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ACCA members understand first-hand the importance of putting customers first. In fact, ACCA released a public statement making it clear to President Trump and his Administration that ACCA members were very concerned with the impact that tariffs on steel and aluminum would have on customers. More recently, ACCA shared our concerns with members of the House Ways & Means Committee, which agreed to host a hearing on April 12 on the effects of the tariffs on the economy and jobs, which we submitted formal comments to, where we once again underscored our belief that the tariffs are taxes, that can result professional U.S. businesses being less competitive and ...
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ACCA was working closely with the Conditioned Air Association of Georgia (CAAG) and ACCA’s Government Relations Chair, Martin Hoover (Empire Heating and Air, Greater Atlanta area) on legislation that would address business license/occupation taxes impacting HVAC contractors. H.R. 1258 would have commissioned a study on occupation taxes. Some ACCA Members report paying up to $40,000 in occupation taxes, while other professions pay $400. ACCA was fighting to help lower your occupation tax bill to a maximum of $400, and we sent out several action alerts enabling contractors to quickly and easily send alerts to their elected officials. Despite our efforts, the ...
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I had the recent pleasure of attending a commercial contractor MIX® Group meeting, hosted by Andrew Meadows of Pro Air Mechanical, Longwood, Florida. Many contractors think that ACCA is an association for residential contractors, but ACCA is home to some of the largest commercial contractors in the country. And, in 2016 our commercial contracting leaders formed a committee with a goal of ensuring ACCA provides resources specific to the needs of commercial contractors. Meeting with the “Baggers” MIX Group was a terrific opportunity because I was able to highlight the many things that ACCA has undertaken and accomplished for our commercial contractors (You’ll ...
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In March, I wrote about the San Joaquin Valley United Air Pollution Control District (District) proposal to increase fees on gas furnaces and single package gas/electric units that do not meet NOx emissions requirements that have been in place since 2009. You can read the blog here . Briefly, the District proposed raising the fees from between $225-$290 to ranges between $900-950. These fees are levied on furnaces that are unable to meet NOx emission requirements that are not removing the air equivalent of 2 grains of salt in a gallon of water. Read the blog to see the analysis I did on this, and use this analogy to explain to your customers what they are ...
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A brand-new measure had been introduced in the California Legislature which extends the statute of limitations for plaintiffs bringing harassment or discrimination claims from one year to three years for filing claims with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing. The proposed legislation is not limited to sexual harassment and includes all types of harassment and discrimination claims, and leaves wide open the door to a much broader liability period for employers. A secondary administrative burden is mandatory sexual harassment training within six months of an employee’s hire and once every two years, for employers with 50 or more workers.
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Last week I had the opportunity to represent ACCA at the U.S. News & World Report STEM Solutions Presents: Workforce of Tomorrow Conference. This is the preeminent conference for leaders across multiple industries, from corporate CEOs to university presidents, and influential board chairs to top policymakers. The conference was focused on improving America's science, technology, engineering and math skills, and highlighting STEM issues on a national stage to advance the development of a STEM-focused workforce in the new-collar economy. This was the seventh annual conference, and took place in Washington, DC April 4-6. For more details and updates, please ...
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Since starting at ACCA about two years ago, I have learned a lot about the technical side of the HVAC industry and am learning more and more about the business side of operating a contracting company. One of the things that I hear professional contractors preach is the need for maintenance agreements. Contractors know that service maintenance agreements mean high customer retention rates and less seasonality. It also means more profit for your business! Not only are they good for your business, they’re also good for your customers heating and air conditioning systems. Yearly maintenance is necessary for HVAC systems, and contractors always recommend them to ...
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Another one of ACCA and the HVACR Industry’s top commonsense policy goals put forward to President Trump and Congress, which we requested their help transforming was energy policy, specifically:   Energy Bill & EPCA Reform Issue: The Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA), is the governing policy for energy efficiency of DOE residential covered products and commercial covered equipment; and gives DOE authority to regulate many of the HVACR Alliance members’ products. EPCA is over 40 years old and has not been updated since its initial enactment to reflect new technologies and economic realities. EPCA has produced an endless cycle of efficiency rulemakings ...
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Employers out on the Left Coast could soon find themselves facing a brand new protected class: medical marijuana users. Currently, California employers can deny employment to users of marijuana, even if the use is to treat a medical condition. An employer may maintain a drug- and alcohol-free workplace per the California Health and Safety Code §11362.45(f). However, a recently introduced bill – AB 2069 – will amend the state’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) to add “status as, or positive drug test for cannabis by a qualified patient or person with an identification card” to the list of protected categories under FEHA. AB 2069, if enacted, will radically ...
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Despite the last-minute veto threat by President Trump- my prediction that the latest government funding deadline would be meet without the dysfunction we had seen from the three-previous extensions held true. Even more exciting was my prediction that the spending package would turn into catchall bill. As nice as it is to predict how things might turn out in this crazy city, it’s even more exciting when the bill that passes has several of ACCA’s priorities included. The $1.3 trillion dollar Omnibus Spending Package, that takes us through to the Government’s fiscal year, and keeps the Government open through September 30, 2018 turned out to be just that sort of ...
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In the wake of the #MeToo movement, another state has passed sweeping new laws which will require employers to: Change their background checking process so that applicants are screened for qualifications before using arrest or conviction records during the recruitment process; Avoid requiring employees to waive or release harassment or discrimination claims except in certain settlement agreements; Refrain from imposing nondisclosure agreements that restrict employees from discussing sexual harassment or sexual assault occurring in the workplace; and Ensure that men and women are paid the same for the same job. Employers will now be bound by the ...
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As ACCA works on national apprenticeship incentives and programs with the Departments of Labor and Education, let’s not forget that numerous states offer tax incentives and tuition support for registered apprentices. This week, I came across a couple of articles highlighting what some of the states are doing to incentivize apprenticeship programs. For instance, Montana is offering employers who sponsor an apprentice $750 (or $1,500 if the apprentice is a veteran). Arkansas goes even further, offering a credit $2,000 or 10 percent of wages earned (whichever is less). It’s not just tax incentives that are helping contractors find more young people for their ...
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The Little Rock Planning and Development Department is working with the city’s Board of Directors to pass an ordinance that would put standards in place for duct testing in new residential buildings.   The testing standards were removed from the 2014 Arkansas Energy Code, according to city officials, and duct work is only visually inspected today. The Department’s goal is to help make new residential buildings more efficient and save homebuyers and renters money on their utility bills. The proposed city ordinance would require the ducts in all new residential buildings to be tested, approved, and certified. ACCA’s Allied Contracting Organization, the Arkansas ...
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Last August, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (the Act) was passed into law in Massachusetts, expressly prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions. The law will officially take effect on April 1, 2018.   In order to make it clear to employers as to what is covered, the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) issued guidance to accompany the Act. We should point out that the list is not exhaustive, but does include:   More frequent or longer paid or unpaid breaks; Time off to attend to a pregnancy complication or recover from childbirth, with or without pay; Acquisition or modification ...
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It seems the work on taxes never ends.  Last week ACCA joined forced with 40 other national trade associations “Parity for Main Street Employers Coalition”, and submitted a comment letter to Treasury and the IRS on the need to permit pass-throughs businesses to aggregate business entities when claiming the new 20 percent tax deduction. Guidance is necessary because it is common for businesses to separate back office functions like real estate or payroll in different entities from operations. If businesses aren’t allowed to group them together to calculate the new tax deduction, it could be severely limited, resulting in tax increases. Aggregation is already ...
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For the fourth month in a row, another government funding deadline is on the horizon. This time it looks like Congress might be able to break the “cycle of dysfunction”  by passing a catchall bill that updates funding levels through the end of the fiscal year, September 30, 2018. Rather than keeping the government idling at last year’s levels for another short stint. The details of that package are still under wraps as the 12 spending subcommittees haggle over their pieces of the pie, but the really exciting part for ACCA, is we have a vehicle that might allow us to move the several our top workforce funding tools like Perkins Reauthorization. Congress is ...
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In 2009, the San Joaquin Valley United Air Pollution Control District (District) passed rules that lowered the nitrous oxide (NOx) emissions of gas furnaces from 40 nanograms/Joule (ng/J) of heat output to 14 ng/J, to be effective starting in 2015 (phased in based on product type). Reducing the NOx emissions from 40 ng/J to 14 is equivalent to going from 55 parts per million (ppm) at 3% oxygen to 20 ppm. The District currently allows the sale of non-compliant furnaces, but imposes fees on the units that are not able to meet the 14ng/J requirement. The fees for noncompliant condensing furnaces are $290 and $225 for noncompliant non-condensing furnaces and gas/electric ...
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The RESNET Standards Management Board (SMB) officially approved a new work item to recognize elements of HVAC quality installation, per the ACCA 5 QI Standard, in the HERS Index / Energy Rating Index. I attended the 2018 RESNET Annual conference and serve on the SMB, which oversees the development of standards for RESENT’s internal use, as well as those intended for designation as American National Standards. The new work item, though only officially passed at the conference, has been an ongoing project. In May 2016, an informal task group began to discuss what elements of HVAC Quality Installation should be evaluated. The purpose of the standard is to identify ...
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In December, I wrote about troubles that ACCA Members in Illinois were having with electric utility rebate programs. Some utilities were telling contractors they needed to obtain an electrician’s license to perform HVAC installs for efficiency programs with Illinois utilities. ACCA took action and formed a coalition with PHCC-IL, NFIB-IL and the Illinois Mechanical and Specialty Contractors Association. We sent a letter (and several e-mails) to the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) seeking clarification on the issue. Surprisingly (or perhaps unsurprisingly because governments are notoriously slow!), the ICC has not responded to our request. However, there ...
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Background: On October 12, 2017, President Trump issued an Executive Order directing the Secretary of Labor to, among other things, consider a variety of issues related to easing burdens associated with the formation and operation of association health plans (AHPs). In fulfillment of the Executive Order, the Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) published a Proposed Rule in the January 6, 2018 Federal Register and gave commentators 60 days within which to submit comments. ACCA has a long history of support for Federal AHP legislation, my evaluation of the Proposed Rule was carried out in consultation with friends that work ...
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