June 2020 Government Affairs Update
As most state legislatures and Congress continue to focus most of their time on COVID19, there are still many government affairs issues we are working on to protect and improve the business environment for the modular industry.
In the United States at the Federal level, our DC lobbying firm continues to speak with key staffers of members who oversee FEMA and HUD to promote our industry. Additionally, with the start of Hurricane season on July 1, our lobbyists are engaging in discussions with FEMA to encourage them to take action on the MIT study that FEMA requested on how modular can play an important role in disaster relief.
Additionally, we are working closely with our lobbyists to connect with members of Congress regarding HR3060, the FEMA Modernization Act and HR5730, the National Strategy for Pandemic and Influenza Update Act. Our industry has provided much needed assistance at the state, federal and provincial levels during COVID19. In the United States, these bills could help us find members of Congress to be our advocates on Capitol Hill for the modular industry.
Congress is expected to return from summer recess on July 20 and will likely pass new stimulus packages for individuals and small businesses. If passed, they expect to be active by the end of July or in early August.
Fannie Mae leadership has informed us they have completed the final edition of the Modular Funding Guidelines which should be dispersed to all their lenders any day. This is the culmination of months of work with their executive team to enact these new guidelines to ensure appropriate funding that fits our modular production model. Additionally, these guidelines have been submitted to the Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation. We are planning a follow up call with them soon to check on the status of their implementation of these guidelines.
In Canada UL2600 continues to move forward towards adoption. Adaire Chown and Craig Mitchell presented our request for adoption at the June 18 meeting of the Standard Committee on Environmental Separation. The committee agreed to recommend adoption and now it moves on to the next phase of the multistep adoption process.
Government Affairs Director, Jon Hannah, continues to participate in weekly calls with the National Governors Association (NGA) to share info about our industry to meet the building needs in each state. As expected, calls are almost entirely focused on COVID19 relief and planning. Jon will be participating in the NGA’s Annual Summer Meeting, originally scheduled for Portland, Maine, but will now be a virtual meeting on August 5th.
Maryland Governor and NGA President, Larry Hogan will provide a summary of his tenure and his signature program of improving infrastructure for all states. New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo, will officially begin his term as the new president of the NGA at the conclusion of the annual meeting and will announce his focused initiative for the group for the next 12 months.
Our New York lobbyist continues to work on S5420 and companion bill A2933 which would require members to use NYC union labor for their welding, plumbing, HVAC, etc. regardless of where the structure is manufactured. With the legislature expected to resume in an extended session in August, we were able to get these bills removed from the list of the 100 bills that will be considered when they return to session. Senate bill S8334, which is a prevailing wage bill, is also not expected to be heard this session.
With this being an election year, the landscape in Albany is likely to change. Our lobbyist continues to work closely with MBI to proactively work on defeating these bills if they are brought up again during the 2021 session.
In California, we found bills AB3269, AB2988, AB1905 and AB83 that are all focused on affordable housing and homelessness in California. If they become law, they would provide significant funding for these issues. Our New York lobbyist was originally a lobbyist in California and is reaching out to bill sponsors and potential partners to create a coalition to support these bills.