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The Legislative Report blog provides timely information on federal and state legislation and regulations and state trends as well as the myriad issues affecting the private club industry. A companion to CMAA's Legislative website, this resource should be your first stop for any information regarding legal, tax or legislative club-specific issues.

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Preparing for Health Care Compliance in 2015 and Beyond

(Health Care Reform, Legal Issues) Permanent link

January 1, 2015, brings the deadline for providing health care to all full-time-equivalents (FTE) for applicable large employers under the Employer Shared Responsibility provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). That means that penalties will begin for employers who fail to provide coverage. For 2015, the penalty for employers with 100 or more FTEs is $2,000 per year per FTE, less the first 80 full-time employees. The penalty kicks in if any FTE gets a federal tax subsidy to buy a health plan through a government-run health insurance marketplace.
 
So what do you need to do?

 
Do you have 100 or more FTEs?
 
By January 1, 2015, you need to be providing health care coverage to “substantially all” of your FTEs and their dependents. There is some good news. For 2015, the definition of “substantially all” is 70 percent. In 2016, this definitely increases to 95 percent of your FTEs.
 
Do you have 50 to 99 FTEs?
 
Good news. There is transitional relief through 2015 as long as you meet all of the conditions. The most significant provisions being that you do not take actions to reduce employee hours or positions during 2015 in an effort to keep the business under 100 FTEs. Your date will be January 1, 2016, for providing coverage.

Do you have fewer than 50 FTEs?
 
Even better news. This law does not mandate coverage provisions for you. If you have 25 or fewer FTEs and provide health coverage, you may be eligible for tax credits. If you have 25-49 employees, you may be eligible to purchase coverage through the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP). Learn more at IRS.gov.

CMAA, Golf Industry File Comments to EPA’s Waters of the US Rule

(Regulation) Permanent link

On Friday, November 14, CMAA and its Golf Industry allies submitted their official comments to the Environmental Protection Agency in regards to the proposed expansion of the Clean Water Act and Waters of the US Rule.
 
These comments focus specifically on the impact to the golf industry and were submitted by Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, Club Managers Association of America, National Club Association, American Society of Golf Course Architects, Golf Course Builders Association of America, National Golf Course Owners Association and Professional Golfers Association of America. In these comments, the golf industry expressed concern for the “the EPA and Corps’ expansion of the jurisdiction over WOTUS as written in the proposed regulation” and “recommends the Agencies withdraw the proposed rule, in light of the proposed rules numerous ambiguities and inconsistencies.”

Further, CMAA signed onto 106-page comments through the Waters Advocacy Coalition. WAC represents a large cross-section of the nation’s construction, real estate, mining, agriculture, transportation, forestry, manufacturing, and energy sectors, as well as wildlife conservation and recreation interests. All are vital to a thriving national economy, including providing much needed jobs. The proposed rule will have a significant impact and hinder Coalition members’ ability to create opportunities and jobs. The WAC-submitted comments called for immediate withdrawal of the rule.

It is currently estimated that more than 800,000 comments were submitted on this rule to the EPA through regulation.gov.  

EPA’s Waters of the US Rule Comment Deadline Is November 14

(Regulation) Permanent link

CMAA, in conjunction with the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, has created a sample two-page comment letter for individual CMAA members and their clubs to use if they wish to submit comments to the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Waters of the United States Under the Clean Water Act rule. This letter was formulated from the 20 page industry impact response which will be submitted from CMAA and our industry partners. Further, through a participant in the Waters Advocacy Coalition, an additional technical response will be submitted.

First released in April, this proposed rule could significantly impact the operation and management of golf courses. Final approval of this rule could dramatically expand federal jurisdiction over waters and wet areas in the US, including most water bodies on golf courses.

Please note that submitted comments do become public record and are accessible online through regulations.gov. For those who do not wish to submit comments for privacy reasons, all of the same points will be communicated in our CMAA response(s).

10_28_14TakeActionComments are due no later than Friday, November 14, and can be submitted in the following ways:

  • E-mail your comments to ow-docket@epa.gov and include EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0880 in the subject line of the message.
  • By mail, send the original and three copies of your comments to:

Water Docket, Environmental Protection Agency
Mail Code 2822T
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20460
Attention: Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0880

  • Hand Delivery/Courier: Deliver your comments to EPA Docket Center, EPA West, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20460, Attention Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0880. Such deliveries are accepted only during the Docket's normal hours of operation, which are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. Special arrangements should be made for deliveries of boxed information. The telephone number for the Water Docket is (202) 566-2426.

Download the sample letter.*

*You must be signed into the CMAA website to access this download.

USCIS Launches E-Verify Portal for Employees

(Dept of Labor, Immigration) Permanent link

10_8_14_175wOn October 6, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the launch of a new E-Verify portal designed specifically for use by employees. Called myE-Verify, the portal  gives employees a free and secure way to participate in the E-Verify process by accessing features dedicated for employees, including:

  • Self Check - This free, web-based application is available to anyone in the United States over the age of 16 to use to confirm employment eligibility. After the individual enters the requested information, Self Check will compare that information with various government records to determine current work eligibility in the United States.
  • myE-Verify accounts – Employees and job seekers can establish a free and secure personal account to manage the use of their information in E-Verify and Self Check through the available myE-Verify features. In order to create an account, individuals must first have their identities verified through the Self Check feature.
  • Self Lock – Individuals can lock their social security numbers to prevent unauthorized or fraudulent use within E-Verify and can proactively protect their identities from being used by others to illegally gain employment. Self Lock is available only to myE-Verify account holders.  
  • myResources – This section of the myE-Verify site contains information in multi-media formats to educate employees about their rights as well as responsibilities of employers in the employment eligibility verification process.

At present, the site is only available to employees in five states - Arizona, Idaho, Colorado, Mississippi, Virginia and the District of Columbia. USCIS plans to make the program available nationwide and incorporate further features.   

EPA’s Waters of the US Rule Comment Deadline Extended to November 14

(Regulation) Permanent link

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has extended the public comment deadline for Defining the Waters of the United States Under the Clean Water Act (CWA) for a second time. This public comment period is now open until Friday, November 14.

First released in April, this proposed rule could significantly impact the operation and management of golf courses. Final approval of this rule could dramatically expand federal jurisdiction over waters and wet areas in the US, including most water bodies on golf courses.

Comments may be submitted by one of the following methods:
 
    •   Online through the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
    •   E-mail your comments and include EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0880 in the subject line of the message.
    •   Mail: Send the original and three copies of your comments to:
        Water Docket, Environmental Protection Agency
        Mail Code 2822T
        1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
        Washington, DC 20460
        Attention: Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0880.
    •   Hand Delivery/Courier: Deliver your comments to EPA Docket Center, EPA West, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20460, Attention Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0880. Such deliveries are accepted only during the Docket's normal hours of operation, which are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. Special arrangements should be made for deliveries of boxed information. The telephone number for the Water Docket is (202) 566-2426.
 
For any comments, please reference Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0880.

CMAA will be submitting comments as part of the golf industry task force with cross-profession representatives. Vice President Tony D’Errico, CCM, CCE, and Senior Director, Communications and Government Relations, Melissa Low are representing CMAA on this initiative. For further information, please contact Melissa Low.

EPA Grants Three-Year Extension for Use of Nemacur to October 2017

(Regulation) Permanent link

Based on a request from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced that golf courses will have a three-year extension to use and deplete their stocks of existing pesticide fenamiphos (Nemacur). Prior to the October 1 announcement in the Federal Register, all stocks would need to have been used or disposed of by October 6, 2014. This extension amends the previous 2011 deletion and product cancellation order.

OSHA Modifies Injury Reporting Requirements

(OSHA, Regulation) Permanent link

09_17_14_175wAs announced September 11, OSHA will now mandate a change in reporting for employee injuries. Effective January 1, 2015, clubs will be required to notify OSHA of work-related fatalities within eight hours, and work-related in-patient hospitalizations, amputations or losses of an eye within 24 hours. Previous OSHA regulations required an employer to report only work-related fatalities and in-patient hospitalizations of three or more employees. Reporting single hospitalizations, amputations or loss of an eye was not required under the previous rule. The updated rule leaves in place the current requirement that employers report all work-related fatalities to OSHA within eight hours.

Employers should report these events by telephone to the nearest OSHA Area Office during normal business hours or the 24-hour OSHA hotline at 1-800-321-OSHA [6742], or electronically through a new online tool which will be released soon and accessible at www.osha.gov/report_online.

The above injury reporting requirements apply to all clubs.

The final rule also amends the list of industries which are required to maintain records of occupational injuries and illnesses at their establishments through OSHA Forms 300, 301 and 300A.