“The supply of government exceeds the demand”
— Lewis Lapham
Once per month we walk through the legislative and executive action that affect the cost of education communities; with special attention to the way money flows into physical infrastructure — our cities-within-cities.
The education industry builds about $80 billion of new or renovated square footage it every year — and takes another $240 billion to manage it — making it the largest non-residential building construction market in the United States (CLICK HERE for our coverage of the monthly US Commerce Department report on construction activity).
Three-hundred billion running through any industry sets the foundation for market-making by incumbent stakeholders (“niche verticals“) using legislative processes. Incumbents work the market on 2-3 fronts:
- Direct legislative influence — i.e. crafting new legislation, or revising legacy legislation
- Writing passages in codes and standards that are incorporated by reference into new or legacy legislation
- Executive action
Some administrative information is available at the link below:
In the process of scanning through technical details in best practice literature that frighten ordinary mortals, many federal proposals get “caught in the net” of our tracking algorithm. (We usually throw them back)
We do not advocate in legislative action at any level — we are not lobbyists or communication consultants — but it is wise to follow because, when commenting opportunities present themselves, some knowledge of action elsewhere informs our response to the development of the consensus products that do affect the cost of education in the United States. For example, from time to time we find adjustments to the “boilerplate” legislation referenced in construction project bidding documents (Davis-Bacon Act, OSHA Rules of Construction, etc.) These “adjustments” are supposed to be made public but unless you are one of the Washington insiders, you may miss them.
The ferocity of federal-level action may surprise you; with food, technology and energy-related proposals the most fierce; soon to be replaced in ferocity by legislative solutions responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. We list a few proposals from the present (116th Congress) below:
…And so on.
To understand the underpinning of how codes and standards are developed, adopted and enforced, education facility managers should keep in mind that equipment and systems do not vote. The people who invent, build, install and maintain them do vote. We find that state agencies that administer the building codes for schools, colleges and universities are heavily influenced by labor interests. As one of the largest construction markets in the United States, labor and financial market incumbents are involved. For example, some labor unions devote resources to getting out the vote for school bond referendums in order to make work for their members. Usually this outsized influence is for the better; but not always. We devote an hour every month to State Action. See our CALENDAR.
We are happy to walk you through all, or all of the most relevant, legislative proposals as of this posting. Our algorithm picks up public commenting opportunities that federal agencies post on changes to existing legislation on a near-hourly basis. We curate and list them a few in the link below:
Energy-related proposals that affect the education industry energy agenda has also been omitted from this list and referred to our monthly Electrical, Mechanical and Energy standards teleconferences (See our CALENDAR). Energy legislation and regulations are a crazy space and needs a separate meeting. We host a monthly Energy Standards and Management & Finance teleconference that cover public commenting opportunities in those spaces.
ANSI CEO Joe Bhatia explains the US Technology Transfer & Advancement Act at the University of Michigan.
*(CLICK HERE for our post on how the Canadian Parliament reckons with the strengths and weaknesses of this law-making technique)
**As of this post, there is no publicly available group photo of the 116th Congress