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Catherine Treadwell Perry, Director of Government Relations
|ASA Advocacy will be adding three new grassroots campaigns!
Grassroots campaigns have the ability to sway hearts and minds on Capitol Hill and are an important part of any advocacy program. ASA Advocacy is launching three new campaigns for our members to take part in. Congress needs to hear from YOU why these issues matter and how it effects the PHCP-PVP industry.
ASA strongly opposes the PRO Act. The Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act (H.R. 2474, S. 1306) would systematically alter labor law in favor of unions and at the expense of the rights of employees and employers alike and jeopardize the U.S. economy. While advocates for the PRO Act claim it will help workers organize, the bill actually infringes on employee rights and privacy, violates employers’ right to due process, deregulates union activity, and limits opportunities to achieve the American dream.
Additionally, the PRO Act would greatly narrow the circumstances under which an individual can work as an independent contractor, thus substantially diminishing opportunities for Americans to find flexible ways to earn money on their schedule or start their own business. The provision threatens many opportunities in the gig economy and more traditional independent contractor roles.
The PRO Act also violates employees’ rights to privacy and association. The bill mandates employers provide the contact information for all employees without prior approval from the employees themselves to union organizers. Employees would not be able to opt out of this requirement and would not have a say in what, if any, contact information is provided, again exposing workers to potential harassment. The bill also eliminates Right-to-Work protections nationwide, including in the twenty-seven states that have passed Right-to-Work laws, forcing workers to fund union activity they do not support. ASA strongly opposes this bill and we need YOUR help! The bill has 214 co-sponsors in the House and we need your help to STOP it from going to a floor vote.
ASA supports and promotes policies which conserve our nation’s natural resources, protects our environment and advances the restoration of our nation’s water infrastructure. Therefore, ASA supports legislation to adequately finance America’s drinking water and wastewater infrastructure. According to the EPA, CBO, and the GAO, the projected shortfall in clean water infrastructure investment will approach $500 billion over the next two decades. This is why ASA supports bills, such as, Get the Lead out of Assisted Housing Act of 2019 (H.R. 3721, S. 2087) and the Water Justice Act (H.R. 4033, S. 2466).
The Water Justice Act, which would invest $250 billion in critical upgrades to the nation’s water infrastructure and consists of three main areas: Safe Water, Affordable Water, and Sustainable Water. By doing so, it would address the ongoing drinking water crisis in the country, the comprehensive legislation would immediately invest in communities and schools to test for and remove contaminants in water, including replacing toxic lead service lines.
Get the Lead out of Assisted Housing Act of 2019 would help protect families from lead exposure by requiring the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to inspect for lead service lines, create a grant program to address lead contamination and allow a cross-check for lead in water when remediating a home for lead found in paint.
ASA Advocacy needs your help in advocating for these issues. Our grassroots website will have access to these campaigns. You will be able to send prewritten letters directly to your Senators and Congressman with just a few clicks. Please remember to spread the word to your employees, colleagues, friends, and family and have them use our portal to send a letter, as well. Check the Take Action Now link on the ASA Advocacy website later this week for the live campaigns.
- Energy Secretary Rick Perry told President Donald Trump that he will resign "later this year," following months of reports that Perry intended to leave the administration. Trump announced Friday afternoon that Deputy Energy
- The Environmental Protection Agency officially proposed changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard that would adjust biofuel blending percentage requirements on refiners based on a calculation of the exemptions it provided in the previous three years. The document did not include changes to proposed biofuel targets for 2020 or 2021.
- The Senate voted 41-53 to reject a Democratic resolution that would have revoked the Environmental Protection Agency's Affordable Clean Energy regulation, which replaced the Obama-era Clean Power Plan. Three Democratic senators - Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Doug Jones of Alabama and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona - voted against the resolution, while Sen. Susan Collins of Maine was the only Republican to vote in favor of it. (Washington Examiner)
- The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board said a piece of degraded metal pipe that went untested for corrosion caused the three explosions and the fire on June 21 at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery. The board confirmed that 3,200 pounds of toxic hydrofluoric acid was released into the air during the accident, a chemical whose use in refining has previously been met with criticism from the agency and refinery worker unions. (Reuters)
- The House passed a resolution condemning President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria in a 354-60 vote, backed by 129 Republicans. Trump again defended his decision, which cleared the way for a Turkish military operation against Kurdish forces that have been aligned with the United States in its fight against the Islamic State group, saying that the battle has "nothing to do with us." (The New York Times)
- Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump's personal attorney, said he will not comply with a congressional subpoena to testify as part of the House's impeachment inquiry. The former New York City mayor is a central figure in the investigation because of his role in Trump's effort to lean on the government of Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. (ABC News)
- House Democratic leaders are privately gauging support among members of their caucus for a formal full House vote on their impeachment inquiry. Republicans have argued that Democrats' lack of a formal vote authorizing the investigation goes against historical precedent, and the issue is expected to be discussed at a Democratic leadership meeting later this evening. (Politico)
- U.S. Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) introduced S. 2620, the Generating Real Opportunities for Workforce Training and Hiring (GROWTH) Act. This legislation will support career and technical education opportunities, consistent communication between career and technical education institutions regarding curriculum, and the importance for elementary and secondary education institutions to highlight enrollment in these professions as desirable high-skill, high wage occupations. Rep. Kevin Hern (OK-01) introduced the companion legislation in the House of Representatives.
- China is looking to hold additional discussions as soon as the end of this month to finalize details of the "phase one" trade deal with the United States before Chinese President Xi Jinping decides to sign it, according to people familiar with the matter. One person said that China wants the United States to cancel a planned tariff increase in December along with the one that was set to take effect this week.
- China will find it difficult to purchase $50 billion of U.S. agricultural products annually because of the tariffs it has placed on U.S. goods, and it won't get rid of them unless the United States first removes tariffs that have been implemented since the beginning of the trade war, according to people familiar with the matter. Beijing is open to buying more U.S. farm goods under the "phase one" trade deal, but purchasing the $40 billion to $50 billion that President Donald Trump seeks would not be possible without a change in circumstances, the people said.
- The Trump administration's tariffs ranging from 10 to 25 percent on European products such as wine, cheese and olive oil went into effect Friday, after the World Trade Organization ruled that the European Union illegally subsidized Airbus SE. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said the Trump administration might pursue a deal with the European Union on manufacturing and services but added that a deal that doesn't include agriculture does not have strong support in Congress
- The New York Federal Reserve started its first round of expanding its balance sheet by purchasing $7.501 billion in Treasury bills out of $32.569 billion in offerings from dealers. The Fed last week said it would start growing its $3.9 trillion in overall holdings by purchasing up to $60 billion of Treasury bills monthly through the first half of 2020. (The Wall Street Journal)
- New Lead Regulations Proposed. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a long-awaited draft proposal to modify federal rules for lead in drinking water. The Lead and Copper Rule is one of the most complicated federal drinking water rules because it focuses on water quality at the treatment plant and at the tap, as well as on the pipes in the ground. The agency’s proposal is lengthy, listing dozens of new requirements for utilities, including:
There is also no change in the “action level” that initiates changes in how utilities operate. The action level is more than 10 percent of tested homes having lead levels above 15 parts per billion. However, the draft rule adds a “trigger level” if 10 percent of tested homes have lead levels at 10 parts per billion. Exceeding the trigger level forces utilities to reevaluate chemical treatment they use to reduce corrosion. Environmental groups dismissed the proposal as a weakening of federal oversight. Their primary objection is a provision that grants utilities more time to remove lead service lines. These are the pipes that run from water mains to the house and are the main source of lead contamination. Removing them, health experts say, is the only way to protect children’s health. Currently utilities testing above the action level must replace around 7 percent of lead service lines per year. The EPA’s draft proposal allows them to replace only 3 percent per year. This applies to utilities that serve more than 10,000 people. The EPA estimates that between 6.3 million and 9.3 million homes have lead service lines. The agency is taking public comments on the draft rule for 60 days. Submit them via http://www.regulations.gov/ using docket number EPA-HQ-OW-2017-0300. A summary of the proposed changes is found here. (The IAPMO Group Update October 18, 2019)
- Follow-up testing at homes where samples show more than 15 parts per billion of lead.
- Test at least 20 percent of primary/secondary schools and licensed day cares per year within the utility’s service area.
- Notify homes that tested above 15 parts per billion within 24 hours instead of 30 days.
- Replace the utility owned portion of the lead service line if the homeowner wants to replace their side.
- Develop a plan for replacing lead service lines.
- There are no changes to copper testing requirements, though.
- EPA released an updated version of the Agency's report on childhood environmental indicators. These are the metrics that tell us how we're doing as a nation with respect to children's environmental health. The report is called "America's Children and the Environment," and we are releasing the first major update since 2013. Here's a preview of some of our most important findings:
- The median concentration of lead in the blood of children between the ages of 1 and 5 years declined 95 percent from 1976 to 2016.
- From 1999 to 2017, the percentage of children living in counties with concentrations of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) above the current standard decreased by nearly 50 percent.
- The estimated percentage of children served by community drinking water systems that met all health-based standards increased from 82 percent in 1993 to 94 percent in 2017.
- The House and Senate are both in Session.
| || NEWS FROM STATE AND LOCAL |
Update on State Bills Being Tracked
New State Activity
- Pennsylvania (SB 556) - Providing for the Public School Building Emergency Repair and Renovation Grant Program; establishing the Public School Building Emergency Repair and Renovation Grant Fund; and making an appropriation. New Activity - Sen. Christine Tartaglione (PA-2) is now a sponsor.
- Wisconsin (SB 423) - Lead testing of potable water sources in certain schools; providing loans for lead remediation in certain schools; and providing an exception to referendum restrictions for lead remediation. New Activity – fiscal estimate received.
- Pennsylvania - Governor Wolf Announces $98 Million Investment in Water Infrastructure Projects in 11 Counties.
Pennsylvania (SB 892) - Providing for lead exposure and poisoning. Current draft requires “A retailer, store or commercial establishment that offers plumbing components shall display a poster in a prominent and easily visible location and make available to its customers brochures containing statements that plumbing components and plumbing systems containing lead are dangerous and can contribute to lead poisoning of drinking water.”
- Michigan (HB 5104) - Water; quality; installation of filtration systems in schools; require, and create the school and child care center clean drinking water fund.
Bipartisan Congressional Veterans Education Caucus co-founders U.S. Representatives Susie Lee, a democrat from Nevada, and Denver Riggleman, a republican from Virginia, hosted a briefing and panel on veterans hiring and training business programs. The panel included veterans and workforce development professionals from major businesses that operate successful veterans hiring and training programs, including MGM Resorts International, The Home Depot Inc., Walmart Inc., and Capital One Financial Corporation. Leo Shane III, reporter with Military Times, moderated the panel.
The recent explosive meeting between President Trump and Democratic leaders reveals just how far relations between the president and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a democrat from Califonia, have deteriorated amid Democrats’ escalating impeachment inquiry. The quickly-viral photo showing Pelosi standing to confront Trump, her finger pointed sternly at the clearly agitated president, captured the height of the recent White House clash and foreshadowed the strife to follow: Pelosi leaving the room; Trump lashing out at “Nervous Nancy;” and both sides, backed by their allies, digging in over the days to follow.
A bipartisan group of senators want the Senate to vote on legislation reining in a president's emergency powers. 15 senators sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a republican from Kentucky, and Minority Leader Charles Schumer, a democrat from New York, calling for the legislation, known as the Article One Act, to be "considered by the full Senate as soon as possible." "Congress cannot continue to cede its powers to another branch, regardless of who is President or which party holds a majority," the senators wrote in the letter, which was released recently.
Recently, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler addressed the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services at their annual meeting in Arlington, Virginia. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery: "Good morning, it's a pleasure to be with you today. First, I want to thank Charlie Hood and the Board of Directors for inviting me to speak today. Your organization has been an extremely valuable partner of EPA for many years, and we welcome your feedback and support."
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