Carolinas AGC, the trusted voice of the construction industry in the Carolinas, in 2017 has been heavily involved in helping lead successful efforts for hundreds of millions of dollars in new infrastructure funding for both Carolinas as well as such key issues as work zone safety, promoting the construction industry as a great career and helping improve our members’ bottom lines in their businesses. Look for another banner year for CAGC in the state legislatures in Columbia and Raleigh in 2018.
 
Below is a snapshot of how Carolinas AGC lobbyists work on members’ behalf in the North Carolina and South Carolina legislatures.

North Carolina

"This past legislative session, CAGC saw many of its top priorities written into law or eligible to advance to next year’s short session.  Equally important were our successful efforts to hold back legislation that could have had dire consequences for our members and our industry." Betsy Bailey, CAE, NC Government Relations Building Division Director

CAGC’s legislative wins for 2017 in North Carolina include:
  • Secured $200,000 in funding for construction workforce recruitment initiatives, appropriated in the NC Community College System budget. This money, in addition to CAGC efforts that secured a like amount from NCDOT for a total of $400k, will provide for collaboration with the NC Community College System to develop an outreach plan to increase interest in construction careers.  

  • Working with the NC Community College System, acquired additional funding for Career Coaches to be placed in high schools to inform students about career paths through the community colleges—including construction careers.  

  • Obtained an overall funding increase for NCDOT to provide for: 100 more highway projects to be added over the next 10 years; increased funding for the bridge program which includes a special designation to secure future funding for this program; special set-aside funds for improving road conditions; money for commercial airports; and funding to modernize the state ports.  

  • Created a Pay-As-You-Go Capital Infrastructure Fund to earmark money each year, to begin July 2019, to use for state and UNC facilities. CAGC has long advocated for a special designated fund to address significant repair and renovation needs.  

  • Advanced HB 650 – State Board Construction Contract Claims that would require the Director of State Construction to investigate and issue a final written decision within a prescribed time-period to expedite claim resolution. The bill was passed in the House and is eligible for consideration by the Senate in the 2018 short session.  

  • Helped delay enactment of HB 590 – Interior Design Profession Act that would allow for the Department of Insurance to oversee a registration process for interior designers, thus allowing them to submit their own plans for permitting purposes. CAGC worked closely with AIA/NC and other stakeholders in opposing this bill because of the confusion it could create among the building professions, resulting in delays, cost increases and possible compromised safety. Because of our efforts, the Senate did not act on the bill this year to give all parties a chance to work out a compromise before the 2018 short session in May.  

  • Held strong against SB 607 – Job Order Contracting Method, legislation that would have added JOC as a new construction delivery method—a competitively bid, fixed price, indefinite quantity procurement contract compiled from a unit price catalog of construction or repair tasks awarded to the most qualified job order contractor bidder. The bill as written would have significantly limited competition by allowing open-ended contracts covering multiple projects of up to $60 million dollars. The bill was never heard in committee.  

  • Stopped HB 416 – Robeson County/Local Business Preference legislation that would have allowed Robeson County (and other counties as they followed suit) to select only local contractors for construction and repair work within their county. This act would have significantly disadvantaged other contractors outside the county, leading to reduced competition and price increases. The state constitution prohibits local preference laws.  

  • Protected Lien rights by limiting the new law that would require the claimant to cancel the Notice of Lien after potential lien claims are paid to only those claims on one- and two-family dwellings.  

  • Preserved public bidding statutes by ensuring that no public projects were exempt from public bidding laws (i.e. College of Albemarle Community College).

South Carolina

“Carolinas AGC was thrilled to see a couple of long, overdue pieces of legislation pass this session – a long-term sustainable road funding plan and work zone safety legislation. I hope that both bills will have a positive impact on our members and the industry as whole. It is very satisfying to see something you’ve worked for hard on, for years, become a reality." -- Leslie Clark, CAGC SC Government Relations Director
 
CAGC’s legislative wins for 2017 in South Carolina include:
  • Pushed for the successful passage of a phased in, long-term motor user fee that will allow all additional funding to go solely toward the multitude of infrastructure needs in the state. The bill that passed, H. 3516/Act 40 became effective July 1, 2017 and will generate roughly $633 million a year when fully implemented.
  • Celebrated the passage of the Work Zone Safety Legislation, H. 4033/Act 81. This legislation is one that Carolinas AGC has filed and pushed for years. CAGC’s lobbyist, Leslie Clark, worked closely SCDOT Secretary Christy Hall and her legislative team to see this bill passed this year. Clark solicited the help of numerous Senators and suggested several parliamentary procedures during the final days of the legislative session to get the readings needed for passage. As approved, the bill will increase the current fine of $75-$200 (which has been in law for years) to as high as $5,000 depending on the type of injury received. 

  • Supported the use of state funds that would have paid for a mobile workshop to be used to encourage careers in fields such as construction, like the Be Pro Be Proud initiative in Arkansas. CAGC, along with a handful of allies, laid the groundwork for the mobile workshop and secured $950,000 in the SC Senate to pay for it, but the SC House budget conferees refused to support it. However, we have a lot of momentum and are working closely with Gov. Henry McMaster and several state agencies to try and find a way to fund this traveling workshop. So, for the time being, Be Pro Be Proud…to Be Postponed. 

  • Helped block the passage of S.141, which would allow for a state level minimum wage increase. CAGC will also work with other business groups to block the passage of H.3029, which would repeal the state’s Right to Work status.