Recently in Construction Generally Category

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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The Legal Landscape Rapidly Changes for D.C. Employers

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By Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman

Today, Pillsbury attorneys Julia Judish, Rebecca Carr Rizzo and Keith Hudolin published their client alert titled The Legal Landscape Rapidly Changes for D.C. Employers. The Alert discusses how District of Columbia employers now face and are soon to face a number of new laws affecting a wide range of issues, including wage payments, recording of hours worked, pregnancy accommodations, concealed weapons in the workplace, and the use of criminal background checks and drug testing during the hiring process. While most of the changes impose new requirements on employers, emergency legislation passed by the D.C. Council on February 3rd also contained a win for employers by changing existing D.C. law that had previously required that employers keep records of hours worked by both exempt and non-exempt employees. Employers must be aware of these new requirements, some of which require employers to change their current practices, and should carefully review their employee handbooks and other policies to ensure timely compliance.

If you have any questions about the content of this blog, please contact the Pillsbury attorney with whom you regularly work or Julia Judish, Rebecca Carr Rizzo, or Keith Hudolin, the authors of this blog.

July 1, 2015, WA Electrical Certification Examinations To Be Based on 2014 NEC

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The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries ("L&I") is in the process of updating its electrical examinations to the 2014 National Electrical Code® (NEC®) and current versions of Washington electrical laws (Ch. 19.28 RCW) and rules (Ch. 296-46B WAC). L&I expects the revised exams to be in place on July 1, 2015. If an applicants first attempt to pass an electrical administrator exam is on or after July 1, 2015, the examination will be based on the 2014 NEC® and current Washington electrical laws and rules. If the applicant is re-taking an exam on or after July 1, 2015, the applicant will be able to re-test using the 2008 version until your one year test cycle ends; those applicants who have not successfully passed the exam by June 30, 2016 will start a new testing session with the 2014 version.

Additional Resource: Washington State Department of Labor & Industries; Electrical Currents, Vol. 19 No. 2 (Feb. 2015)

Contractor And Tradesmen Licensing and Registration By State

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State contractor and tradesmen licensing laws, and the agencies responsible for issuing and regulating these licensees, vary across the nation. In California, the California Contractors State License Board issues licenses to general engineering contractors, general building contractors and specialty classifications for trades that require a license, including, by way of example only, electrical, warm-air heating, ventilating & air-conditioning (aka HVAC or HVACR), and plumbing. In some states, plumbing, electrical, and HVAC trades are licensed and regulated by separate agencies. Others states only require contractors to register. In other states, municipalities issue and regulate any required contractor's licenses.

Below is a list of regulatory agencies across the nation that issue licenses (or require registration) with a link to their webpage(s) identifying the license classifications and trades subject to licensure (or registration). It does not identify all of the municipalities responsible for issuing and regulating contractors and tradesmen. It also does not include certification requirements, including for example, asbestos abatement certification, hazardous substance removal certification, electrician's certification, or lead-safety certification, or permit requirements. If you are aware of additional state contractor and tradesmen regulatory agencies, please email me and I will update the list.

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