NAM’s Bertelsen outlines new ozone regulations’ impact on Missouri for AIM members

In case you haven’t been able to join us this week on our Manufacturing and Mining and Environmental webinars, we wanted to share information with you on the recent ozone regulations set into motion by President Obama and the EPA. Greg Bertelsen from NAM has presented two very informative webinars on the reach and the scope of the regulations, what they mean to the state of Missouri, and what they could mean for your business. The information gathered by Greg and his team at NAM follows here: NAM presentation on Ozone CLICK HERE for Missouri-specific information on how nearly the entire State of Missouri could become a non-attainment area if the ozone regulation is implemented as proposed with a 65 ppb standard. CLICK HERE for cost estimates of the ozone regulation for Missouri prepared by NAM.

NAM: NLRB finalizes Ambush Election Rule again

Today, the NLRB once again finalized its “Ambush Election” Rule, which will effectively shorten the time to 10-14 days in which a union election can be held. On the Board’s website they would have you believe these “improvements” to the election process are “modernizations” and “streamlining” processes, but when you read the fine print it is the same bad idea recycled.  We are still scouring through the text, but in short the rule appears to be the same as the proposed rule from February. The final rule goes into effect on April 14, 2015 and includes a number of bad ideas including the following: Requires additional contact information (personal telephone numbers and email addresses) be included in voter lists that the employer gives to the NLRB, which in turn is then given to the union. These voter lists will now be given to the Board prior to any pre-election proceedings. Permits parties to file election petitions and other documents, like the

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Legislative panel to investigate why National Guard did not protect Ferguson/Dellwood businesses

A group of seven state representatives and seven state senators will try to find out why the Missouri National Guard did not protect businesses that burned in the Ferguson area during the hours following the announcement of the Michael Brown Grand Jury. Associated Industries of Missouri was one of the first Missouri business organizations to question how the National Guard was used in the Ferguson/Dellwood areas. This article outlines AIM’s concerns about the use of the National Guard and the governor’s commitment the business community in the area. This article in the Friday edition of the St. Louis Post Dispatch profiles the legislative committee and gives insight into the information members hope to gain in their investigation.

Nixon calls for study on toll roads

Governor Jay Nixon this week asked the Missouri Department of Transportation to analyze the option of collecting tolls to pay for improvements to I-70. Nixon’s request comes a little more than four months after he came out strongly against the proposed sales tax for transportation, and his wife’s law firm asked a circuit court judge to change the proposal’s ballot language. The sales tax would have helped finance a $1.5 billion rebuilding of I-70 along with hundreds of other projects. That led some state transportation officials to warn of a potential rise in traffic fatalities and bridge closures if Missouri is unable to pay for needed maintenance. As recently as a few years ago, Missouri was spending $1.3 billion annually on roads and bridges due to a surge of bond-induced revenues. But contracts are projected to fall to $325 million by 2017 and remain at that level. The department has said it needs to spend at least $485 million annually

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Blunt speaking out on Obama regulations, McCaskill asks for review of Clean Power Plan

Missouri U.S. Senator Roy Blunt has spent a lot of his time back in Washington D.C. for the “Lame Duck” session lambasting the Obama administration for its regulatory overreach. In at least two floor speeches, some press conferences and an appearance on the Fox News Business Report with Neil Cavuto, Blunt has been very outspoken about the ramifications of the Administration’s actions and their costs to the average American citizen. Watch video of Blunt’s statement on the Senate floor Wednesday here. Watch other videos of Blunt’s statements here. Meanwhile, Sen. Claire McCaskilll led a group of Senators in signing a letter asking the EPA to review its “Clean Power Plan to reduce carbon pollution from the country’s power plants, and telling the agency to protect Missouri consumers and employers by making commonsense changes to the content and timeline of the proposed rule.” The letter, among other things, decries “the short timeframes required for states to develop their implementation plans, and the treatment

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Manufacturers score several wins in “Lame Duck” session

As of press time, manufacturers are closing in on several legislative victories that will help our sector and the broader economy continue to rebound. Late last night, the House approved the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015 (H.R. 83) by a vote of 219 to 206. A Senate vote on the measure, which is expected to pass, will occur over the next couple of days. The bill will fund the federal government through the remainder of the fiscal year and avoid a government shutdown. Prior to the vote, the NAM sent a letter to every member of Congress urging their support for the legislation. Thanks, in significant part, to the persistent outreach and advocacy by the NAM, the omnibus bill addresses a number of important issues for manufacturers, including the following: Country of Origin Labeling (COOL): Requires the Administration to work with Congress to identify how to amend current law to ensure the U.S. COOL program for beef, pork and poultry complies

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NAM: New study highlights the economic benefits of highway, transit investment programs

Rock Products (12/11) reports that NAM Chief Economist Chad Moutray participated in a conference call which unveiled a study conducted by forecasting company IHS Inc. showing “the economic benefits of federal highway and transit investment programs on every sector of the US economy.” The article contains highlights from the report, such as for every $1 in Federal funding invested in highway and mass transit there is $1.80 to $2.00 in goods and services produced. The Fleet Owner (12/11, Kilcarr) reports NAM Chief Economist Chad Moutray said during the call that the report makes clear the need for highway funding to be a priority in Congress. “Manufacturers need good roads as they operate with just-in-time delivery schedules for raw materials and for finished goods, much less roads are how workers get to and from their jobs every day,” said Moutray and noted that highway funding is one area where President Obama and the incoming Republican Congress can “find common ground.”

NAM: House passes tax extension bill

The McClatchy-Tribune News Service (12/3, Hall, Douglas) reports the House of Representatives voted to temporarily extend $45 billion in tax deduction extensions in a 378-46 vote, setting “the stage for a similar move in the Senate” next week. The bill will last for the rest of this tax year, despite a push by some members of Congress for a two-year extension. Some people saw the extension “as a missed opportunity,” saying that a long-term extension of the taxes would be more beneficial. NAM Chief Economist Chad Moutray advocated for more certainty over the state of tax extensions, noting that “It helps encourage more investment this year, and it also helps level the playing field for the larger foreign tax” issue. “Hopefully as we move into next year, we’ll have a broader conversation,” said Moutray. USA Today (12/4, Davis) reports the “one-year, retroactive fix will allow millions of businesses and individuals to claim the breaks on their 2014 tax returns;” however,

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EMPLOYERS BEWARE: “Ban the Box” arrives in Missouri

A new concept in employment law sweeping the nation has arrived in Missouri, signaling the end of the criminal background check in the pre-employment process. The movement is called “Ban the Box”, as in the box on an employment application that asks if the applicant has been convicted of a major crime. Liberal politicians see the question as limiting the ability of a person convicted of a felony from acquiring work, which they believe causes offenders to relapse into a life of crime.  Employer advocates, like Associated Industries of Missouri, have warned that employers must be able to check the backgrounds of potential employees to protect their other employees and provide a safe work environment and that eliminating the question from early in the process at the very least wastes the time and resources of the employer and the potential employee. So far, five states and more than 60 local jurisdictions have made it illegal to conduct criminal background checks

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Legislator seeks to name highway for MTD member Harriet Beard

A big honor for Missouri Transportation Development Council member Harriet Beard of Kirksville. The long-time member of MTD is the subject of a highway naming bill filed by State Representative Nate Walker (R-Kirksville). The portion of road would be Highway 63 from the Macon-Adair County line to the northern city limits of Kirksville. Read more about Harriet and the legislation in a story from the Kirksville Daily Express newspaper.