ABC of Pennsylvania Releases Annual Government Affairs Report
Despite COVID-19, ABC was able to accomplish a great deal on behalf of our members last year. The government affairs team is pleased to provide an inaugural annual report on the legislative and political actions ABC conducted in 2020. Some highlights include:
BY: DAVID G. GREINEDER, IOM, ABC PENNSYLVANIA DIRECTOR OF GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS
The 2020 General Election is now behind us. Much like in 2016, the polls were wrong in many respects. In a year when Democrats were projected to win big, the “blue wave” flopped. Democratic operatives were looking to flip control of state legislatures to dictate redistricting processes next year. As it turns out, only two state legislative chambers changed control, both in New Hampshire, and both flipped from Democrat to Republican. Overall, Republicans outperformed expectations, gaining seats both in the U.S. Congress and in the Pennsylvania General Assembly.
Regarding the congressional delegation, all incumbents won their re-elections, keeping the numbers at nine Republicans to nine Democrats. At the state level, here is a breakdown on where things stand:
Thank you for your service and membership with ABC! It is safe to say the start of the new decade did not go as anyone intended. Our members continue to manage the effects of the pandemic and are concerned about business prospects in 2021. Despite these challenges, ABC chapters and members have been more active in our advocacy efforts than ever before. In fact, during and after the shutdown, our grassroots network grew by nearly 50 percent. Thank you!
Many of you have already performed your civic duty by casting your vote through the mail. For that, we thank you. Others are planning to vote in-person at the polls. We thank you in advance.
In the days that follow, ABC will communicate to members on those candidates that won their elections. We look forward to building upon our relationships and working closely with all elected officials on policy issues impacting the commercial construction industry.
ABC is committed to keeping you informed and connected to resources leading up to Election Day. Your voice and your vote matter!
We are less than one week from the Election Day. If you have not voted yet, we want to make sure you are connected to the resources and information you need to cast a ballot.
In even-numbered years, the five regional ABC chapters that make up “ABC Pennsylvania” go through a process to review and recommend candidates to support for office. As a service to our members, we posted the full list of those candidates we believe will defend free enterprise and the merit shop philosophy. View a complete list of endorsements.
ABC is committed to keep you informed and connected to resources leading up to Election Day. Your voice and your vote matters! If you are a new voter or unsure if you are registered to vote, you can check your voter registration status by clicking here. The last day to register to vote before the election is Monday, October 19. View helpful resources.
The political parties have officially nominated their candidates for President and Vice President of the United States. As part of that process, the Republicans and Democrats hold national conventions to conduct business and hear from prominent leaders. While one can argue we have been there for quite a while, we are now in the thick of election year politics, otherwise known as the “silly season.”
In the COVID-19-era, businesses are welcoming customers back into stores in accordance with state and federal guidelines. In the construction industry, jobsites have been operating since May under strict protocols and guidance. As the country navigates these uncharted waters, business owners are concerned about liability in the event a customer or employee contracts COVID-19.
In typical years, June is an active month, as Legislators put the final touches on a state budget and other agreed-to bills before recessing for the summer. While the state budget was – at least temporarily – completed before June, this month was extremely active from a political and legislative perspective – and we are only at the midway point! Here is a recap of two major happenings:
Despite the crisis, ABC Pennsylvania’s government affairs program has been active and has made a difference. We strengthened relationships with associations in sharing information, resources, and intelligence. Our grassroots advocacy network has grown by nearly 50 percent. We topped 1,100 calls and emails into the Governor and Legislature on issues of concern.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brough many changes to the way we conduct our daily lives – including voting. Pennsylvania’s primary election was moved to Tuesday, June 2. Polls will be in operation from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and will be expected to adhere to all COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
Starting Friday, May 1, employers in the construction industry can, if they so choose, resume work on construction projects. Businesses that open must adhere to strict construction guidance issued by the Governor. The guidelines require employers to develop, implement, and enforce safety protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19, such as enforcing social distancing, providing hand washing stations, and identifying a “pandemic safety officer.”
The Associated Builders and Contractors of Pennsylvania (ABC Pennsylvania) lauded passage of House Bill 2400, introduced by Speaker Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) and 103 co-sponsors, which would activate public and private construction projects that have been shut down if they can adhere to COVID-19 health and safety guidelines.
The Pennsylvania House and Senate passed legislation that would allow businesses to re-open that adhere to federal guidelines for social distancing and other health and safety protocols. The bill would also bring the Commonwealth in line with many other states who follow these same guidelines. Unfortunately, Governor Wolf has said he intends to veto the bill when it reaches his desk. ABC Pennsylvania Board Chairs sent a letter to the governor asking him to reconsider his veto. Read the full letter:
First, thank you for your membership with ABC. I understand there are challenges facing every member and realize advocacy may be the farthest thing from your minds. Please know that while our tactics have changed, ABC PA remains at the forefront in communicating our message. I want to share the most recent advocacy activities we initiated in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
ABC PA joined forces with 20 construction, consulting, and design industries to ask the Governor to recognize residential and commercial construction as a life sustaining business. See the joint statement below:
(HARRISBURG, PA.) This statement can be attributed to the five chapters that make up the Associated Builders and Contractors of Pennsylvania (“ABC PA”): Central Pennsylvania Chapter; Cumberland Valley Chapter; Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter; Keystone Chapter; and Western Pennsylvania Chapter. There is no doubt the Coronavirus (“COVID-19”) pandemic has disrupted and impacted our daily lives and measures are needed to limit the spread. The construction industry has been doing our part in sharing information, resources, and best practices. Many of our members build the supply chain for the very ‘life-sustaining businesses’ that are required to remain open.
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has impacted businesses around the world. In response, the U.S. Congress and Trump Administration are working on a series of legislative “packages” to assist the healthcare industry, individuals, and businesses. The first bill to reach the President’s Desk was $8.3 billion in financial aid to public health agencies for vaccines, tests, and treatments. The second bill, signed by the President this week, is a $104 billion package aimed to help individuals impacted by COVID-19 by providing free testing and enhancing employer-based paid sick leave and paid medical leave, among other provisions. The third omnibus, which has not yet been unveiled, is expected to send direct payments to Americans and provide financial aid to businesses. Altogether, the three legislative packages are expected to top $1 trillion.
As you know, events across the Commonwealth have been cancelled due to concern about the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). This week, leaders in Harrisburg made the difficult decision to close the entire Capitol Complex in Harrisburg to the public. All events and meetings have been cancelled until further notice. It is unclear how long the policy will be in place. In the interest and safety of our members, and as a result of the recent announcement, ABC PA’s Free Enterprise Day has been postponed. We will reschedule at a date to be determined. We apologize for any inconvenience due to the postponement. Please watch your email for additional updates as we continue to closely monitor the developments. In the meantime, feel free to pass along the following information and resources.
Just one week after the November election that upended Congressional Republican plans for 2019, the state House and Senate met to formalize their leadership teams for the 2019-2020 legislative session. With the current session set to end at the end of this week, all existing legislation will die off, requiring legislators to re-introduce measures in 2019. But where will those efforts go in the next two years? A look at the new leadership team could decide.