Last year proved to be busy in Washington, D.C. Our country witnessed one of the most productive legislative years on record. Let me put this in perspective—more laws were enacted in 2015 than in the first year of any two-year congressional term since 2009. In addition, Congress passed more substantive laws in 2015 than any first-session year since 2007.


What does this mean for you? Through it all, the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) Government Affairs team has maintained a robust and demanding schedule, vigorously advocating for our key legislative and regulatory priorities, and they have had some major successes as a result. Here is a rundown of our 2015 achievements:


✔ Passed a two-year delay (until 2020) on implementation of the Cadillac Tax on high-cost healthcare plans


✔ Passed the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, a five-year, $305 billion Surface Transportation Authorization bill and the first major transportation infrastructure bill in 10 years


✔ Passed a six-year reauthorization of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act


✔ Passed legislation to make permanent 55 federal tax provisions that expired on Dec. 31, 2014, which includes a five-year extension of the 40 percent production tax credit for wind energy and a 30 percent investment tax credit for solar energy


✔ Passed permanent extensions of the following tax breaks:


• 15-year recovery for leasehold improvements


• Expensing limits under Section 179


• Restaurant and retail improvements


• Research and development credit


✔ Passed the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2015—comprehensive energy-efficiency legislation that will encourage energy-efficient practices in leased spaces, allow the use of grid-enabled water heaters for demand-response programs, and spur the benchmarking of energy usage in commercial buildings


✔ As part of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2015, passed several NECA-supported provisions that will help prevent individual surety fraud and allow joint ventures to submit individual businesses’ relevant past performance evaluations as part of their proposals


As you can see, these are some significant victories for our industry. It is clear that NECA has solidified its reputation as the leading specialty contractor association in the nation. Looking to the remainder of 2016, we will continue to build on this momentum and prioritize several important issues focusing on our nation’s airport and water infrastructure, ensuring Congress authorizes the use of new composite plan designs to bring the multi-employer pension system into the 21st century and push to reform our unnecessarily complex tax code.


Through our chapters and our national association, NECA provides the information our contractors need to know about a wide variety of topics affecting their businesses. One significant way you can get involved is to visit Washington, D.C., for the 2016 NECA Legislative Conference from May 18–19. This meeting will bring electrical contractors from around the country together so they can convey the industry’s concerns to our nation’s lawmakers. It is an opportunity nobody should miss.


Finally, I urge you to keep up with issues directly affecting our industry—whether on the national, regional or local scale—and to reach out to your lawmakers. They make decisions that affect your businesses every day. Electrical contractors from all over should take great care to pay attention, get involved and stay active.