January 2013

Election results and the coming year | As I was saying …

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Election results and the coming year

by Bill Good
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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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