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Washington Weekly Update 12-4-23

Situational Awareness
The House and Senate are in session this week. The House will consider legislation affecting university investments and endowments, prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from finalizing a proposed rule on light-duty and medium-duty vehicle emissions, and block a Department of Education rule on student loans. The Senate will consider a nomination for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and possibly a supplemental appropriations bill for Ukraine, Israel and border funding, though the prospects are slim due to House Republican demands.

House Transportation Hearing on Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works

To inform the development of next year’s Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Management is scheduled to hold a hearing to review implementation of United States Army Corps of Engineers projects and policies that were included in previous WRDA measures. The hearing could also provide members with an opportunity to ask questions about the Army Corps’ joint final rule with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) amending the agency’s definition of Waters of the United States (WOTUS). Members and business organizations have primarily expressed concern about a lack of clarity on defining the “relatively permanent” standard included in the final WOTUS rule.

Recap of Congressional Hearing on DOL Proposed Overtime Rule

The House Education and Workforce Subcommittee on Workforce Protections held a hearing last week to examine the impact of the Department of Labor’s (DOL) proposed rule to raise the overtime threshold on businesses. Overall, Republicans focused on the perceived unconstitutionality of the proposed DOL overtime rule and the negative effect it could have on workers and employers while Democrats applauded the Biden administration for the implementation of labor laws that raise pay and enhance protections for workers. The majority of witnesses agreed with Republican members by describing how, if implemented, the overtime rule could limit career development and advancement opportunities for employees. Further, witnesses expressed concerns that the proposed rule fails to account for cost variances across different regions. NCA previously offered members background and the opportunity to share their thoughts on the matter, and filed comments with the DOL. 

Lawmakers Introduce Bipartisan Outdoor Recreation Package 

House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) and Ranking Member Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) announced the introduction of the Expanding Public Lands Outdoor Recreation Experiences (EXPLORE) Act. The package includes measures to improve public land access for sporting activities. One such provision would grant federal land management agencies with the authority to carry out inspections and decontamination of watercraft entering or leaving federal land and waters.

EPA Guidance on SCOTUS Maui Ruling

EPA announced it is seeking public comment on draft guidance applying the Supreme Court’s ruling on County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund. The SCOTUS decision determined that the Clean Water Act requires a permit when there is a direct discharge, or a functional equivalent of a direct discharge, of pollutants from a point source into navigable waters. The SCOTUS ruling was a result of a lawsuit against the county of Maui by environmental groups claiming that possible pollutants in treated wastewater injected into wells mixed with groundwater and eventually entered the ocean. Many golf courses have turned to recycled water to reduce overall water consumption.

Upcoming Webcasts: Fact-Based Member Vetting (12/7) & Turf Wars (12/14)
Join NCA for two webcasts that can help advance your club in several key areas. On Thursday, December 7 at 2pm ET., learn new best practices on member vetting that may have far-reaching implications on your club’s success. Register here.

On Thursday, December 14 at 2pm ET., learn how to effectively navigate the complex relationship between general managers, golf professionals and golf course superintendents. This discussion will help bridge the gap between these key club decision-makers. Register here.

NCA webcasts are free for members and $99 for nonmembers.