Recently in Construction Generally Category

Louisiana Contractor Licensing Board Updated Guidance On Reciprocity And Endorsement Agreements

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Recently, the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors updated its publication titled Important Information Regarding Reciprocity (Revised 3/17/2015). Like many other states, Louisiana may give an applicant for a contractor's license credit for having a contractor's license in another state in which Louisiana has a reciprocity or examination endorsement agreement, and vice versa. In order to qualify for reciprocity in Louisiana, the qualifier for the license application submitted to the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors must be the qualifier on the contractor's license in the reciprocal state. Louisiana has a reciprocity or examination endorsement agreement with Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Virginia.

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Supreme Court Allows Changes to Agencies' Interpretive Rules without the Notice-and-Comment Rulemaking Process

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By Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman

Today, Pillsbury attorneys Ken Quinn, Jennifer Trock and Graham Keithley published their client alert titled Supreme Court Allows Changes to Agencies' Interpretive Rules without the Notice-and-Comment Rulemaking Process. The Alert discusses the Supreme Court's recent order in Perez v. Mortgage Bankers Association, upholding an agency's reversal of its own regulatory interpretation without requiring notice-and-comment rulemaking. It cautions that regulated entities now face considerable uncertainty in relying on agencies' regulatory interpretations, even during enforcement actions. While the Court cautioned agencies from arbitrarily and capriciously changing their interpretations, particularly when the exiting interpretation is heavily relied upon, courts will likely continue to defer to the agency's new interpretation.

Seattle's Minimum Wage Ordinance Effective April 1

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Seattle's new minimum wage legislation passed by the Seattle City Council and signed into law by Mayor Murray on June 3, 2014 provides for an increase in the minimum wage in the City of Seattle to $15/hr., phased in over time, beginning April 1, 2015. The minimum wage ordinance has a different schedule for increasing the employees' pay based upon the employers' number of employees in the U.S. and whether the employer pays toward its employees' medical benefits plan.

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Franchise Tax Board California Competes Tax Credit Review Procedures

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By Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman

The Franchise Tax Board ("FTB") will begin reviewing California Competes Tax Credit Agreements of all recipient of the credit (except for small businesses) beginning this summer. If FTB determines that credit recipients have failed to achieve the employment and investment milestones set forth in their credit agreements, FTB may recommend that the awarded credits be recaptured. During the course of FTB's review, it may request from credit recipients any information relevant to the credit agreements, and will have access to all of the information submitted in the course of the recipients' application for a credit award. Credit recipients and future credit applicants should be aware that FTB is not prohibited from using any of this information for purposes of an unrelated income or franchise tax audit, and that contesting an FTB recommendation to recapture the credit may present unique procedural challenges.

Additional Source: Franchise Tax Board California Competes Tax Credit Review Procedures, co-authored by Michael Cataldo and Paul Casas.

NV Reminds Contractors to Include License Number on All Advertisements

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The Nevada State Contractors Board (NSCB) recently issued an Industry Bulletin reminding all licensed Nevada contractors of their responsibility to include specific information when advertising services. Subdivision (3) of Section 624.720 of the Nevada Revised Statutes requires that "[a]ll advertising by a licensed contractor must include the name of the contractor's company and the number of the contractor's license." In its Industry Bulletin, NSCB confirmed that it frequently monitors a number of print and online media, including Angie's List, Craigslist, online bulletins, local and statewide publications, etc. and that it has begun to see an increase in licensed contractors failing to include their license number in their advertisements.

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Removal of Arbitrator for Impartiality Doubts Under English Arb Act

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By Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman

Today, Pillsbury attorney Ray Sweigart published his client alert titled Removal of Arbitrator for Impartiality Doubts under English Arb Act. The Alert discusses the English Court's removal of an arbitrator under section 24 of the Arbitration Act 1996 in Sierra Fishing Company and others v Hasan Said Farran and others [2015] EWHC 140 (Comm).

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GSA May Abolish the Price Reduction Clause

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By Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman

Yesterday, Pillsbury attorneys John Jensen and Claire Cavaliero published their client alert titled GSA May Abolish the Price Reduction Clause. The Alert discusses the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) recently issued proposed rule that could abolish the long-standing price reduction clause (PRC) from the GSA Schedule program. GSA is proposing to eliminate the clause and to use, instead, the submission of "transactional data reporting" to help achieve its goal of fair and reasonable pricing on all orders. The rule would require contractors to report transactional data for orders placed against GSA Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) and other GSA contracts. The proposed rule is designed to improve GSA's ability to conduct meaningful price analysis and more efficiently and effectively validate fair and reasonable pricing. It is also intended to reduce the burden on contractors imposed by the current GSA PRC.

Failure To Present Expert Testimony Resulted In Dismissal

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On March 13, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a lawsuit seeking recovery of funds from the president of Environmental Careers Organization (ECO), a defunct Massachusetts non-profit company whose business was to place interns with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). ECO received compensation from the EPA for its costs of placing students in agency internships. EPA audited the accounts of ECO and then sought recovery of more than $6 million from it, forcing ECO into bankruptcy.

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Supreme Court Decides 2 Important Administrative Law Cases

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Without dissent, but with strong concurring opinions, the Supreme Court has decided two cases that could, over time, significantly affect the relationships between the federal government and the regulated community. In the first case, the Court was asked to review the distribution of regulatory powers between Amtrak, which operates many railroad operations, and its rail competitors, resulting from a transportation law enacted in 2008. In enacting this law, the question is whether the Congress illegally delegated some of its regulatory powers to Amtrak. The Court ruled that it did not, but the case was returned to the lower court to decide some important constitutional issues. In the second case, the Court held that federal agencies, when they issue interpretive rulings, are not required to follow the standard notice and comment procedures that govern federal rulemaking, even though these interpretive rulings may have a very important effect on the parties that it regulates. While legal, the practice clearly troubles some of the Justices.

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Reality TV ~ CSLB Discussion Forum for Contractors

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In the fall of 2014, the California Contractors State License Board (CSLB) launched a new forum -- CSLB TV -- for engaging in discussions with contractors about issues and challenges that affect the construction industry. The first event, an interactive webinar on September 19, 2014 titled Doing It Right: HVAC Permits & Title 24 Energy Regulations Webinar, discussed issues and challenges in the HVAC industry related to California Energy Commission Title 24 energy efficiency regulations and the permitting process with local building divisions. Topics for future CSLB TV are being discussed. To submit a webinar topic recommendation, email social@cslb.ca.gov.

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3D Printed 5-Story, 1,100 Sq. Meters Villa?

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Recently it was reported that Shanghai WinSun Decoration Design Engineering Co. has used 3D printing technology to create a 5-story, 1,110 square meters villa using construction waste. Pictures of the villa are included in the articles Chinese firm 3D-prints 5-story house using construction waste 'ink' and Exclusive: WinSun China builds world's first 3D printed villa and tallest 3D printed apartment building. WinSun's website also features more pictures of its 3D projects.

Lining Up to Bid Protest

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Today, my colleague Alex Tomaszczuk and I published our client alert Lining Up to Protest Bid -- protest dismissed as company fails to allege it was "next in line" for award. The Alert discusses the U.S. Court of Federal Claims' February 10, 2015 decision in Universal Marine Company, K.S.C. v. United States, No. 14-1115C, dismissing the bid protest complaint filed because the protester was not "next in line" for award of the contract and, therefore, lacked standing to protest. As noted in the Alert, this decision serves as a critical reminder for bid protesters of the necessity of demonstrating, through a carefully crafted complaint, that they were "prejudiced" by the agency's actions.

San Francisco Gross Receipts Tax Update: New Regulations Impact Returns Due Today

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By Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman

Beginning in 2014, every person engaging in business within San Francisco is subject to an annual Gross Receipt Tax ("GRT") measured by the person's gross receipts from all taxable business activities attributable to San Francisco. The GRT will be phased in and the existing Payroll Expense Tax phased out over a 5-year period. During this phase-out period, taxpayers must report their GRT and Payroll Expense Tax liabilities on a single tax return, the first of which is due March 2, 2015. A person engaging in business within San Francisco must file a single GRT and Payroll Expense Tax return on a combined basis with all of that person's related entities.

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CA CSLB License Exam/Certification Study Guides

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The California Contractors State License Board has made available a study guide for the trade examination for the various contractor license and specialty license classifications and one for the law and business examination; a trade examination is not required for the C-61 limited specialty classification. It has also made available a study guide for the asbestos certification and hazardous substances removal certification. Each study guide provides: (1) a breakdown of examination topics, (2) several sample examination questions, (3) resource information to help the license applicant study for the examination, (4) test site policies, and (5) a test strategy.

Additional Sources: California Contractors License Law & Reference Book (2014 Ed.); CSLB, Apply for a Contractors License - Exam Required; CSLB, Step 2: Applying for a Waiver of the Examination; CSLB, Step 7: Studying for the Examination

S. 1 -- Keystone XL Pipeline Approval Act

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S.1 -- 114th Congress (2015-2016) was introduced on January 6, 2015. Recently, it was passed by both the House (February 11, 2015) and Senate (January 29, 2015). The President has indicated he will veto the bill. Nevertheless, it is interesting to see what's in the bill.

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