Green Update e-Newsletter
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Registration is now open for NLBMDA's Spring Meeting and Legislative Conference which will take place from March 27-29, 2017 at the Renaissance Dupont Hotel in Washington, D.C. This conference is an incredible opportunity to remind leaders of the importance of our industry and advance the advocacy agenda of NLBMDA.
Over the past few years, we have seen Congress and the White House clash over a range of issues from labor to taxes to the environment. The 2016 elections shook up Washington and 2017 will be a year packed with action on Capitol Hill and at the federal agencies. With so much at stake and so many opportunities to advance our agenda, we strongly encourage all NLBMDA members to attend the annual Spring Meeting & Legislative Conference!
The Department of Labor's (DOL) Final Overtime Rule has been put on hold with a temporary injunction issued by a Federal District Court Judge on November 22, 2016. The rule was scheduled to go into effect on December 1. The court will next consider the underlying merits of the two cases brought against the Final Rule. In the meantime, there is also the possibility that Congress will address this issue during the injunction period. With a new Administration, the Department may choose to not vigorously defend the Final Rule. Employers who have already raised the pay for certain employees in order to retain their exempt status will likely find it difficult to reverse that decision; however, employers may find it possible to put on hold or reconsider reclassification of employees from exempt to non-exempt.
Please click here to read a full breakdown of the court injunction and what this court action means for employers.
Yesterday, a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction halting the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) controversial Overtime Rule from taking effect nationwide on December 1. NLBMDA applauds the prudent action taken by Judge Amos Mazzant of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. The temporary injunction means that the rule will not go into effect until the case is resolved or the injunction is lifted by the judge. As a result, the ruling delays the December 1 implementation from taking place as planned next week. The DOL will likely appeal the injunction. Currently there is no timeline for the case to move forward.
Click here to read NLBMDA's full report.
A federal district court in Texas has issued a permanent injunction blocking the Obama administration's pro-union "persuader rule." The rule required law firms to publicly disclose work they do for employers surrounding union organization efforts. This permanent injunction followed a temporary injunction issued by the same court in June 27 where the court agreed that the Obama administration's Labor Department exceeded its authority by eliminating the statutory exemption for legal advice placed in the underlying law by Congress.
The NLBMDA government relations team is holding a FREE members only Post Election and Washington Update webinar for members only on Wednesday, December 14 from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm ET. This webinar is a terrific member benefit, and you aren't going to miss out on this spirited discussion, so make sure to register today!
2016 NLBMDA Election Recap
In a stunning result, defying many pollsters and conventional wisdom, businessman Donald Trump (R) defeated former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) to be elected the 45th President of the United States. Although Clinton is likely to win the popular vote by a narrow margin, Trump's unexpected strength in states bordering the Great Lakes provided the margin of victory for the Republican.
Trump's strength at the top of the ticket helped Republicans win most of the close Senate and House races, and come January, Republicans will have control of the White House, Senate, and House of Representatives for the first time in 10 years.
Click here to learn more
The Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA) between the United States (U.S.) and Canada expired on October 12, 2015. There was a one-year cooling off period where neither country was allowed to engage in litigation on the issue. That cooling-off period expired on October 12, 2016. The U.S. Lumber Coalition, an alliance of softwood lumber producers in the United States, has expressed support for a new agreement but in a recent statement suggested it may have "no choice but to move to initiate trade cases against unfairly traded imports from Canada."
At the center of the dispute is the claim that the Canadian lumber industry is unfairly subsidized by its federal and provincial governments, as most timber in Canada is owned by the provincial governments. The prices charged to harvest the timber (stumpage fee) are set administratively, as opposed to in the U.S. where prices are set mostly through the competitive marketplace. American lumber producers, as well as the U.S. government, claim this constitutes an unfair subsidy, and is thus subject to U.S. trade remedy laws, where foreign goods benefiting from subsidies can be subject to a countervailing duty tariff, to offset the subsidy and bring the price of the commodity back up to market rates.
Please click here to learn more and read the full update
The National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) elected its new leadership team at the ProDealer Industry Summit in Charleston, SC. At the association's annual meeting, the NLBMDA Board of Directors elected George Lester as the new Chair of the association. George is Chair and CEO at The Lester Group in Martinsville, Virginia and is replacing outgoing chair Scott Yates, president and general manager at Denver Lumber Company in Denver, Colorado.
"Over the years I have learned that those elected officials in the halls of power are elected by us - they are our employees, and they want to hear what's happening in the real world, outside the beltway," Lester said. "There's going to be compromise - that's democracy. But if we don't talk, then they won't hear us. And it's our responsibility to raise our voice."
Click here to read the full press release
The National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) was pleased to honor two of its members for their contributions to the association and the lumber and building materials industry during the NLBMDA Installation Dinner event on October 25 in conjunction with the ProDealer Industry Summit being held in Charleston, SC, October 25-27.
2015-2016 NLBMDA Chairman Scott Yates selected Walter Foxworth, of Foxworth-Galbraith Lumber Company, and Gary Nackers, Vice President of Do It Best Corporation, for this honor. Both were recognized during the NLBMDA Installation and ProDealer of the Year Dinner on Tuesday night.
Click here to read the full press release
The National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) recently submitted comments to the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) regarding its examination of the Lead: Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) rule under Section 610 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA). The rule regulates renovations of homes built before 1978. Its significant economic impact on small businesses requires EPA to review it within ten years of enactment and explore options for reducing compliance costs. Click here to learn more about NLBMDA's comments.
Democrats in the House of Representatives introduced the Overtime Reform and Enhancement Act (H.R. 5813), which would phase-in the increase of the Department of Labor's (DOL) Overtime Rule over three years and eliminate the automatic annual increases. As part of the legislation, the rule would incrementally phase in the new threshold over the next three years, beginning with a 50 percent increase this December, and 25 percent increases at the start of 2018 and 2019.
NLBMDA's Government Affairs team recommended a 3-year phased-in approach to the increase when it met with White House's Office of Management and Budget (OMB) about the overtime rule earlier this year and continued to stress this during meetings with Member's of Congress. NLBMDA remains a leading voice in the Partnership to Protect Workplace Opportunity, a coalition seeking to modify the drastic changes to overtime pay eligibility that will limit flexibility for workers. Learn more here.
Ask Your Senators to Pass the Small Business Health Care Relief Act (S. 3060)
week, the House of Representatives passed the Small Business Health Care Relief
Act, which allows small employers the flexibility to offer pre-tax dollars to
help pay premiums and/or other out-of-pocket costs associated with medical care
and services. Specifically, the bipartisan legislation allows employers with
less than 50 employees to provide Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) to
employees without being penalized.
Under an HRA, an employer can set aside pre-tax money to reimburse employees for premiums and other out-of-pocket expenses. The money cannot be deducted from an employee's paycheck, but HRA's allow employers to limit some spending on health care each year. Read more.