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Jim Kendzel, ASA Vice President Advocacy
|ASA Engaged in State Activity Related to Water Efficiency and Lead
State legislators have been active in the last several months in proposing new legislation that, if adopted, could have a significant impacts on the plumbing industry. The proposed legislation looks at water efficiency, legionellosis prevention and lead in drinking water.
The States of Hawaii and Washington both have proposed legislation to lower flow rates and flush volumes even more severe than those currently required under the EPA WaterSense® program. ASA has taken the position that states should consider specifying the EPA WaterSense® program when considering water efficiency legislation and not go any further in reduction of flow rates and flush volumes until sufficient research is completed that evaluates the potential impact on the entire plumbing system.
The States of Connecticut and Nevada are considering proposed legislation that references the EPA WaterSense® program. ASA is supporting the proposed legislation in concept and have submitted comments to both State Legislative bodies that are intended to strengthen the language of the proposed legislation and ensure consistency in terminology.
The State of Illinois is considering changes to its plumbing code that, if adopted, would require hot water systems would be required to be maintained at 160 °F. The intent behind the proposal is what many in the industry, including ASA, consider an overreaction to preventing the growth of Legionella in the hot water systems. Although the intent is laudable, the proposed solution would significantly increase energy consumption, operating costs and more importantly increase the potential of scalding events. ASA has submitted comments in opposition to this proposed change.
ASA is aware of at least six states considering proposed legislation that would require testing of drinking water in schools and child-care facilities for lead. ASA is monitoring the activity and working with other industry partners in developing an industry position on this issue. ASA fully supports the intent behind the legislation and protecting our children from exposure to lead in their drinking water. The key question that is being asked about the proposed state legislation is the potential implementation of testing programs that are not designed properly and do not provide sufficient data to ensure that if a lead contamination is discovered, the actual source of the contamination can be determined.
For a more detailed discussion on the above issued please click here.
On Friday, the Office of the United States Trade Representative released the Trump administration’s 2019 Trade Policy Agenda and 2018 Annual Report. This is an annual report required by statute.
A bipartisan group of Senators introduced legislation that would mandate the U.S. EPA within one year of enactment declare per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) as hazardous substances eligible for cleanup funds.
Ethics and Elections
The House passed a sweeping ethics and elections bill that would expand voting rights and revamp ethics laws, including requiring presidential candidates to release tax returns. The measure is not expected to see consideration from the Republican-controlled Senate.
The Labor Department has issued a proposed new overtime rule that would raise the overtime salary limit from $23,660 to $35,308. ASAs Director of Government Affairs, Catherine Treadwell has been following the progress of this activity and more information is available on the ASA website.
The House and Senate are in session.
- The White House is submitting its proposed budget which includes significant funding cuts for most government agencies, but boosts funding for programs to address the opioid crisis and provide medical care for veterans. According to the White House, the budget proposes $80 billion in fiscal 2020 - a 10 percent jump from fiscal 2019 - for veterans' health care. (Bloomberg)
- The Senate is expected to vote on a House-passed resolution to terminate Trump's national emergency declaration before leaving town this week for the St. Patrick's Day recess. In the House, lawmakers are set to consider a resolution calling for the release of special counsel Robert Mueller's report about his investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and ties to Trump's campaign.
| || NEWS FROM STATE AND LOCAL |
UT H.B. 360 School Drinking Water Lead Testing – on March 6, 2019 the bill passed through Committee with a 9-1 vote.
IL HB 3445 Lead Pipe Replacement - Requires community water supplies to identify and replace all lead service lines that connect to a water main. On March 5, 2019 the bill was assigned to the Labor and Commerce Committee.
WA SB 5115 and HB 1444 Concerning appliance efficiency standards – the second reading is now at the committee level. Proposal adds faucets, spray sprinkler bodies, showerheads, urinals/water closets, water coolers, residential storage water heaters, hot water dispensers, and bottle-type water dispensers and point-of-use water dispensers to the existing legislation.
TX HB 2998 Lead Reduction is Schools and Child Care – proposed bill filed on March 4, 2019 would require replacement of lead drinking water services lines in schools and child care facilities; require NSF certified filters; and periodic testing.
HI SB 1323 and HB 556 The proposed bill will require specific state agencies to adopt the California Code of Regulations, title 20 covering appliance energy efficiency standards for: faucets; showerheads; and spray sprinkler bodies. SB 1323 has passed and has been moved to the house.
CT HB 7151 Energy Efficient Standards – adding new provisions for faucets, showerheads, spray sprinkler bodies, urinals and water closet, and water coolers.
CO HB 19-231 – new legislation on water efficiency standards for plumbing fixtures.
The Wall Street Journal
The Trump administration is weighing new ways to spur the sale of health insurance across state lines, a long-held goal of President Trump and congressional Republicans that has so far failed to gain much traction.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on Wednesday asked for comment on eliminating regulatory and other barriers that may be discouraging interstate sales, a request that often means guidance or new regulation will follow.
The National Law Review
During the last decade, a number of NLRB decisions faulted employers for written policies that were considered to be overbroad in violation of the National Labor Relations Act. These rulings sprang largely from the NLRB’s decision in Lutheran Heritage Village-Livonia, 343 NLRB 646 (2004), where the Board set forth a standard for evaluating the lawfulness of employer policies that did not directly implicate Section 7 rights.
China expanded its coal-to-gas and coal-to-electricity projects to 35 cities in 2018 from 12 cities the previous year, China’s environment minister, Li Ganjie, said on Monday, as the world’s second-largest economy stepped up its fight against smog. China’s winter heating program used to burn an estimated 400 million tonnes of coal a year, and switching it to cleaner types of fuel was identified as a major part of the country’s war on pollution, now in its sixth year.
The U.S. goods trade deficit surged to a record high in 2018 as strong domestic demand fueled by lower taxes pulled in imports, despite the Trump administration’s “America First” policies, including tariffs, aimed at shrinking the trade gap. President Donald Trump is pursuing a protectionist trade agenda to shield U.S. manufacturing from what he says is unfair foreign competition.
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