As evidenced by the results of the 2012 elections, voters don't
often speak in clear and concise ways. For the most part, we have
status quo in our nation's Capitol with Republicans in charge of
the House of Representatives and Democrats in charge of the Senate
and White House. Some have concluded this will mean at least two
more years of gridlock; I have a somewhat different view.
For starters, there will be no gridlock at the regulatory
agencies. Many agencies—such as the Occupational Safety and
Health Administration (OSHA) and Environmental Protection
Agency—will feel a new sense of empowerment and begin to
develop and process regulations that were previously put on hold
until after Nov. 6. For the roofing industry, these include new
OSHA regulations concerning silica; musculoskeletal injuries; and a
fun new program the agency calls its Injury and Illness Prevention
Program (I2P2), which will require employers to identify hazards in
their workplaces and find solutions for them—regardless of
whether OSHA regulations for those hazards currently exist.
We also will see movement on some legislation that has been
stalled for at least a few years for political reasons. At the top
of the list is immigration reform, which is badly needed, as
industries like ours continue to look for new sources of qualified
labor. Republicans learned in the 2012 elections it's no longer
good politics—or good governance, for that matter—to
talk about deporting some 12 million undocumented workers.
The elections also mean we will see the Affordable Care Act
(Obamacare) implemented messily because some states are unlikely to
embrace it. We won't know the exact implications of the law until
regulations—thousands of them—are issued beginning
early this year. Suffice it to say costs and regulatory
requirements won't be...
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