AM MONTHLY LAW ALERT
EXPEDITED PERMITTING IN AUSTIN
By R. Carson Fisk
The City of Austin has been considering the implementation of an optional permit review system under which developers would pay an increased fee in exchange for an expedited review. While the concept is straightforward, the proposal quickly became mired in controversy as the addition of “specific community benefits,” was sought by the City of Austin and various groups. As reflected in Resolution No. 20160616-029, adopted on June 16, 2016, community benefits being considered included a requirement that residential developments participate in the SMART housing program and include anti-discrimination standards as to future residents’ sources of income, that non-residential developments be certified by the Worker’s Defense Project’s “Better Builder” program or its equivalent, independent monitoring, and other measures deemed appropriate by the City Manager. Read more...
NEW MINIMUM WAGE FOR FEDERAL CONTRACT WORKERS
By Tony Stergio
The Department of Labor recently announced that effective January 1, 2017, the minimum wage for workers performing work on federal contracts will be $10.20 per hour. This increase means that wage determinations under the Davis Bacon Act, and State and School District contracts that use the Davis Bacon Act as a guide, will now have a “floor” of $10.20 per hour. Further, other employees performing work on federal contracts but not covered by wage determinations will also see their wages rise. Those submitting bids for federal contract (and subcontract) work for next year should keep this in mind. The same rule likely holds true for state contracts and school district contracts that make use of Davis Bacon rates.
TIME TO CHANGE THE FEDERAL LABOR LAW POSTER
By Elaine Howard
The Department of Labor has released updates to the Federal Labor Law Poster. The new revisions include changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Employee Polygraph Protection Act. If your current federal law poster was last revised prior to July 2016, you will need to order or print a new poster. Click here to print posters from the Department of Labor. Combination posters are available at a number of different websites, such as www.laborlawcc.com.
NOT ALL DEBTS ARE ERASED IN BANKRUPTCY
By Lisa Norman
While many debtors filing for bankruptcy presume that their debts will be erased and that they can emerge from bankruptcy with a “clean slate,” that’s not always the case. Some debts are considered nondischargeable, meaning they cannot be discharged (or erased) in bankruptcy. Read more...
TREASURY DEPARTMENT EXPANDS TRACKING OF SUSPICIOUS REAL ESTATE TRANSACTIONS IN TEXAS
By Manny Gardberg
Due to its success in uncovering suspicious transactions in California and New York, the United States Treasury Department is expanding a program to track money laundering to Bexar County, Texas. The temporary program, which started August 28, 2016, and will continue for at least six months, requires title insurers to report certain details of all-cash, residential transactions over $500,000 to the government. As a result of the existing program, the Treasury Department has stated it has seen an increase in suspicious activity reports and that the Justice Department finds the real estate and banking information helpful to its investigations. At the heart of the expanded program is the federal government’s targeting of money laundering through secretive shell companies designed to protect the identifies of their owners. The program originally began by targeting transactions in Manhattan and Miami-Dade, but in addition to San Antonio in Bexar County, is now expanding to Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco.
AM WELCOMES LAUREN SCROGGS TO HOUSTON
Andrews Myers is pleased to announce the addition of Lauren Scroggs as an Associate in our Houston office.
Lauren’s practice focuses on advocating for general contractors, subcontractors, suppliers and owners on a variety of construction related issues including litigation, contract negotiations and alternative dispute resolution.
Prior to joining the firm, Lauren served as a judicial clerk to Justice Eva Guzman of the Supreme Court of Texas, where she wrote opinion drafts and memoranda evaluating the grant-worthiness of petitions for review. Lauren also served as a judicial intern for both the Honorable Gray H. Miller and the Honorable John D. Rainey in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas.
Click here for more information on Lauren Scroggs. Welcome to Andrews Myers!
ANDREWS MYERS PLANS HOUSTON OFFICE MOVE MID-2017!
We are pleased to announce we have leased 30,000 sf of office space at 1885 Saint James Place, a Class A Galleria office building, with plans to move the Houston office midyear 2017. For more information on our exciting move, please click here.