GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS

IEC of Oregon Government Affairs

Gavel and Constitution

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IEC of Oregon is committed to monitoring the activities of the city, county, state and federal government – legislative, agency administrative, regulatory and legal issues – to assess the resulting impact on the open shop electrical industry in Oregon.

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IEC of Oregon analyzes issues, addresses technical components and educates lawmakers, and its own membership on how proposed and enacted legislation, agency programs, regulations and court decisions will affect the open shop electrical industry.

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Over the past 40 years, the IEC of Oregon’s Government Affairs Committee has gained respect and serves on a variety of agency and regulatory state committees. Aided by esteemed lobbyist Shawn Miller of Miller Public Affairs, the GAC allocates time and resources, sets legislative priorities, devises strategies and fights for IEC’s position on public policy.

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IEC of Oregon members are invited to support the IEC Political Action Committee Fund.

IEC of Oregon Important Achievements at the State Level

Limited Electrical Energy Licenses Reduction — IEC worked with the Building Codes Division and passed legislation to decrease the number of Limited Energy Electrician licenses from 11 to 2.  The bill eliminated confusion by licensees and regulators as to requirements, scope of work and continuing education.

Stopped Expansion of Prevailing Wage on Private Projects — IEC has been victorious in nearly every legislative session by killing the union’s attempt to expand prevailing wage to private projects within enterprise zones.

Prompt Payment — IEC passed legislation providing for payment timelines for owners, contractors and subcontractors on commercial construction projects.

Apprenticeship Ratio — IEC pushed legislation in 2005 (HB 2374) requiring the State Apprenticeship and Training Council to adopt rules establishing a minimum 1 to 1 numeric ratio of journeymen to apprentices for each apprenticeable occupation.  Although the bill did not pass, it forced BOLI Commissioner Dan Gardner to increase the number of apprentices on projects and to this day — IEC continues to push for a 1-1 ratio.

E-Permitting — IEC worked to pave the way for statewide one-stop E-permitting, promoting consistency, predictability, timeliness and efficiency — as the construction industry’s most important regulatory streamlining initiative.

Predictable Scheduling — Oregon became the first state to pass legislation on work scheduling requirements. However, IEC worked to exempt the construction industry and place a permanent local preemption on predictable/flex scheduling that prevents Portland and other
cities from enacting local ordinances.

Retainage — IEC pushed and passed legislation that cut the retainage requirement onconstruction projects in half putting more money in subcontractors’ pockets.

Fire Code — IEC passed legislation to clarify that the Building Codes Division has the authority over the State’s Fire Marshal for fire codes.

Expanded Minor Label Program — IEC successfully led the way to clarify and expand the scope of work for the minor label program — resulting in cost savings and increased job efficiency as well as benefits for the consumer.

2019 Year-End Oregon State Legislative Update

oregon flag, 3D rendering, on a cloud background

2020 State Legislative Updates

 

The 2020 Oregon legislative session ended with only three bills being passed, none of which affect IEC members.

The unproductive session, which will be remembered by the walkout of Republican legislators to deny a quorum, is good news for independent electrical contractors and many other small businesses in the short term. It means that once again efforts to enact a cap-and-trade program failed. The costly measures prescribed under Senate Bill 1530 would have increased operating costs for almost all businesses and the cost of living for almost all Oregonians without any meaningful reduction in carbon emissions. We recognize the need for businesses to operate in an environmentally responsible manner, but many businesses – including IEC members – already are making voluntary operational changes that reduce their carbon footprint.

The short-circuited session also blocked passage of House Bill 4045, which would have expanded the types and number of projects that are defined as “public works” and, therefore, fall under prevailing wage laws.

While the failure of these bills is good news in the short-term, there could be long-term consequences. Gov. Kate Brown already has signaled her intention to enact parts of the cap-and-trade regimen envisioned in SB 1530 through executive action. And the political acrimony created by the 2020 session could increase the stakes during the 2021 legislative session, when more bills that affect how businesses operate are certain to be introduced.

IEC’s legislative team will continue to monitor executive and regulatory efforts in the wake of the 2020 session and will be there in the 2021 session to represent your interests.

 

 

2019 State Legislative Update

SAIF Raid

IEC Position: OPPOSE
Result: DEFEATED

Early this year Governor Brown considered taking $486 million from the SAIF workers compensation surplus to reduce the substantial PERS liability.  IEC of Oregon joined a business coalition that successfully pushed back ultimately killing the bill.

SB 379 – Marijuana Accommodation in the Workplace

 

IEC Position: OPPOSE
Result: DEFEATED

SB 379 conditioned employment on not allowing use of a substance that is legal to use in the State of Oregon.  However, this bill would make it impossible to prevent an employer from enforcing a drug-free workplace policy for individuals testing positive for marijuana.  IEC of Oregon and 31 other business associations opposed this bill which made it out of committee but did not receive a Senate vote.  This will pop up again in future Oregon legislative sessions.

HB 2007 – Diesel Regulations

IEC Position: Originally OPPOSED, NEUTRAL as passed
Result: PASSED

This bill required diesel truck drivers that operate in the Portland metro area replace the medium duty and heavy duty vehicles with newer engines by 2025. After months of negotiations, the bill was narrowed in restrictions and passed.  The new law applies only to state projects over 20 million in Washington, Clackamas and Multnomah counties and trucks registered in those three counties.  It exempts logging and farming trucks statewide and carriers with a fleet of five or fewer trucks.

Prevailing Wage Laws Bills

IEC Position: OPPOSE
Result: DEFEATED

IEC of Oregon joined several associations, economic development groups and local governments to oppose several prevailing wage bills:

HB 2408 – Required prevailing wages on all private projects in the Enterprise Zones in excess of $20 million.  IEC of Oregon opposed the precedent of mandating prevailing wages on private projects which would ultimately lead to less economic development in Oregon.

HB 2407 and HB 2409 – Both would have changed the calculations for prevailing wage rates by reducing the number of districts and possible eliminating the prevailing wage survey replacing it with collectively bargained rates.  This would result in significant cost increases for public work projects, especially in rural Oregon.

HB 2414 – Would require manufacturing companies producing prefabricated materials used in public works pay prevailing wage in Oregon with the result of severely limiting prefabricated materials available for public works and increasing their costs.

HB 2020 Cap and Trade

IEC Position: OPPOSE
Result: DEFEATED

IEC of Oregon joined several associations to oppose.

Motivation for this bill was to reduce the amount of carbon emitted into the atmosphere over time.  Following a California model large scale industrial users in the state of Oregon would be restricted to 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. Business that emit under that amount may sell their credits to those who emit more.  Over time the available credits would be reduced to 80% by 2050.  Revenue generated from auctioning off the carbon credits would go to non-traditional Highway Trust Fund purposes.

Opponents of the bill contended:

Cap and trade would increase the price of energy and disproportionately impact rural and lower economic residents as they are more likely to work in high emission manufacturing plants or drive long distances.  Cap and trade schemes for carbon dioxide have not worked to reduce emissions, will harm energy security and may force more companies to move or shut down.  There were 117 amendments for preferred business entities, the bill lacked clarity and it divided the business community.  Oregon’s emissions make up far less than 1% of the global problem.

On June 20th, 11 Republican lawmakers walked out in protest of the likely vote while the following week loggers and truckers protested at the state capitol. The senators returned to Salem on June 29th after it was announced that there were not enough votes to pass the bill.

 

HB 3427 Oregon’s Gross Receipts Tax

IEC Position: OPPOSE
Result: PASSED

Effective January 2020, Oregon will impose a .57% on gross receipts of business making over 1 million.  The tax applies to businesses run by a sole proprietor, a corporation a limited liability company, a partnership or any other business arrangement.  The tax also applies to out of state business if the business has sales in Oregon over 750,000 or Oregon connections like employees or property.   The tax has some exclusions – the most important being groceries and fuel.

Please talk to your accountant to determine the exclusions and deductions prior to computing your tax*

Portland Business Journal sponsored by Kell, Alterman and Runstein, LLP   July 24, 2019

Paid Family Leave

IEC Position: Originally OPPOSED, NEUTRAL as passed
Result: PASSED

Oregon joined a growing number of states to require employers to provide their workers paid family and medical leave.  Under HB 2005, starting in January 2023 employers must provide up to 12 week of paid leave to eligible employees.   An additional two weeks are allowable for pregnancy and childbirth complications.

The program will be funded 40% by employers and 60% by employees; employers with fewer than 25 employees are not required to pay into the program. Employers must keep their position open unless they have fewer than 25 employees, then the employee may be returned to a different position with similar responsibilities and pay.  Make sure you see an HR professional for advice.

Unpaid Wage Claims

IEC Position: Originally OPPOSED, NEUTRAL as passed
Result: PASSED

HB 3217 was the first of two bills introduced to address the issue of unpaid wage claims in the construction industry.  IEC of Oregon opposed shifting responsibility to general contractors for any unpaid wages by subcontractors and suppliers.  IEC participated in a work group which ultimately amended HB 3217 providing a multi-phased process to ensure contractors are held accountable for only valid wage claims.  If a contractor fails to pay 60 days after final BOLI determination, CCB will suspend the contractor’s license until the wage has been paid in full or the contractor establishes a payment plan.  If there are three or more valid wage claims filed in a one year time period, CCB may also elect to revoke, suspend, or refuse to issue a license to the business.

National Advocacy with Independent Electrical Contractors

Four major areas of support from Independent Electrical Contractors national to serve you

 

1  Codes and Standards

IEC is actively engaged in developing codes and standards for the electrical industry.

Through the national Codes & Standards Committee, IEC is directly involved in a large variety of codes and standards activities, including representation on 18 code making panels of the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) 70 National Electrical Code (NEC).

IEC works closely with the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI) and the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) to develop the NEC.  IEC also participates in the development of the National Electrical Safety Code (NESC) and reviews standards created by Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (UL).

IEC participation directly impacts the electrical industry.  Click HERE to get more information on

  • Code Making Process
  • Codes and Standards Document Information
  • National Electric Code

2   National Legislative Affairs

As merit shop contractors, there are certain legislative issues that directly impact the business of IEC members. Labor, energy, tax, jobs, and workforce development are all major political issues taking place at the national level that have the ability to greatly affect the electrical contracting industry. IEC will continue to support issues in the best interest our membership.

Click HERE to see more information on

  • National Priority Issues
  • Policy Issues: 116 Congress
  • Legislation Affecting Apprentices
  • The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act
  • And More

3  National Regulatory Affairs

There are a number of federal regulatory agencies whose actions and decisions may directly impact your business, the electrical trade, and the merit shop.

Many recent proposed new regulations have the potential to be costly and burdensome on IEC members, particularly smaller businesses. IEC makes sure to actively weigh in on any proposed regulatory changes affecting the electrical industry to ensure merit shop concerns are taken into consideration by key agency decision makers. These include:

  • Education and Training
  • Labor and Safety
  • Business and Environment

Click HERE for more information.

4  Industry Outreach

IEC strongly believes in building a strong workforce that can adapt to changing economic times and bolster the electrical contracting industry. In this aim, IEC reaches out to various audiences to create relationships and provide education about the electrical industry.

Click HERE to see more on

  • Veteran Outreach
  • Troops to Trades
  • SkillsUSA