Modular Building Institute
January 2021 Government Affairs Update | Modular Building Institute





January 2021 Government Affairs Update


Canada


The Canadian Mortgage Housing Corporation (CMHC) has completed the approval process for their $1 billion Rapid Housing Initiative utilizing modular construction. They are currently in the release of funding phase which is from January 1 – March 31, 2021.



Washington, DC/Federal Level


MBI worked with our DC lobbying team to support a second round of the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) as well as a simplified process for forgiveness of PPP loans and expanded use of the loans.


MBI is currently working with the Department of Energy’s new Advanced Building Collaborative Initiative to include and promote modular in this program.


President Biden has appointed former Boston Mayor, Marty Walsh as the United States Secretary of Labor and former California Labor Secretary, Julie Su to become the Deputy Secretary. MBI and our DC lobbyists will closely monitor any new proposals from the Department of Labor and advocate for the best interests of our members.



FEMA Announces 100% Reimbursement for State COVID-19 Related Expenses


President Joe Biden recently instructed FEMA to reimburse states and provide future funding for all COVID-19 related expenses from January 2020 until September 30, 2021. These expenses could include safe opening and operating of schools, increasing medical capacity, emergency feeding distribution, additional child-care facilities, among others. We feel there are many opportunities for both relocatable building providers as well as permanent modular construction. As such, MBI is working with our partners at the National Governors Association and state contacts throughout the country to provide information on how our industry can be of assistance. In the meantime, we recommend you connect with your local relationships to proactively offer additional support for current and future building needs.


Please see the link to the FEMA press release below.

FEMA Statement on 100% Cost Share | FEMA.gov



National Governors Association


During our monthly update with the National Governors Association, they announced that FEMA is now working with the Department of Defense to activate 100 teams from all areas of the military to create vaccination sites across the country to help states with vaccination logistics. Five teams have already been deployed in New York, Texas, and California with more expected to roll out quickly.



New York


MBI and our New York lobbyist are diligently working with coalition partners in the industry to defeat companion bills A3350/S2776. If passed, these bills would allow workers of subcontractors to hold General Contractors and Construction Managers liable for unpaid wages by the subcontractor.


Here are other steps we’re taking to defeat these bills:


• MBI has submitted a Memorandum of Opposition to all members in the Assembly and Senate.

• Our lobbyist has spoken with the Chief of Staff for the Senate Labor Committee Chair and is working to scheduling a meeting with the Chair.


As we’ve had conversations with Senate leadership, there is no intention of the bill being fast-tracked without more debate and discussion. They are receptive to our concerns and addressing them as we continue our discussions with them. The Majority Counsel has expressed understanding that this bill needs to have further research and understanding of the negative impact it would have on the construction industry. We’ll continue to keep members posted as we have more information to share.



California


MBI and our California lobbyists have already had multiple calls with leadership in the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) to promote the use of modular construction in all areas. There is a heightened focus from HCD in the use of modular for affordable housing. Our team will continue these discussions to open new opportunities for the industry.


Bills are starting to be filed in California as the new session begins. Even though bills can be filed until February 19, MBI and our California lobbyists will be monitoring bills closely and take action as needed.


Housing legislation, and in particular affordable housing, will once again be front and center for the Senate. Several Senators introduced a so-called “Senate Housing Package” which will be a hot topic. Unlike last session, Senate leadership did not make a big splash or issue a press release about any new bills. There are still some tensions from last year’s debate with the Assembly so there is a behind the scenes effort by the Senate to complement bills that will be introduced by the Assembly.





Help Us Help You

As members of MBI, you have an opportunity to support our government affairs work by purchasing MBI Seals. These funds are used to develop new industry standards in the U.S. and Canada, create new modular-friendly building code language, and to defeat anti-industry legislation and regulations at numerous state, provincial, and federal levels.



We are asking all MBI member manufacturers to purchase one $20 MBI Seal for each new module constructed and simply pass that cost on to your customers. Funds generated by the seals program will continue to be allocated towards removing these barriers to our growth. The Seals program has played a significant role in our ability to hire a full time Government Affairs Director as well as retain lobbyists. We hope you will be diligent in supporting this invaluable program.





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