Construction News

November 9, 2018

Capitol News. 

Illinois, it seems has turned out to be the perfect poster child for the “Blue Wave” in last Tuesday’s election.  See if you agree??

Incumbent multi-millionaire Bruce Rauner lost to billionaire JB Pritzker by 14+ percentage points.  No incumbent has lost by that large of a margin in over 50 years.  The two candidates combined spent $250M +.  It is the largest amount of money spent in any Governor’s race.  EVER.

No Republicans won any of the Constitutional offices in the state.

There were 4 highly contested Congressional races in Illinois, with Republicans playing defense in all of these races .  Republicans lost two of those races.  Both losses came in the Northern suburbs, which is a pattern that played out down the ticket.  Two downstate Congressional battles had Republican retaining their seats, but only after hard fought campaigning.   It looks like Illinois should lose at least one seat in Congress in the next re-map due to out-migration.

In the Illinois Senate, Democrats took at least two seats (the third seat is still counting ballots at this writing and trending towards the Democratic challenger).  These losses also come in the suburbs.

In the Illinois House of Representatives, Democratic Speaker of the House Mike Madigan solidified his majority with 6 seats, enough to guarantee him a supermajority of 72 in that chamber.  The only House Republican challenger to  win was in deep southern Illinois where a freshmen Democrat was defeated.  Other than a Republican loss in LaSalle County, Democrats picked up all of their seats in the suburbs.  Are you starting to see a pattern here?  I am.  While it is pure hearsay, Senate President John Cullerton is credited with saying after the next election, there will be no Republican Senators north of I-80.

Don’t forget the AGCI Annual Convention.  We are tying down speakers for our Governmental Affairs Seminar.    Mark Strawn, AGCI lobbyist.   217.789.1570

112th Annual Convention.  Plans are underway for the 112th Annual Convention to be held December 3-4 at the Crowne Plaza in Springfield.  The convention kicks off with an Associate Member meeting and continental breakfast on Monday, December 3rd at 9:00 a.m.  Staff is planning seminars to include safety, labor, and governmental affairs issues.  Technical programs will include the use of drones in the construction industry.  Other technical topics are in the works.

On Monday, there is the AGCI Recognition Luncheon at 11:30 a.m.  The 2018 Leadership Academy will receive their graduation certificates and the safety awards winners will be announced at the luncheon.  In the evening is the Smoker (Reception) from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.  And, don’t forget the Education Foundation Auction is held during the Smoker.  The hospitality room will be open at 9:00 p.m.

Tuesday continues with seminars and concludes with the IDOT Awards Luncheon.  IDOT will present the Contractor of the Year awards.

An Expo will be held on Monday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. so be sure to stop by the booths.  Remember “Members doing business with Members is good business.”

So far the following companies have registered to have a booth: 

Cater Waters Materials


George Lanxon Piling Sales

McCann Concrete Products

Purple Wave

RoadSafe Traffic Systems

Roland Machinery

In order to make the convention a success, we are asking for your help.  Please consider being a Convention Sponsor at $125 and/or a Hospitality Room sponsor for $250.

Convention Sponsors

Geo. Lanxon Piling Sales

Midwest Fence

RoadSafe Traffic Systems

Roland Machinery

E.T. Simonds Construction

Tobey's Construction

Hospitality Room Sponsors

Midwest Fence

Roland Machinery

Attached please find the Registration Form and the Expo Form.  We look forward to seeing you there!

Here is a link for room reservations at the Crowne Plaza.  Deadline is November 14th.

Education Foundation Auction.  Don’t forget to participate at the Education Foundation Auction on Monday, December 3rd during the Annual Smoker.  Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers have graciously offered their services again this year.  Come and join the fun and maybe do a little Christmas shopping at the same time as helping out the scholarship fund.


Of course, in order for the Auction to be a success, we need your donations.  Sporting event tickets, hunting getaways, vacation getaways, electronics or money are appreciated.  Thanks to the following for your donations.

Kerber, Eck & Braeckel

Midwest Fence

Roland Machinery

2019 Leadership Academy.  AGCI is accepting applications for the 2019 Leadership Academy.  The purpose of the Academy is to focus on leadership principles and management techniques that benefit your professionals on the job today and prepare them for increased responsibilities in the future.  Ken Bradford is a charismatic coach and master mentor and he leads the program.

The curriculum guides participants to think critically about important issues facing our industry, while preparing them to be leaders in their companies.  Class members complete a leadership assessment, design goal-oriented assignments, and each session present oral reports on their specific applications.  Between sessions, candidates receive telephone coaching from the instructor.

There are 4 sessions per year with the classes running from 1 to 5 on the first day and 8 to noon on the second day.  Dates have not been set at this time.  The fee is $1,000 per participant.  The application form can be found at

Employment Opportunities. Stetson Building Products has several job openings available in their Decatur location.

Steel Detailer.  Perform various repetitive and routine drafting, detailing and other related duties to produce accurate placing drawings and plans necessary for the fabrication and placement of reinforcing steel bars and related accessories in accordance with customer contract documents, industry standards and /or established practices and procedures.  Use care to ensure the efficient use of materials, fabrication methods and timely delivery of finished products.  Utilize computer microstation and “aSa” computer aided design (CAD) detailing software to create placing plans, or generate plans manually by using tracing or cut-and-paste detailing techniques.  Proceed alone on simple and/or routine assigned projects and serve as project team member on large projects.  Assist others with problem resolution or coordination of detailing activities.  Click on this link to view more information.

Estimator.  Develop detailed take-offs of reinforcing steel material to prepare for quoting to customer.  Click on this link to view more information.

Target Quoting Coordinator.  Identify new construction projects bidding in Illinois (Decatur & Urbana) for state, county, city and commercial projects.  Identification of products will be determined and then pricing submitted to the contractor bidding the jobs.  Contractors bidding will be called before the bid date to determine if they are self-performing or who they will be subbing the work to. Click on this link to view more information.

Inside Sales.  Represents the company to customers over the telephone.  Assists customers by answering questions and recommending products for their individual needs.  Takes orders from customers both inside and over the phone.  Click on this link to view more information.

Thanksgiving Holiday Memo. IDOT reminds contractors that heavy traffic is expected during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. In accordance with Article 107.09 of the Standard Specifications, the holiday period will be from:

November 21 - Wednesday - 3:00 p.m. to

November 25 - Sunday – 11:59 p.m.

All contractors on all types of contracts and all maintenance forces should be instructed to plan their work during the holiday period in accordance with the provisions of Article 107.09. Since the largest percentage of holiday traffic is carried on Interstate and other rural multilane highways, attention should be given to eliminating lane closures on these routes unless physically precluded by stage construction or exempted by the contract provisions. 

Detour runarounds should be inspected for pavement markings, signing and needed surface repairs. Marked detours should be checked for proper signing and directional information.

TFIC Weekly Summary can be found at

Implications of 2018 Congressional Elections on Construction.  The results of the Midterm Congressional Elections will have an impact on construction-related federal policies and legislation. Below is a brief overview of how the election outcome may impact a wide range of issues impacting your construction business and market. 

Transportation & Infrastructure

Infrastructure is a top priority for the incoming Congress, Democrat House Leader Nancy Pelosi, President Trump, Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Democrat Minority Leader Chuck Schumer all made public statements on Nov. 7 citing infrastructure as an issue they can work together on. Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) will become Chairman of the House Transportation & Infrastructure (T&I) Committee. With the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization, Water Resources and Development Act, and Federal Emergency Management Agency authorization passing current Congress, the T&I Committee enters the new Congress able to begin a broader discussion on an infrastructure package. The challenge – as it always is – will be how to pay for a broad infrastructure bill. Rep. DeFazio, along with likely Ways & Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.), has pledged to put together a package that makes bold new investments in infrastructure. AGC expects expect both committees to devote significant time in the beginning of 2019 to setting the ground work for such a proposal. 


One of the few areas that saw bipartisanship in Congress were education and workforce policies. Only a couple months ahead of the divisive election, Congress overwhelmingly approved a re-write of the Career and Technical Education (CTE) law in addition to increases in CTE funding during the last two fiscal years. The new Congress is expected to give additional priority to CTE and apprenticeship programs to help address workforce shortages. 


House Democrats’ primary focus will be passing stand-alone legislation protecting Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program recipients with a path to citizenship. However, those efforts will be stymied unless they are coupled with increased border security funds and visa program reforms. Border security—and, more specifically, border wall funding—could dominate the government funding debate ahead of a Dec. 7 deadline to keep several agencies operating, including the Department of Homeland Security. State and local government initiatives to blacklist contractors involved in the construction of a southern border wall will remain an AGC concern. The change of power in the House and even at the Department of Justice will put renewed pressure on the administration to protect contractors from unlawful discrimination. 


Earlier this year, Democrat leaders released a laundry list of priorities including restoring “card check,” expanding the joint employer standard, restricting traditional independent contractor roles, and limiting an employer’s ability to seek legal advice during union elections. These efforts are unlikely to advance in a GOP-controlled Senate. One area that could see potential movement in a divided Congress is paid parental leave, thanks largely to Ivanka Trump and the impending 2020 presidential election.


With Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.) likely to lead the Ways and Means Committee in the House, we expect to see a number of hearings on the effects of the new tax reform law on businesses, individuals, and the economy. Provisions in the law, such as the $10,000 cap on the deductibility of state and local taxes (SALT), were highlighted in a number of successful Democrat campaigns and will face greater scrutiny. Expect Democrats to call for raising corporate and/or individual tax rates to pay for anything from infrastructure to paid parental leave. The GOP-Senate very likely ensures that attempts to significantly raise tax rates or repeal the new tax law will not go far. However, minor changes are certainly possible, with President Trump recently noting his willingness to raise corporate and/or wealthy individuals’ tax rates to finance a new middle-class tax cut.


The unfinished work and recommendations of the Joint Select Committee on Solvency of Multiemployer Pension Plans will dictate any pension policy changes in the next Congress.  Major reforms are expected to be slow, but with the impending failure of the massive Central States pension fund and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation inching closer to insolvency in 2025 or earlier, there are many political and policy considerations to address a pension overhaul ahead of the 2020 presidential election. With the likelihood of a legislative overhaul in the next Congress growing, AGC will continue to prioritize the adoption of alternative plans designs, like composite plans. 


A Democratic majority in the House will likely result in a renewed focus on climate and energy issues, which may include carbon taxes or renewables mandates. Indeed, the House may choose to pass legislation that have little chance of becoming law in order to “go on the record” on key policy issues that will shape the 2020 elections. However, some of those policies may survive: legislation to advance top Congressional priorities –perhaps an infrastructure package– may need to include compromises on environmental permitting and reviews to pass both chambers and be signed into law. The federal agencies like the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency continue to actively tackle long-standing environmental inefficiencies and correct past regulatory overreaches. The midterm election is unlikely to change the course or focus of the agencies.

For more information, contact Jimmy Christianson at or (703) 837-5325.

OSHA Issues Final Rule on Crane Operator Certification and New Evaluation Requirements. On Nov. 7, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published its final rule that clarifies certification requirements for crane operators, and maintains the employer’s duty to ensure that crane operators can safely operate the equipment. Under the final rule, employers are required to train operators as needed to perform assigned crane activities, evaluate them, and document successful completion of the evaluations. Employers who have evaluated operators prior to Dec. 9, 2018, will not have to conduct those evaluations again, but will only have to document when those evaluations were completed.

The rule also requires crane operators to be certified or licensed and receive ongoing training as necessary to operate new equipment. The final rule also revises a 2010 requirement that crane operator certification must specify the rated lifting capacity of cranes for which the operator is certified. Operators can now be certified based on the crane’s type and capacity, or type only. Compliant certifications that were already issued by type and capacity are still compliant under this final rule.

The final rule, with the exception of the evaluation and documentation requirements, will become effective on Dec. 9, 2018. The evaluation and documentation requirements will become effective on Feb. 7, 2019. AGC will provide more information as it continues to review the final rule.




Register Today & Save

 Join leading contractors from across the country for the 2019 AGC Annual Convention happening April 1-4, 2019 in Denver.

The AGC Convention is where successful general and specialty contractors develop the business intelligence, industry insights and key connections to help their companies thrive. 

The AGC Annual Convention features:

· 20+ breakout sessions featuring contractors talking to contractors on issues such as risk and financial management, finding and developing your workforce, safer job sites, and building faster and better.

· Cutting-edge solutions and services from more than 150 companies in the AGC Equipment, Technology & Construction Solutions Expo

· Inspirational and impactful keynote presentations from leaders of industry and innovation

Whether you are focused on building, highway and transportation, utility and infrastructure, or the federal markets, the AGC Annual Convention is the place for construction professionals and senior executives to hone their knowledge while making connections that open doors to new opportunities. 

Find your place at table, get involved, and build better.

 Register now and take advantage of early bird pricing before it’s gone.







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