Additionally, we want to be considered your resource during this time of uncertainty. Please contact us at any time with questions you may have and we will be happy to help!! You can contact myself at firstname.lastname@example.org, Hayley at email@example.com, Rachel at firstname.lastname@example.org or Montana at email@example.com
State Highway Contractor/Consultant Update
The latest: please see the attached and below excerpt from MDOT SHA Acting Administrator Tim Smith
“State and federal guidelines deem transportation an essential and critical function. As it relates to MDOT SHA, that includes state and consultant personnel who are supporting or delivering transportation functions. This includes, but is not limited to, construction, maintenance, dispatch, vehicle recovery, inspections, planning and design. We will continue to perform these critical functions while protecting the health and well-being of our MDOT SHA team.”
The United States Department of Labor (DOL) is extending its online dialogue on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). Many of you sent me questions, which I forwarded on to DOL this past weekend.
You now have through April 10 to raise any additional issues you feel DOL should address. You may send them to me for submission or submit them directly to DOL here: https://ffcra.ideascale.com/ (please note you have to sign up for an account on the site – I already have one, so if it is easier for you to send your suggestion to me, please do so).
Vice President of Regulatory & Legal Issues
American Road & Transportation Builders Association
250 E Street, SW
Washington, DC 20024
Phone: (202) 683-1005
Dear Health & Safety Committee,
I’m sure many of you were on MSHA’s (limited) Quarterly Stakeholder call yesterday afternoon, which has been rescheduled to a later date yet to be determined.* Although they were unable to answer any questions, I had a good follow up call with Tim Watkins who heads the MSHA Enforcement division, and got further guidance to share in lieu of having many questions answered on the stakeholder call. Although this will not be posted on the agency website, Tim has provided the following written guidance (in the forwarded email below) regarding exemptions to due dates of certifications and training.
Please note that both “certifications” and “training” are intentionally broad. This is to try and capture many situations, rather than listing various scenarios and unintentionally having some not on the list. The intention is to allow flexibility when it comes to due dates of any certifications/requirements/training methods. However, workers are still required to have necessary certifications/trainings – this will not give an exemption, just an extension of renewals.
Please reach out to your District Manager with any questions, concerns, or changes you are planning. Additionally, if you have any difficulties, issues, or questions please let me know.
*For those who were not on the call, someone put the call on hold after roughly 20 minutes, which resulted in nearly 1,000 callers hearing hold music and ultimately MSHA ended the call prematurely. They have stated it will be rescheduled but they do not have a date yet.
Director of Safety Policy
The General Assembly has introduced two emergency bills as a response to COVID-19.
SB 1079/HB 1661 - State Budget - Revenue Stabilization Account Transfers - Coronavirus
This would allow the Governor to take up to $50,000,000.00 from the Revenue Stabilization Account also known as the Rainy Day Fund. Within 60 days after the release of the funds, the Dept. of Budget and Management shall submit a report to the Legislative Policy Committee and the General Assembly on the use of the funds. This legislation will remain effective until June 30, 2021. The Senate version has made its way through both Houses, signed by the Governor and is now law.
SB 1080/HB 1663 - State Government - State of Emergency and Catastrophic Health Emergency - Authority of Governor and Unemployment Insurance Benefits (COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Protection Act of 2020)
The Senate version has passed third reader and is now in the House. The House version has passed second reader. This bill shall remain effective until April 30, 2021. The bill does the following:
- Governor may for the duration of the emergency:
- Prohibit cost-sharing by carriers for testing;
- Order Dept. of Health to cover the cost of testing if costs are not otherwise paid for by a carrier or third party;
- Require carriers and Medical Assistance Program to cover the cost of immunization for COVID-19;
- Waive telehealth protocols;
- Order Dept. of Health to reimburse telehealth services provided to a patient if covered under Medical Assistance Program, providing by a participating health care provider, and authorized under the provider’s scope;
- Prohibit retailers from increasing the sale or rental price of a good or service to a price that increases his profit by more than 10% for food, fuel, water and ice, medicine, medical supplies and equipment, cleaning products, building supplies and equipment, energy sources, and storage space;
- Prohibit any employer from terminating an employee solely on the basis that the employee has been required to be isolated or quarantined; and
- Order the Dept. of Health to authorize an alternative workweek for an employee of a health facility owned by the Dept. and open 24/7 and who is subject to the MOU with the American Federation of Teachers.
- If Governor orders an alternative workweek, it may allow an employee to work hours or shifts not typical for State employees and work less than 40 hours per week. An employee authorized to work an alternative workweek shall be considered a full-time State employee and entitled to overtime compensation.
III. Secretary of Labor may determine that an individual is eligible for unemployment benefits if:
- the individual’s employer temporarily ceases operations due to COVID-19, preventing employees from coming to work;
- the individual is quarantined with the expectation of returning to work after the quarantine is over; or
- the individual leaves employment due to the risk of exposure or infection or to care for a family member due to the virus.
Also, please see the following news articles:
The Governor just announced today that the April primaries are being moved to June 2. This includes Baltimore City races. The Special Election for the 7th Congressional District will continue on April 28th but they will be using a vote-by-mail system.
As always, please stay safe and we will continue to provide updates as we get them.