September Newsline: Stimulus impact on utility construction, 2009 infrastructure spending drop, and more

September 2009 Vol. 64 No. 9

Precision Pipeline LLC received a contract from Enbridge Energy for 46 miles of 20-inch pipeline in LaSalle, Grundy and Will Counties, IL. Headquarters is Morris, IL. The superintendent is Russell Fischer. The approximate start date was July 13.

New Immigration Enforcement requires review of contractor practices

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials launched a new worksite enforcement campaign targeting employers and their I-9 practices.

ICE issue Notices of Inspection to 652 businesses nationwide. This announcement marks the shift in enforcement form the Bush administration’s policy of emphasizing criminal investigations of employers suspected of violating the federal immigration employment laws.

Local immigration counsel advises that in addition to continued criminal violations fro egregious behavior, there is now a full range of civil fines from paperwork violations to hiring or continuing to hire unauthorized aliens. Counsel expects this trend to continue and more employers will come under scrutiny for their I-9 practices.

Fines can range from $110 to $1,100 for paperwork violations to $275 to $2,200 for unauthorized hiring violations.

With these new ICE enforcement provisions in place, the PLCA recommends that contractors conduct a full audit of their I-9 and immigration related practices.

California’s bonds near junk rating
California’s credit rating was cut for the second time in as many weeks by Fitch Ratings after a stalemate over how to close a $26 billion budget deficit forced the most-populous U.S. state to pay some bills with IOUs.

Fitch lowered its rating of California’s general obligation bonds by two steps to BBB from A-, placing the debt two ranks above junk status, and said the state may be cut further. The credit-rating company last lowered its assessment of California on June 25. Standard & Poor’s has said it also is considering ratings downgrades on California.

To save cash, California began issuing IOUs in June for the second time since the Great Depression. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has imposed three furlough days a month. Meanwhile, advocates for social services are protesting against cuts and proposed reforms outside the Capitol. They want to spare programs they say are vital to senior, low-income families and the disabled.