SBE News

GSBE Business Update and Employment Update 08/03/17

Federal Contractor and Subcontractor Labor Reporting Requirements Under the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act

An important annual Federal labor reporting requirement is coming due for Federal contractors and subcontractors.  The Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) requires Federal contractors and subcontractors with contracts valued at > $150,000 to annually report employment data for protected Veterans in their employ.

GSBE Golden State Builders Exchanges

What is a VETS-4212 Report?
The report, known as “VETS-4212” (formerly known as VETS-100 or VETS-100A, and often referred to as such in contracts awarded using earlier versions of FAR Clause 52.222-37) is due for submission to the Veterans Employment Training Service (VETS) at the U.S. Department of Labor, no later than September 30, 2017.  Fiscal Year 2017 reporting opens up August 1, 2017.

Accurate and timely reporting, as well as record keeping, is critical to stellar contract administration.  A contractor’s affirmative action obligations in the hiring and retention of Veterans is subject to audit by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contractor Compliance Programs (OFCCP).

A special note to U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Federal Supply Schedule Contract holders.  VA requires submission of this report to the U.S. Department of Labor regardless of the dollar amount of sales under the contract, and failure to submit can impact the processing of modifications, extension packages, and new and ensuring offers.

Trump rolled back this environmental rule. California may replace it with a stronger one
President Donald Trump’s administration gave California land developers and farmers a reason to cheer when the White House last month rolled back controversial regulations for wetlands imposed during the Obama presidency. A powerful California water agency is poised to adopt its own regulations that could protect more of the state’s wetlands from being plowed, paved over or otherwise damaged.

Environmental groups are pressuring the State Water Resources Control Board to push back against Trump’s decision and adopt a wetlands policy that’s even stricter than former President Barack Obama’s.

“The state board should be adopting a policy that is even more protective of California’s wetlands,” said Rachel Zwillinger, water policy adviser for Defenders of Wildlife. “This (proposed) policy is a critical opportunity for the state to step up and protect its own resources.”

A fight over the proposed rules has been brewing for years and is about to come to a head. A year ago, a broad coalition of developers, homebuilders, farmers and other business groups submitted testimony against the regulations, saying they would create more red tape, higher costs and fewer rights for landowners. These organizations, including the California Building Industry Association and the state Farm Bureau, declined comment for this story because they’re reviewing a recently updated version of the water agency’s proposal.

Other property-rights advocates who’ve been studying the issue say the proposed wetlands rules could harm the state’s economy. “The impact may be particularly substantial for the agricultural industry and large-scale infrastructure projects in California that will almost certainly be subjected to additional permitting hoops and exposed to additional third-party litigation,” said Tom Boer, a San Francisco lawyer who represents businesses in environmental cases.
Now California environmentalists want California to make a stand. Reacting primarily to the Supreme Court decisions, but with the Trump White House also in mind, the State Water Resources Control Board is drawing up a “Waters of the State” rule. That rule would protect a broad array of wetlands including certain small streams and creeks, and a greater share of California’s vernal pools.

Vernal pools are temporary ponds that provide critical habitat for plants and animals during rainy season but dry up in summer. Environmentalists say they’re especially important in California. Millions of acres of such wetland habitat has disappeared in California since the mid-1800s, including 95 percent of the Central Valley’s. Conservation groups say it’s critical to protect the remaining wetlands from development, in part because they’re vital to the birds that migrate along the Pacific Flyway and a host of other native plants and animals. “Further losses (of vernal pools) are hugely problematic for the huge number of species that depend on the wetlands,” said Defenders of Wildlife’s Zwillinger.

The state water board already has broad authority under state law to protect wetlands, but often has deferred to regional water boards or the federal government. As the regulatory ground shifts in Washington, state officials say they want to be ready to step in depending on how far the Trump administration goes in loosening the rules. California’s proposed “Waters of the State” rule would clarify which wetlands would be protected.

“Current regulations have not been adequate to prevent losses in the quantity and quality of wetlands in California, where there have been especially profound historical losses of wetlands,” the proposed rule says. The state board, after years of deliberation, is expected to finalize the rules as early as December. Environmentalists say the rule can’t come soon enough – and has taken on greater importance in the Trump era.