ABC and AGC members and staff teamed up over the last two weeks to fight a new local law requiring 15% apprenticeship utilization on any City of Spokane Project over $350,000.

Sadly, despite our efforts the Spokane City Council approved the new regulation, 5 to 2.  Mike Allen joined with Mike Fagan to oppose the rule, with Council members Stratton, Snyder, Waldref, Mumm and Stuckart supporting the rule.

The Industry should thank the handful of contractors who attended the marathon Council meeting last night and spoke publicly in opposition to the ordinance.  Those individuals included Shane Miller, Dustin Smith, and Jeremy Kinney from Divcon, Inc., and Jeff Miller with Drywall Specialties.  These members were joined by ABC President Kate McCaslin and AGC Managing Director Cheryl Stewart in testifying against the ordinance.  Unfortunately their testimony was swamped by the 200 or so union and other anti-business liberals who packed the hearing room and dominated testimony for over 2 hours.

The new law, which will now go to Mayor David Condon for his consideration, makes the 15% requirement mandatory, and carries monetary penalties and specter of disbarment for contractors who cannot meet the threshold.  Waivers can be granted under certain circumstances, however any party “affected” by the rule can appeal a waiver.  It is expected that Condon will veto the rule, with a high likelihood that the “Veto Proof” Council will override his veto.

The rule is scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2015; policies implementing the rule will be developed by City staff prior to its implementation.

In addition to those individuals who testified, our thanks goes to all of those ABC and AGC members who took the time to email, call, or write Council members voicing their opposition to the local law.  Also, our thanks to LaVerne Biel with Access Unified Networks, and Mike Reilly with Cameron-Reilly who attended the hearing but did not testify.