Before adjourning for election season, the House passed a bill that would postpone the December 1 effective date of the Department of Labor’s new overtime rule until the middle of next year. Senate action, if any, won’t come till after election day.

A possible delay in the implementation of a controversial new rule governing eligibility for overtime pay drew a step closer this week, though it’s unclear whether it will be stopped before the effective date of December 1.

Late Wednesday night, the House passed bill H.R. 6094, which would delay implementation until June 1, 2017.

The bill passed on a mostly party-line vote of 246-177, though five Democrats did vote in favor of the bill. The Senate adjourned the same night after passing a stopgap spending bill to avert a government shutdown, meaning the Senate will not vote on the overtime bill until after the November elections at the earliest.

The final overtime rule, announced by the Department of Labor in May, raises the threshold for employees who are exempt from overtime pay to $47,476—more than double the current salary threshold of $23,660.

“We all agree we need to modernize our nation’s overtime rules, but small businesses, nonprofits, and colleges and universities should not be hurt in the process,” Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI), who introduced the bill said. “The department needs to abandon this flawed rule and pursue the balanced approach we’ve been fighting for from the start. Instead, they are forcing those who have to deal with the real-world consequences to make significant changes before an arbitrary December deadline.”

Without further congressional action, the overtime rule will take effect December 1. And with Congress adjourned until November 14 so that lawmakers can campaign for reelection, there will be little time for the Senate to act before the rule becomes effective. In addition, the White House threatened to veto Walberg’s bill earlier this week.

While continuing to press for a legislative solution, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and numerous other organizations have joined together in a lawsuit to block the rule from taking effect on December 1.

The lawsuit, filed last week in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, argues that the Labor Department exceeded its authority under the Fair Labor Standards Act by drastically altering the minimum salary requirements for exemption and by establishing an automatic salary threshold increase every three years, to take place without notice or public comment.

“The costs of compliance will force many smaller employers and nonprofits operating on fixed budgets to cut critical programming, staffing, and services to the public,” the complaint says. “Many employers will lose the ability to effectively and flexibly manage their workforces upon losing the exemption for frontline executives, administrators, and professionals.”

        
 
NUCA is pleased to announce the settlement of a class action lawsuit challenging AT&T’s bills for repairing damage from cable cuts. Please click on the link below for important details.

Further information is available at www.attrepairclaimlitigation.com. You may also contact our lawyers, Ken Canfield and David Hagy.
 
On behalf of NUCA’s national organization and our 26 state and local chapters, including NUCA of DC, we are proud to advocate for our industry and serve as your association of choice.

INSURANCE ASSOCIATES CELEBRATES 60 YEARS IN THE BUSINESS!

Insurance Associates is proud to celebrate their 60th Anniversary in June of this year.  As the agency reflects on this significant milestone we look at the legacy of our founder, Ted Barker.  Ted bought a small insurance agency in Washington, DC in 1956.  He aptly named it Insurance Associates, as he wanted all employees to feel valuable to the organization.  Ted’s vision was to build the agency based on loyalty to employees, clients, and insurance carriers.  Over time the agency grew and IA expanded the client base to include contractors of all types, real estate firms, government contractors and non-profits.  Ted’s vision that was instilled within the agency in 1956 is still with us today as we now number 58 outstanding “Associates” in our four offices serving the entire Washington-Baltimore region.

“Our success is a result of many factors:  our loyal client base, the many associates who deliver exceptional service and our outstanding group of insurance company partners and business colleagues who have supported us over the years.  I firmly believe that Ted would be pleased of what we have achieved as we still operate the agency with the values of unparalleled service, integrity, and professionalism that he valued when he started the agency,” said Stephen A. Spencer, President of IA.

Insurance Associates realizes that they cannot lose sight of the responsibility to the community that has supported the business over the years, so to recognize this important milestone IA is donating $5,000 to six different charities that have a special meaning to the agency for a total donation of $30,000.

Founded in 1956, Insurance Associates is an independent insurance agency serving the Mid-Atlantic region with offices in Rockville, Fairfax, Laurel, and Towson.  We are a locally owned company that prides itself on having one of the most competent, experienced, and longest tenured workforces of any agency in the area.  We advocate for our clients across a diverse range of products and services including Surety Bonding, Commercial Insurance, Employee Benefit Plans, Personal Insurance and Life Insurance.

For more information about our passion and the rest of our team at Insurance Associates, please visit at www.insassoc.com, follow on LinkedIn and like on Facebook.

From DC Water:

“After more than 10 years in the planning and approval process, DC Water is moving forward with the St. Elizabeths water storage tower. Construction is slated to begin in the coming weeks, and is scheduled for completion in 2018.

Some areas east of the Anacostia River have historically experienced low water pressure. DC Water planned years ago to improve the pressure with a new pumping station, water tower and transmission mains. Together, these elements would create a new water service zone (new pressure area) south of the Ft. Stanton area. While the pumping station was built in 2008, the water storage tower was delayed in approvals and permitting.

Commenting on today’s announcement, DC Water CEO and General Manager George S. Hawkins said, “The completion of this tower and water mains will bring the area much-needed water pressure and will improve fire protection and water pressure in homes, schools and businesses. This is important for the area east of the Anacostia River to support the families, agencies and businesses there.”

The tower can provide a small amount of emergency water storage. The pumps in the pumping station can also move water in between pressure zones in an emergency.

The new 170-foot-high storage tank at St. Elizabeths will store two million gallons of water. It is the first water tower DC Water has built in 71 years and will cost about $14 million. The water tower is located near the Saint Elizabeths Hospital National Historic Landmark (NHL), adjacent to the newly constructed hospital facility, east of Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave., SE and north of Alabama Ave., SE. The new water tower will allow for demolition of the existing tower, which was originally built in the 1930s and is no longer adequate.

DC Water coordinated with nearly a dozen agencies for approvals or permits for the tower. These included the Federal Aviation Administration, District Department of Transportation, Historic Preservation Board, DC Mayor’s Office, and Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. Work will be performed on weekdays between the hours of 7:00 am to 7:00 pm. Traffic impacts are expected to be light since the site is located near the hospital campus, though residents can expect truck traffic, some noise and lighting.

How water towers work
Gravity helps water towers create pressure because the water falling from a height causes (hydrostatic) pressure that transmits through the pipes and pressurizes the entire zone. Pumps are turned on to maintain water elevation in the tank to keep the system pressurized. Water can cycle through the towers several times per day.

For fighting fires, very high water volumes and flow rates are needed, and water towers can provide both. And in emergencies, the storage tank can still send water without electricity by simply emptying through gravity.”

With all due respect to the employees of D.C.’s Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, wouldn’t it be nice to launch a business in the District without ever having to come in contact with them?

Now, city entrepreneurs, you can. At least some of you.

The District on Monday went live with its D.C. Business Center, a one-stop online portal through which most city businesses, existing and prospective, can apply for a basic business license, renew a license, and become certified as a certified business enterprise. The system also allows users to look up business and professional licenses, corporate registrations and certified business enterprises by license number or business name.

Two years and $4 million in the making, the portal was designed by D.C.-based Limbic Systems to be TurboTax-like. At its core is a licensing wizard: After answering the wizard’s series of questions, it tells the applicant what licenses are needed and what supporting documents are required by DCRA, the steps to follow and the order they must be completed.

Documents and payment can be submitted electronically.

“We want customers to have the best experience possible,” said DCRA spokesman Matt Orlins. “What we hear from businesses constantly is that they’d rather do it online.”

There are roughly 56,000 active registered businesses in the District, whose dealings with the city’s leading regulatory and licensing agency have not always been pleasant. The portal release comes on the heels of Mayor Muriel Bowser’s weeklong visit with DCRA, a department city leaders believe “can operate more efficiently.”

For now, the new system focuses on the basic business licenses most frequently issued by DCRA — contractors, restaurants, general businesses, single-family rentals, and so on. It is not yet designed to be used for occupational and professional licenses such as CPAs, lawyers and doctors, or for vending and special event licenses, or for highly specialized BBLs such as bowling alleys, candy manufacturing, driving schools and the horse drawn carriage trade.

And a visit to DCRA’s headquarters in Southwest, a call to its customer service center, or a stop by any number of other agencies may still be needed to obtain a certificate of occupancy, or a corporate registration, or tax registration, or a health-related license or a building permit. The ultimate goal for the portal is to “include all District agencies that issue licenses, permits, or certifications; or perform inspections,” per DCRA. It is unknown what the next phase will include, or when it will be released.

“We don’t want to over promise,” Orlins said, “but we do think it’s a very significant release.”

*Michael Neibauer covers economic development, chambers of commerce, transportation and politics for the Washington Business Journal*

DEEP DISCOUNT ALERT!
As you may know, NUCA’s 2017 Convention (March 4-6) will co-locate with CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2017 (March 7-11), one of the biggest construction shows on earth, for a winning Las Vegas combination!  We are also pleased to announce that the dazzling and renovated Palms Casino Resort is our host hotel. 
Our 2017 Convention Committee is busy finalizing an outstanding NUCA Convention program, including keynote speakers, educational breakouts, policy meetings, general sessions, outrageous parties, a golf outing, and our always popular teambuilding shindig.  While registration for the NUCA Convention is not open quite yet, here are some things you need to know right away.
  1. For discounted show passes, be sure to register for CONEXPO-CON/AGG through unique NUCA code-embedded registration links available only at www.nuca.com/convention.  
  1. When you register for the 2017 NUCA Convention, you will be able to register for CONEXPO-CON/AGG at a 36% discount ($54 off the standard fee) through 2/3/17.  We will let you know when 2017 NUCA Convention registration opens online and this special link becomes available.  Don’t jump the gun and miss the discount by registering for the show elsewhere!   
  2. For NUCA members and employees who will not attend the 2017 Convention but will attend the CONEXPO-CON/AGG show only, you will be able to register for the show at a 20% discount ($30 off the standard fee) through 2/3/17.  This discount is available now at www.nuca.com/convention.
NUCA member discounts for CONEXPO-CON/AGG education tickets are also available.
  1. We are pleased to offer discounted room rates at the Palms Casino Resort.  The rates vary by day: $129 (3/3 and 3/4), $59 (3/5 and 3/6) and $200 (3/7 through 3/11).  In addition, NUCA guests will save $10 off the daily resort fee.  For those who would like to book rooms now, the special Palms link is live at www.nuca.com/convention.

We hope to see you in Vegas in March!  If you have questions or need assistance, please let us know.

OSHA to increase penalties as of August 1, 2016

OSHA says the increase was mandated by Congress to bring penalties in line with inflation, and fines will continue to increase each year. New penalty levels will go into effect August 1, and any citations issued after that date will be subject to the new fines if the related violation occurred after November 2, 2015.  \

lick here to read more:

https://www.osha.gov/penalties.html?utm_source=N%40W+7%2F25%2F16&utm_campaign=%40Work+12181015&utm_medium=email

The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission’s (WSSC), SLMBE Office will be hosting following trainings:

The Appendix A Training will be held on Thursday, August 18, 2016.    You may also contact the SLMBE Office for more information at 301-206-8800.

 Understanding the SLMBE Appendix A for MBE/SLBE/SLMBE Participation & Good Faith Efforts Guide
WHERE
WSSC Headquarters, RGH Building – Room LK 120
14501 Sweitzer Lane, Laurel, Maryland 20707


WHEN & TIME
August 18th 9 a.m.–12 p.m.
September 15th 1 p.m.-4p.m.

DESCRIPTION: Appendix A is the section in WSSC Solicitations, which details MBE, SLBE and SLMBE participation on WSSC-funded contracts. All Prime Vendors/Suppliers are required to address subcontract participation determined by the SLMBE Office for proposals to be deemed responsible and responsive. This training course will help Vendors/Suppliers understand the information presented.

WHO SHOULD ATTEND?
The target audience for this training includes, but is not limited to the following:
• ALL Vendors interested in doing business with WSSC
• First-Time Prime Vendors/Suppliers and/or Subcontractors

To register, visit www.wsscwater.com/SLMBE  and select “Event Calendar” from the side navigation.

SORRY, NO WALK-INS
“Diversity…just the way we do business”

Insurance Associates, Inc. acquires Allegiance Surety Associates, a leading bonding firm located in Laurel, MD.