Articles Posted in Construction Generally

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The California Contractors State License Board (CSLB) recently announced that it has launched a series of interactive forms to help simplify the contractor license application process as well as the process that licensees are to use to change or update to their existing licenses. The upgrade includes “easy-fill” forms available on the CSLB’s Forms and Applications webpage. CSLB confirmed that the new forms will alert applicants and licensees if certain errors are made when entering information, e.g., conflicting responses to questions have been entered into the form, blank fields, etc., and prompt that other forms may need to be submitted. The new easy fill forms include the application for original contractor license, application for an additional license classification, application to replace the qualifying individual, certification of work experience, and application for home improvement salesperson registration. Once the forms are completed, they must be printed, signed, and sent to CSLB; CSLB currently does not accept electronic submissions.

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On March 21, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court decided the case of NLRB v. SW General, Inc., dba Southwest Ambulance. This case concerns the operation and application of the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998 (FVRA).

Section 3345(a) of the FVRA permits three categories of Government officials to perform acting service in a vacant office requiring Presidential appointment and Senate confirmation (PAS office). Subsection (a)(1) prescribes the general rule that, if a vacancy arises in a PAS office, the first assistant to that office“shall perform” the office’s “functions and duties temporarily in an acting capacity.” Subsections (a)(2) and (a)(3) provide that, “notwithstanding paragraph (1),” the President “may direct” a person already serving in another PAS office, or a senior employee in the relevant agency, to serve in an acting capacity instead. However, Section 3345 makes certain individuals ineligible for acting service. Subsection (b)(1) specifically states: “Notwithstanding subsection (a)(1),a person may not serve as an acting officer for an office under this section” if the President nominates him for the vacant PAS office and, during the 365-day period preceding the vacancy, the person “did not serve in the position of first assistant” to that office or “served in [that] position . . . for less than 90 days.”

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On March 14, U.S. Federal Judge Royce Lamberth granted Halliburton’s motion for summary judgment and dismissed Mr. Barko’s claims against Halliburton, filed under the False Claims Act (FCA), which, along the way, resulted in important rulings protecting the attorney client privilege. The case is United States of America ex rel. Harry Barko v. Halliburton Company, et al. As a result of Judge Lamberth’s ruling, this long and protracted litigation may be nearing an end after twelve years and several decision by the federal district court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

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Below is a brief summary of the Office of Management and Budget’s recently issued “America First, A budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again.”  The Blueprint only provides details on discretionary spending proposals. The full budget, to be released later this spring, will include specific tax proposals and a “full fiscal path.”

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Yesterday, the White House published a Presidential Executive Order on a Comprehensive Plan for Reorganizing the Executive Branch directing the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, after a period of review and consultation with the agencies, to propose a plan to streamline the federal government’s executive agencies, both reorganizing governmental functions and eliminating unnecessary agencies. It may take a year to formulate.

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In FERC Enters the Trump Era, The agency announces staff-led Technical Conference as Trump administration expected to name new Commissioners, my colleagues Jeff Merrifield, Sheila McCafferty Harvey, Jeff DelaneyMeghan Claire Hammond and I discuss the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s much-anticipated announcement that occurred on March 3 regarding its upcoming staff-led technical conference on wholesale energy and capacity markets.

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In Great Expectations,  DOJ holds anti-corruption compliance programs to a high standard in evaluating their credibility, our colleagues Bill Sullivan, Nancy Fischer, Aaron Hutman and Fabio Leonardi discuss the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) February 8 release of a list of important topics and sample questions that the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section has frequently found relevant in evaluating the adequacy of a corporate compliance program. The new guidance is intended to assist ethics and compliance officers in crafting effective corporate compliance policies and procedures, and signals how DOJ’s new compliance expert, Hui Chen, is expected to assess a company’s compliance program.

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Referencing Executive Orders issued by past administrations, on February 24, 2017, President Trump issued a new Whitehouse-300x225Executive Order: “Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda.” The Executive Order establishes new procedures and timelines by which most federal administrative agencies must conduct their regulatory planning and review.

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In Phishing for W-2s: IRS Warns of Expanding Cyber Scam, Pillsbury attorneys Catherine Meyer and Kate Nyce cautioncyber-300x225 all employers to be aware of and protect against cybercriminals scamming employers into turning over their employees’ W-2s.

Photo:   Blogtrepreneur, Data Breach – Creative Commons

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In its recent Atlantic Systems decision, the Government Accountability Office clarified whether an agency is required or simply has discretion to credit past performance references submitted on behalf of an offeror’s proposed subcontractor. The answer: it depends on the type of procurement. For more information, read our  Taking Credit for Subcontractor Past Performance GAO clarifies when an agency may decline to evaluate a proposed subcontractor’s past performance references.

Additional Source:  Matter of Atlantic Systems Group, Inc., File B-413901; B-413901.2, Decision (Jan. 9, 2017)