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Last week, Daniel R. Simmons was ceremonially sworn in by U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry as the Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). Simmons was officially sworn into the Assistant Secretary role on January 16,2019 but last weeks ceremony provided an opportunity to honor him and his new role before family, friends, and colleagues. As assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Mr. Simmons leads EERE to promote affordable and reliable energy to enhance America’s economic growth and energy security. He will oversee technology development in the energy efficiency, renewable power and sustainable transportation ...
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Last week, ACCA attended a "CTE 101" briefing, hosted by the Congressional Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus. The briefing was aimed at giving new Members of Congress and their staffs an overview of CTE and its unique role in the nation's education and workforce development systems. Three panelists were at the briefing including Tim Lawrence Executive Director of SkillsUSA , Jarrod Nagurka Advocacy and Public Affairs Manager of ACTE, and Katheryn Zekus senior Associate for Federal Policy at Advance CTE . The panelists gave an overview of CTE, a recap of Perkins V and discussed the importance of CTSOs. The co-chairs of the Congressional CTE Caucus ...
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The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) late last week  issued a final rule  eliminating a requirement that establishments with 250 or more employees electronically submit information from certain OSHA forms. The final rule change removes the requirement for these companies to electronically submit information to OSHA’s Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses form (Form 300) and the Injury and Illness Report form (Form 301). OSHA believes this change will help to protect employers by preventing routine government collection of sensitive information avoiding the risk that this information that might publicly ...
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Employees who are required to stay “on call” before the start of a possible work shift — phoning their employer two hours before the shift to learn whether they’re needed — are entitled to be paid for that two-hour period regardless of whether they’re called in to work, a California state appeals court ruled earlier this week.   In a 2-1 decision with potentially broad impact, the Second District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles said on-call employees are protected by a 1943 California Industrial Welfare Commission wage order, still in effect, that entitles employees to “reporting time pay” as soon as they are required to report for work. The employer in this ...
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Lately does it feel like the cyber criminals are out to get you? Well, they are, but that really is nothing new. The new thing is they are becoming more and more savvy and are coming up with way that will sail through all your spam/malware filters and email protection devices, because it's entirely legit by using the Docusign infrastructure. You can get full details on this new scam and how to protect yourself from it in this great blog .
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How much money did your organization invest last year in training and development that failed to provide the results you sought? You are not alone if employee training rarely resulted in your employees implementing the information they learned into your workplace. You cannot just “take” time to train your employees; you need to consistently “make” time for them to train. For years ACCA has offered numerous courses online for you and your staff. No matter the topic, there are a few things you can do for your employees to help them be more successful. Schedule Time for Growth One of the biggest benefits with online training is that you get to work through ...
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Senator Bernie Sanders has announced a tax policy that will greatly increase estate tax rates, also referred to as the Death Tax. These tax increases are not on an individual’s income but instead on money inherited through an estate. This is in response to recent polling that shows most Americans are in favor of raising taxes on the rich. Senator Sanders tax policy greatly increases tax rates for those who inherit over $3.5 million. Senator Sanders proposed tax rates are: $3.5 million to $10 million: 45 percent tax $10 million to $50 million: 50 percent tax $50 million to $1 billion: 55 percent tax More than $1 billion: 77 percent tax This tax ...
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ACCA was very involved in the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) and worked to ensure that the interests of contractors were considered and protected in this important reform. This included both the incorporation of the HEAT Act into the TCJA and tax relief through new deductions of up to 20% for Pass-Through businesses. Our ACCA members fall into this Pass-Through category and will see tax relief from this deduction. Pass Through businesses are not subject to the corporate tax rate and rather send their income through their owners. This taxes businesses through their owner’s personal taxes. The tax reform passed in 2017 established a new ...
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Apple has disabled Group FaceTime after reports emerged on Monday that the feature could be abused to eavesdrop on iPhone users. Apparently, the flaw allows people to hear and see call recipients before they answer the video call.  If you use FaceTime for connecting the home office to technicians in the field then you need to be aware that this is a potential privacy issue. You can learn more about the flaw and what Apple is doing to correct it in this article from Data Breach .
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ACCA in congruence with the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace (CDW) filed comments yesterday to address the notice of proposed rulemaking by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to reinstate the pre-2015 joint employer standard under the National Labor Relations Act.  The traditional joint employer standard was used to determine when two or more companies receive joint employer status over a group of employees under the National Labor Relations Act. Two or more entities were considered joint employers under the traditional standard only if they exercised direct and immediate control over the essential terms and conditions of employment for the employees ...
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ACCA and the Arkansas HVACR Association – an ACCA allied contracting organization – have partnered to support important legislation pending in the Arkansas Legislature. ACCA is providing communications support as well as access to ACCA’s grassroots action center, enabling contractors to easily contact their legislators with a pre-drafted support letter. House Bill (HB) 1060 would establish a continuing education program for “A” and “B” HVACR licenses. We support this legislation because it will help raise the bar for the industry, ensuring that contractors meet a certain requirement to maintain HVAC license. This legislation will only require 4 hours of continuing ...
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Federal District Court Rules Company Website is Subject to ADA   While we’ve not gotten any questions yet on the subject, recently there have been some developments in company on-line presence and ADA compliance.   The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) mandates that places of “public accommodation” provide auxiliary aids and services to make visual materials available to individuals who are blind. The caselaw over the years has established that companies that sell goods and services on-line qualify as places of public accommodation.   Domino’s is the latest company making the news in Robles v. Domino’s Pizza , in which an ADA complaint ...
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As a member of ACCA’s Research and Technology team, I had the pleasure to attend the national conference of the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), last week. This annual event, held in conjunction with the AHR Expo, brings together the engineering component of our industry, all of ACCA’s engineers are ASHRAE Members and represent contractors at these meetings. I had the pleasure to be involved in a number of thought leadership and research discussions. An interesting committee discussion I participated in focused on smart thermostats and the claims that they save energy. Thermostat manufacturers claim that ...
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As predicted, a great deal of action on the presidential front has already occurred in January as Democrats are itching to get their names on the ballot. Already, 31 Democrats have stepped forward or have been rumored as potential presidential candidates for the 2020 election year. Ex-secretary Julian Castro, Ex-Congressman John Delaney (D-MD), and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) have all announced candidacy. Others such as, Former Vice President Joe Biden, are expected to run though have yet to publicly commit to doing so. Despite the ongoing partial government shutdown and the largest incoming class of congressional freshman in history, heads are already ...
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Recently, there has been an uptick in cyber criminals using fake Amazon order confirmation emails to get personal information. What they do is they send you an email that looks like an Amazon order confirmation that leads you to a fake site and gets your Amazon credentials, which then leaves your credit card information vulnerable. So far in the emails received, there has been no items or description of items listed. This is happening to both individuals and companies. Here is an example of one that was sent to ACCA: Remember, if you ever question an email or don't remember placing an order with Amazon, but receive a confirmation, do not click the link ...
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Workforce issues are some of the biggest in the HVACR industry. Whether it’s finding or keeping employees, there is gap that needs filled and fast. One thing that employers can do to improve their recruiting and reduce employee turnover is to offer a comprehensive benefits plan. This can include: paid time off; sick leave; health insurance (even if only partially paid for); dental and vision insurance; and a retirement plan, such as a 401(k). While every business is different and needs to decide what employee benefits are the best them to offer, the fact remains that happy employees produce more profits. So, let’s look at why a 401(k) retirement plan could ...
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As ACCA predicted, with a shift in power to the Democratic party in the House of Representatives, there will be significant efforts to address climate related issues. The House, under Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s leadership, has officially established the House Select Committee of Climate Crisis to examine climate change during the 116 th Congress. The Select Committee is similar to select committee that operated from 2007 to 2011, the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. However, this Committee does not hold the power to subpoena and instead only makes recommendations to the full House of Representatives.  Speaker Pelosi has named Kathy ...
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Refrigerant Round-Up

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For the past few months there has been significant action from state governments to address greenhouse gas emissions, and there is more action coming from the states and the Democrat-led House of Representatives. Environmental groups, climate activists, and the elected officials who support their causes are working to reduce/phase down/eliminate greenhouse gases and one of their top targets are hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants, like R410a. R-22 is being eliminated, because it is an ozone-depleting substance and, since the U.S. Senate ratified the Montreal Protocol on Substance that Deplete the Ozone Layer, the U.S. is obligated to follow an international ...
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ACCA proudly offered its support for the confirmation of Mr. Andrew Wheeler to serve as the fifteenth Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Andrew Wheeler has served the public with distinction, as a staffer in the United States Senate, Deputy EPA Administration, and as acting EPA Administrator since Scott Pruitt resigned. Throughout his service to our country, Wheeler has demonstrated a commitment to balancing environmental issues and the impact that regulations have on job creators and our economy. ACCA’s staff leadership has worked closely with Wheeler throughout his time in government and believe he will continue serve our country ...
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Recently, ACCA has received some questions regarding healthcare and the Affordable Care Act (ACA).   As you are all aware, back on December 14, a federal judge in Texas struck down the ACA, holding that the individual mandate is unconstitutional, and, without it, the entire law must fail. The judge’s action happened two days before the close of the open enrollment period on the Healthcare Marketplace Exchanges, and his ruling was premised in the elimination of the tax penalty in 2019.   When it was originally enacted, the ACA was sold as insurance reform which guaranteed issue, community rating, and elimination of pre-existing conditions. It withstood ...
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