News & Press: Member Update

ACEC Texas Member Update: COVID-19 (March 20, 2020)

Friday, March 20, 2020  
Posted by: Michael Hancock
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Member Update

COVID - 19


TxDOT PEPS Continuing Operations Plan

ACEC Texas was contacted today by TxDOT PEPS Division Director, Martin Rodin, P.E., regarding PEPS’ contingency plan to allow them to conduct business as usual for TxDOT. Mr. Rodin mentioned that they are moving forward with completing the solicitations already in progress from FY 2020 Wave 2 and are already proceeding with the rollout of the proposals that will be in FY 2020 Wave 3 beginning in April.

The following plan outline was provided to us by Mr. Rodin and was shared with TxDOT Senior Leadership today:

  • Meetings: These are to be conducted by WebEx or Jabber. At no time during this period are we going to request to have in person meetings. Our goal is to continue operations but minimize everyone’s risk of exposure. Safety first.

  • Procurement Interviews: These will now be conducted via WebEx. For each interview, the consultant will be asked to initiate the meeting. This would allow the selection team to drop off to deliberate on follow up questions and then rejoin.

  • Statement of Qualification (SOQ) and Proposal Submissions: Updates to the RFP and RFQ are being made to request that all SOQ and Proposal packages be submitted via email to an email process account managed by each PEPS Service Center. During this period, no paper responses will be requested.

  • Upcoming training: PEPS Center of Excellence (COE) will conduct the Kickoff Day for FY 2020 Wave 3 solicitations via WebEx. PEPS Service Center Managers will conduct the Group Days via WebEx. PEPS COE will offer CST training for Consultant Selection Team (CST) members on April 7-8th via WebEx.

  • Communication: PEPS Continuing Operations Plan was communicated to TxDOT Senior Leadership on March 20th. The plan was also shared with ACEC on this date to expedite communication with industry partners.

  • Existing Contracts: PEPS Service Center Managers will be coordinating over the next two weeks with DE/DD staff in order to identify existing contracts that need to be amended in order to provide flexibility for using professional service providers.

Breakdown of Federal Aid Packages in Response to COVID-19

The White House and Congress have been working to pass a series of stimulus packages in response to COVID-19. On Wednesday, President Trump officially signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201) regarding leave policies for employees affected by COVID-19. The new law will take effect on April 2, 2020 and will remain in effect until December 31, 2020. Some of the highlights of the Act include the following:

  • Free Testing: Insurers would be required to cover testing for COVID-19 without cost-sharing or prior authorization requirements.

  • Emergency Paid Leave: Private sector employers with fewer than 500 employees and government entities would have to provide 12 weeks of job-protected leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to employees who have been on the payroll at least 30 days and who are unable to work or telework in order to care for a minor child whose school/child care has been closed.

  • Emergency Sick Leave: Private sector employers with fewer than 500 employees and government entities would have to provide paid sick leave to self-quarantine, get a diagnosis for COVID-19, or provide care for a family member in quarantine or a child whose school has closed.

  • Tax Credits: The bill would provide payroll tax credits to employers to cover wages paid while employees are using the emergency paid leave and sick leave established by the legislation.

For more detailed information on this Act, please visit the ACEC National Last Word blog: ACEC: Family First Coronavirus Response Act.

Additionally, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell released a new aid package yesterday, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act, S. 3548), which includes provisions for small business loans, tax relief, and health care and labor policies. ACEC National is currently vetting the CARES Act internally and would welcome any feedback from member firms. A key point from ACEC National is the need to ensure that infrastructure, and related design and construction activities, are considered essential functions at the state and federal level, and the need for a robust infrastructure component as a part of the economic stimulus and recovery agenda.

To view a summary of the CARES Act, please click on the following link: ACEC National Summary of CARES Act.

Our friends at ACEC National have been working tirelessly to provide member organizations with important information as we continue to work through COVID-19. If you have any questions, concerns or feedback regarding the federal aid packages, please feel free to email Steve Hall (Shall@acec.org), Senior Vice President for Advocacy and External Affairs, with ACEC National. As always, you may also contact Scott Stewart, ACEC Texas Vice President – Legislative Affairs, at Scott@ACECTX.org or (512) 474-1474.


ACEC President Linda Darr Editorial:
“Now is the time to leverage investment in our critical infrastructure”

ACEC National President and CEO Linda Darr published an editorial today highlighting the importance for federal and state governments to continue to maintain our nation’s critical infrastructure as we work through and respond to COVID-19.

To read the complete editorial, please click on the following link: ACEC Editorial


COVID-19 Member Firm Survey Results

ACEC National conducted a member firm survey on COVID-19 and have made the results available. To view the complete results, please click on the following link: ACEC Survey Results - COVID-19.

Please be on the lookout for a subsequent survey regarding COVID-19 from ACEC National for member firms to participate in.


ACEC National Announces Free Opportunities for Member Firms

ACEC National has provided three free opportunities for member firms to partake and use as tools as we continue to work though COVID-19. Please take a moment and review the following opportunities:

  1. Learn from these A/E Business Thought Leaders on ways to manage your business challenges related to the virus. Business Continuity Planning During Uncertain Times- ACEC/MA Web Briefing. This is available on-demand from ACEC National's platform for free and you can access the recorded web seminar here.

  2. ACEC National will be hosting a free webinar on Tuesday, March 24th at 3:30 PM featuring Amanda Machin of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP. The webinar discussion will be on "COVID-19 Legislation: What do Employers Need to Know?” To sign up for the webinar, please click on the following link: ACEC National Webinar Sign Up: COVID-19.

  3. As part of ACEC’s outreach to member firms during the coronavirus pandemic, we are convening small, medium, and large firm virtual round table sessions on Monday, March 23rd. These sessions will provide our members with a platform to discuss the issues facing your business as well as share ideas on how our industry can help our communities during the crisis. The virtual roundtables are a free event for members. Registration links for each roundtable can be found below. Once registered you will be sent login information - joining the roundtable is easy and can be done through your computer of via phone. If you have questions on registration, contact Maureen Brown at mbrown@acec.org.

State of Texas & Federal: News and Updates

  • Governor Executive Order: Governor Greg Abbott has issued an Executive Order and has declared a public health disaster in the state of Texas. The Executive Order, which took place at midnight last night and will run through April 3, 2020, includes the following effective statewide:
    1. Limits social gathers to no more than 10 people.
    2. Prohibits dining-in at restaurants and bars. Drive-thru and pickup orders will still be allowed.
    3. All gyms are to be closed.
    4. Temporarily closes schools.

    To view the Governor’s Executive Order in its entirety, please click on the following link: Gov. Abbott’s Executive Order.

  • Income Tax Deadline: U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced this morning that the income tax filing deadline has been pushed back from April 15th to July 15th.

  • State Information and Resource Hotline: The Texas Department of Health and Human Services is encouraging Texans in need of COVID-19 information and referrals to community resources to call the 2-1-1 Texas hotline, which is available 24-hours a day, 7-days a week.For more information, please visit the Department’s hotline webpage by clicking on the following:2-1-1 Hotline Information.

 

 


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8/19/2020
ACEC San Antonio Chapter Meeting-08/19/20