GGAC Regional and Chapter Activities
For additional information on federal issues, please contact Mark Ames, ASHRAE’s Senior Manager of Federal Government Affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Set to Become Law
Returning from their July 4th recess and cognizant that they have less than 30 days of legislative time before the November elections, Members of Congress have shifted from a comfortable jog to an all-out sprint, introducing a slew of bills, negotiating funding legislation, and reaching rare compromise on a bill that would modernize and improve federal workforce development programs – the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA, H.R.803). WIOA passed the House earlier this week by a vote of 415 to 6, and previously passed the Senate by a vote of 95 to 3. The bill now goes to President Barack Obama, who is expected to sign it into law.
“The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act will update and improve our workforce training programs by aligning them with real-world labor market needs. This legislation will better connect job training programs with the needs of local employers, helping workers to learn the most in-demand skills and to be prepared for the jobs of tomorrow,” said Representative George Miller (California), the senior-most Democrat on the House Education and the Workforce Committee.
“This bipartisan, bicameral agreement will fix a broken job training system, help workers fill in-demand jobs, and protect taxpayers. I am proud to have helped lead this effort and want to thank my Republican and Democrat colleagues in the House and Senate for their hard work. Let’s build off today’s achievement and continue working together on behalf of the American people,” said Representative John Kline (R-MN), Chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.
ASHRAE is a member of the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education Coalition, which has been actively working on this legislation.
A one-page summary of the bill can be found here. A longer, section-by-section summary of the bill can be found here.
House Members Introduce Building Energy Codes Legislation
This week Representatives Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Kurt Schrader (D-OR) introduced the Energy Savings and Building Efficiency Act (H.R.5027). The bill would modify the U.S. Department of Energy’s role in the development, adoption, and compliance of ANSI/ASHRAE/IES 90.1 – Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings and the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). The bill also contains some provisions similar to the building energy codes sections of the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act (S.2074), also known as Shaheen-Portman.
ASHRAE is working with congressional offices and stakeholder organizations and has not yet taken a position on this bill.
President Obama Issues Opposition to House Energy & Water Funding Bill
The Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2015 (H.R.4923
) hit a wall this week when President Barack Obama issued a Statement of Administrative Policy
that threatened a veto of the legislation, arguing that the bill “significantly underfunds critical investments that develop American energy sources to build a clean and secure energy future, support the emerging clean energy technologies that create high-quality jobs, and enhance the Nation's economic competiveness.”
The Energy and Water Development Bill provides funding to the U.S. Department of Energy, Army Corps of Engineers, Department of the Interior, and related federal agencies and offices. As noted in a previous edition of the Update, the Senate version of this bill stalled in June over attempts to attach an amendment that would temporarily block implementation of the proposed rule from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for fossil fuel-fired power plants.
If Members of Congress and the President are unable to reach agreement on this, and other funding bills prior to the end of the fiscal year on September 30, they will be forced to either enact a continuing resolution (CR) that will temporarily fund federal programs at current levels or, if a CR is not enacted, partially halt non-essential federal programs until policymakers' differences are resolved.
House Members Overwhelmingly Reject Attempt to Zero Funding for DOE Efficiency & Renewable Energy Programs
During debate of the Energy and Water Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2015 (H.R.4923
) on the House floor, Representative Bradley Byrne (R-AL) offered an amendment that would have zeroed all funding for the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Program. DOE’s building energy codes and standards activities are funded through EERE.
The amendment was immediately met with bipartisan opposition from the Chairman and senior-most Democrat of the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee, Representatives Mike Simpson (R-ID) and Marcy Kaptur (D-OH). The amendment was later soundly defeated by a vote of 110 to 310.
GGAC Regional and Chapter Activities
For additional information on international, state, and local government affairs, please contact Jim Scarborough, ASHRAE’s Manager of Grassroots Government Affairs, at email@example.com.
GGAC Chairs in Each Chapter – More Resources Planned
A recent Grassroots Government Activities Committee (GGAC) survey confirmed that over 120 of ASHRAE’s 175 Chapters have appointed GGAC Chairs at the Chapter level in this first year of the new Committee. As the 2014 – 15 ASHRAE year begins, it is important to have a GGAC Chair in all of our Chapters as we delve more fully into engaging with state, provincial, and local officials. It is vital that we build a network of active engineer-advocates worldwide to impress upon decision-makers how their choices will impact society and HVAC&R professionals specifically.
The information acquired from the survey results is helping shape additional resources that will be posted on ASHRAE’s GGAC webpage. PowerPoints on how to organize at the local level and how to organize a “Day on the Hill” to contact local elected/appointed officials are currently being developed. Any other ideas for training or to requests for more information should be directed to Jim Scarborough, Manager of Grassroots Government Affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
National Capital Chapter Launches Student Group for P.E. Exam
The National Capital Chapter in Washington, DC recently created a group intended to enable members to share ideas to help others pass the professional engineer (P.E.) exam. The Professional Engineering exam group, part of the Chapter's Young Engineers in ASHRAE (YEA) Committee, was designed to enhance the professional capabilities of YEA members by providing networks and resources to aid in preparations for the principles and practice of engineering examination. Chapter member Mary Opalka served as the first facilitator for the group and was assisted by the group's creator, Bryan Oliva, who is chair of the Chapter's YEA Committee.
New Energy Efficiency Incentives for Commercial Buildings in New York
Funding is available through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) for efficiency measures which include energy audits and studies, installation of energy efficient systems and equipment in existing facilities and in new construction, and support for energy efficient design and green building efforts related to new construction. Further information is available here.