Within the first week after inauguration, the new president has shown an eager willingness to use executive orders to accomplish change. This is not surprising, as most presidents resort to their executive powers to make minor changes in the way laws are interpreted or enforced.
First, President Trump has permitted all federal agency heads to waive requirements of the Affordable Care Act to the maximum extent possible. This step should delay further implementation of ACA requirements, but perhaps more important, it sets the stage for a radical replacement policy. Stay tuned for further details.
Second, Trump has frozen all regulations that were proposed or pending final approval. All of these regulations must be reviewed by the president or an agency he delegates them to for approval.
Third, the president has imposed a federal hiring freeze. The intent of this measure is to shrink the federal government. Exceptions to this hiring freeze include the military and critical safety positions.
Fourth, Trump intends to speed approval of the Dakota Access and Keystone Oil pipelines. These executive orders may help concrete contractors who are near to the pipeline areas.
Fifth, the new president intends to speed up environmental review for all priority infrastructure projects. This order instructs agencies to set up faster deadlines and environmental approval for high priority infrastructure projects, giving significant responsibility to a yet-to-be-named White House Council on Environmental Quality chairman. This administration’s focus upon infrastructure projects will no doubt help concrete contractors, especially those engaged in maintenance and repair of existing roads, bridges, and buildings.
Sixth, the president ordered that the Commerce Secretary undertake a 60 day review of regulations affecting American manufacturing. The goal of this order is to speed up permitting and all federal process for American manufacturers. This could impact concrete contractors as manufacturers will bring projects sooner and with more confidence.
Seventh, the new president is focused upon illegal immigration. Unfortunately, this could negatively impact concrete contractors by making it harder to find those willing and able to work. By executive order, President Trump will ramp up deportation of those here illegally. This order prioritizes seven groups for deportation including those who have: been convicted of a crime, charged with a crime, committed an offense but not yet been charged, misrepresented themselves to the government, abused a welfare program, been ordered deported, or might pose a risk to public safety or national security. This Executive Order also calls for the hiring of 10,000 additional Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to work these new deportation cases, but these hires will be subject to congressional appropriations. This Executive Order also reinstates collaboration between federal and local law enforcement with respect to immigration matters. Finally, this order seeks to block federal grants to so-called sanctuary cities which elect not to enforce immigration. The impact of this order on the construction and concrete industries remains to be seen, but arguably, everyone here illegally has “misrepresented themselves to the government.” From President Trump’s comments it is clear that he intends to focus first upon criminal aliens. It is likely, however, that some good workers will get swept up in the deportation efforts.
Although not likely to impact construction or concrete contractors significantly, the Executive Order addressing terrorism has immigration consequences. Pursuant to this Order, Syrian refugees would be barred indefinitely, other refugees would be delayed at least 120 days while the refugee admission process is reviewed, the overall number of admitted refugees will be halved, and no visas will be allocated to citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for at least 30 days. This reflects a much more aggressive effort to deal with terrorism and terroristic threats against US property or people.
New I-9 Form for New Hires
It is important to note that all employers must be using the new form I-9 for any new hires after January 21. Failure to do so could result in a penalty that ranges from $216 to $2156. There are several major changes to the form that you should note. Perhaps the most significant change is that the form can now be completed on paper or on a computer utilizing “smart form” technologies. These should make the form easier to complete and there is built-in help. The new form also lets you add additional information and employees can use PO boxes for their address. It is unlikely that the Trump administration will disrupt the implementation and enforcement of the new I-9 form.