “Just Say No to HB-1355!”as soon as possible because the bill will be heard on Second Reading on the House Floor Monday, April 4th.
There is a bill moving through the State House of Representative that will undo years of cooperation and balance between the state, local governments, and the oil and gas industry. HB-1355 undermines the hard work of the Governor’s Task Force, overturns case law, and hurts surface and mineral property rights. Passage of such a bill would undercut decades of work that established Colorado’s legal and regulatory programs for the safe and effective oversight of oil and gas industry operations in our state…programs that are recognized as some of the most effective nationwide and internationally. Passage of HB-1355 would result in extreme unpredictability regarding what local policies, limitations, or bans local governments may adopt at any time, completely removing the incentive for industry operators to make future investments or continue operations for fear of losing their investments.
If you haven’t seen The Denver Post editorial against HB1355, here it is; “Colorado Oil and Gas Bill Deserves Defeat”
Please take a moment and click on this link – Issue Alert – Just Say No To HB-1355– filling out the form, you can send an email directly to your state representative asking him or her to oppose HB-1355.
New York Attorney General Leads Climate-Change Investigation against ExxonMobil
New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and five other state attorneys general have launched a partisan, climate-change campaign against fossil-fuel corporations, notably CACI member ExxonMobil.
Schneiderman, a Democrat, former Vice President Al Gore (D) and a five other Democratic state attorneys general held a press conference on March 29th in New York City to announce a campaign to fight climate change through state action. Here is a passage from the news media release issued by Schneiderman’s office:
The participating states are exploring working together on key climate change-related initiatives, such as ongoing and potential investigations into whether fossil fuel companies misled investors and the public on the impact of climate change on their businesses. In 2015, New York State reached a historic settlement with Peabody Energy – the world’s largest publicly traded coal company – concerning the company’s misleading financial statements and disclosures. New York is also investigating ExxonMobil for similar alleged conduct.
The other five state attorneys general are from Connecticut Vermont, Virginia, Maryland and Massachusetts—and also are Democrats.
Here is ExxonMobil’s statement on Schneiderman’s press conference:
March 29, 2016
The allegations leveled against ExxonMobil again today are politically motivated and based on discredited reporting funded by activist organizations. We are actively assessing all legal options.
The allegations are based on the false premise that ExxonMobil reached definitive conclusions about anthropogenic climate change before the world’s experts and before the science itself had matured, and then withheld it from the broader scientific community. Such a claim is preposterous. It assumes that the expertise of a handful of Exxon scientists somehow exceeded the accumulated knowledge of the global scientific community at the time, and that the Exxon scientists somehow were able to reach definitive conclusions before the science had developed. It ignores the fact that Exxon’s scientists were fully engaged in the public discussion, openly sharing their findings in peer-reviewed publications and public archives, and actively contributing to the work of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Contrary to activists’ claims, our company’s deliberations decades ago yielded no definitive conclusions. As our scientists determined at the time, many important questions about climate science remained unanswered, and more research was required. Accordingly, Exxon, and later ExxonMobil, continued research at leading universities, and also engaged in the public debate surrounding policy responses to the emerging science.
It should come as no surprise that Exxon’s scientists discussed the available scientific research at the time and sought to build upon it through their own studies. This free exchange of ideas is essential to productive scientific inquiry. If such deliberations are subject to legal scrutiny through the lens of later baseless allegations, what incentive do companies have to pursue further research? The investigations targeting our company threaten to have a chilling effect on private sector research.
The allegations repeated today are an attempt to limit free speech and are the antithesis of scientific inquiry. Left unchallenged, they could stifle the search for solutions to the real risks from climate change.
ExxonMobil recognizes the risks posed by climate change, and we believe that everyone should be engaged in meaningful action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Contribute to Campaign to Defeat Amendment 69, the $25 billion, Single-Payer, Health-Care Plan
A public-private coalition is working to defeat Amendment 69, the November ballot initiative that would create a quasi-public, single-payer health-care plan that would impose a $25 billion tax on employers, workers, and taxpayers.
Called “Coloradans for Coloradans,” the campaign organization’s co-chairs include Colorado State Treasurer Walker Stapleton and former Democratic Governor Bill Ritter. The organization is backed by a coalition of business organizations, public officials, and community and civic leaders.
In November, the CACI Board of Directors voted to oppose Amendment 69 just days after Secretary of State Wayne Williams qualified the ballot initiative for the November ballot.
CACI urges its members to contribute to Coloradans for Coloradans. Contributions can be mailed to:
Coloradans for Coloradans
1660 Lincoln Street
Denver CO 80624
Contribution can also be wired electronically to Coloradans for Coloradans.
CACI members who have questions about contributing to Coloradans for Coloradansmay email Katie Behnke or call her at 303.807.4583.
Coloradans for Coloradans is an issue committee, #20165030100, registered with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office. An issue committee may receive unlimited contributions.
News Media Coverage
Below is recent news-media coverage of state and federal political, policy and governmental issues of interest to CACI:
“Colorado House finalizes $27B spending plan,” by The Associated Press, The Denver Post, April 1st.
“Business leaders battle Republican lawmaker in hospital-fee bill hearing,” by Ed Sealover, The Denver Business Journal, March 30th.
“Hospital provider fee bill debuts with a twist – a GOP sponsor,” by John Frank, The Denver Post, March 28th.
“Colorado budget bill eliminates TABOR refunds, slashes spending,” by John Frank, The Denver Post, March 24th.
“Colorado oil and gas bill deserves defeat,” editorial, The Denver Post, March 24th.
“Transportation and eco devo are the big winners in Colorado budget plan,” by Ed Sealover, The Denver Business Journal, March 24th.
Federal Policy News
CACI Files Comments Against EEOC’s Proposed Wage Reporting Rule
CACI filed comments today with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on behalf of CACI’s members companies, outlining the concerns of businesses and many burdens the new rule would create for Colorado’s business environment.
As discussed during a recent CACI Labor & Employment Council, the EEOC rule requirements were first tested on federal contractors and will now be applied to the general business population, in an effort by the Obama Administration to ‘root out discrimination and reduce gender pay gap.“ However, according to the U.S. Chamber’s Camille Olson, “The EEOC is proposing to collect extensive data that has never been collected by the federal government without any developed framework to review the data, or use the data for any legally authorized or recognized purpose.” Businesses would be required to submit EEO-1s by Sept. 30, 2017.
By the numbers:
- Applies to: Employers of 100+ workers, Federal contractor 50+ employees and federal contracts of $50k +
- Collects data based on: Gender, race, ethnicity, job band (12 specified) and pay
- Uses existing forms: Amends current EEO-1 form, but method was not means tested for data collection efficiency or purpose
- EEOC example: “An employer would report that it employs 10 African American men who are Craft Workers in the second pay band ($19,240-$24,439).
- Current form: Requires businesses to enter information in 140 boxes
- New EEO-1 form: Requires entering info in 3,360 boxes – a 2,400% increase
- EEOC burden estimates: 6.6 hours + one-time “cost” of developing HR system of only 8 hours, per filer
- Additional work: Although reporting is to be done through EEO-1, would require businesses to submit all new data on employees’ aggregate W-2 earnings + hours worked
- EEO-1 & W-2s are submitted at very different times of the calendar year, requiring businesses organize for one filing, then again later in the year
An excerpt from CACI’s letter:
“Even hypothesizing that the collection process were not overly burdensome, the results will not provide reliable data for identifying compensation disparities based on discriminatory intent. W-2 income does not accurately reflect the compensation of employees in modern workplaces. Many of CACI’s member companies have adopted compensation systems that include non-taxable components, such as 401k contributions, deferred stock and options that are not reported as W-2 income in the year they are received. Some even offer charitable contributions to non-profits and projects of an employee’s choice – and these are highly popular benefits to give back to communities, but they are not income.
Additionally, company-specific compensation decisions are based on compensation practices that are not accurately captured in W-2 wage information. Simply put: using overly broad job category bands means that the EEOC will not be comparing apples to oranges, it will be comparing lemons to watermelons. Pay within a job title, to say nothing of a job category, can vary wildly based on a host of factors (education, years of experience, expertise, company size, etc.). The proposed one-size-fits-all approach to pay bands and job titles ensures that whatever data is collected will be useless, or at the very least inaccurate, for the EEOC’s intended analysis.”
Comments on the EEOC’s wage reporting rule are due today, April 1, 2016, by midnight. If you would like to file your own individual comments before the deadline , they can be submitted to www.regulations.gov, docket #2016-01544, with the following heading:
Acting Executive Director, Executive Secretariat
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
131 M Street NE
Washington, DC, 20507
VIA ELECTRONIC SUBMISSION: http://www.regulations.gov
Re: Comments on “Revision of the Employer Information Report (EEO-1)” Federal Register Docket#2016-01544, February 1, 2016
DOL Issues ‘Persuader’ Rule, Businesses With Labor Activity Beware
On Wednesday, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued the final version of a rule requiring third parties and outside consultants to disclose when they are hired by businesses for anti-union activities.
Previously, disclosure to DOL occurred only when consultants had direct contact with workers, as “persuaders.” Instead of direct consultant contact, many companies instead sought the advice of third parties/lawyers who could help businesses develop handout materials, talking points for company leadership and strategies for ensuring business messages resonated with workers.
“When the first ambush reg came out, it came out at the same time that the persuader reg came out. The reason is the two work together to stop an employer [sic] to make its case during a union organizing campaign. – Randy Johnson, U.S. Chamber’s Senior Vice President for labor, immigration and employee benefits
However, the DOL sees these actions as detrimental to workers, and citing a study, say they believe 71 to 87 percent of employers “hire persuaders when faced with a union organizing campaign, with most of these agreements currently not being reported.”
“This unwarranted action by the Department of Labor will further restrict employers’ ability to educate and inform employees on essential issues in the workplace. For small and medium-sized manufacturers especially, this ‘revision’ could silence employers for no good reason. This is just the latest in a series of so-called ‘tweaks’ from the Department of Labor and the National Labor Relations Board, which, in reality, are overreaching and drastic overhauls to longstanding policy that will fundamentally upend the manufacturing workplace. The NAM will aggressively pursue legislative and legal action to overturn this dangerous, unnecessary rule.” – National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) President, Jay Timmons
When the rule was offered in 2014, the Labor Department estimated the rule would cost filers ‘more than $825,000’ in compliance costs. At that time, the U.S. Chamber said the rule’s first year could have an economic burden of at least $910 million.
Already, the NAM and the U.S Chamber have threatened lawsuits for infringing on an employer’s First Amendment rights with the persuader rule. The American Bar Association has also weighed in, saying the rule could jeopardize attorney-client privileges, while the Associated Builders & Contractors have sought riders in several omnibus bills to remove the DOL language.
- Persuader Rule Could Silence Manufacturers,org
- Business Groups Sue Labor Department to Block Persuader Rule, Wall Street Journal
- Union ‘Persuader’ Rule to Offer Rare Look Inside DC Consulting, The Hill
If you have questions, comments or ideas on federal policy issues, please contact CACI Federal Policy Director, Leah Curtsinger at (303) 866-9641.