Text: H.R.2269 — 111th Congress (2009-2010)All Bill Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (05/06/2009)


111th CONGRESS
1st Session
H. R. 2269

To establish the Gulf Coast Civic Works Commission within the Department of Homeland Security Office of Federal Coordinator of Gulf Coast Rebuilding to administer the Gulf Coast Civic Works Project to provide job-training opportunities and increase employment to aid in the recovery of the Gulf Coast region.


IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
May 6, 2009

Ms. Zoe Lofgren of California (for herself, Mr. Taylor, Mr. Conyers, Mr. Stark, Mr. Cao, Mr. Lewis of Georgia, Ms. Lee of California, Mr. Rangel, and Mr. Melancon) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Education and Labor, and in addition to the Committees on Financial Services, Transportation and Infrastructure, Natural Resources, and Energy and Commerce, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned


A BILL

To establish the Gulf Coast Civic Works Commission within the Department of Homeland Security Office of Federal Coordinator of Gulf Coast Rebuilding to administer the Gulf Coast Civic Works Project to provide job-training opportunities and increase employment to aid in the recovery of the Gulf Coast region.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title; table of contents.

(a) Short title.—This Act may be cited as the “Gulf Coast Civic Works Act”.

(b) Table of contents.—The table of contents of this Act is as follows:


Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.

Sec. 2. Purposes.

Sec. 3. Definitions.

Sec. 4. Severability.

Sec. 101. Establishment of Commission.

Sec. 102. Capitalization of the Commission.

Sec. 103. Officer, employees, and other agents of the Commission.

Sec. 104. Powers of the Commission.

Sec. 105. Regional coordination.

Sec. 106. Sealed open proposal process.

Sec. 107. Sealed open bid process.

Sec. 108. Environmental protection.

Sec. 201. Purposes.

Sec. 202. Establishment; contract authority.

Sec. 203. General activities.

Sec. 204. Job-training partnerships.

Sec. 205. Apprenticeship programs.

Sec. 206. Job creation.

Sec. 207. First source hiring and outreach.

Sec. 208. Wages.

Sec. 209. Other projects.

Sec. 210. General provisions and guidelines.

Sec. 211. Authorization of appropriations.

SEC. 2. Purposes.

It is the purpose of this Act to—

(1) establish a Federal authority to implement the necessary equitable government response to the disaster experienced in the region for all Gulf Coast communities;

(2) provide a minimum of 100,000 job and training opportunities to those whose livelihoods have been affected by the devastation of the Gulf Coast region, particularly women and individuals who qualify as low income;

(3) create stronger and more sustainable communities better able to mitigate the physical, social, and economic impact of future disasters;

(4) assure that those who are most vulnerable to the direct effects of climate change are able to prepare for and adapt to those impacts by building resilience and reducing risk;

(5) strengthen the workforce by providing job training for thousands of workers that will enable them to rebuild communities and make an independent living;

(6) rebuild homes, public infrastructure, historic buildings, and community resources, to protect communities from future disasters and restore lives and faith in the Federal Government;

(7) promote sustainable development, energy conservation, environmental restoration, and encouraging emerging industries and green technologies;

(8) ensure equitable working conditions by providing workers with fair wages;

(9) utilize the recommendations of community organizations and coalitions in order to rebuild and strengthen communities; and

(10) strengthen partnerships between the public and private sector that will lead to increased economic growth in the region.

SEC. 3. Definitions.

In this Act:

(1) GREEN BUILDING; HIGH-PERFORMANCE BUILDING.—The term “green building” or “high-performance building” means a building that is designed to achieve integrated systems design and construction so as to significantly reduce or eliminate the negative impact of the built environment on the following:

(A) Site conservation and sustainable planning.

(B) Water conservation and efficiency.

(C) Energy efficiency and renewable energy.

(D) Conservation of materials and resources.

(E) Indoor environmental quality and human health.

(2) GULF COAST REGION.—The term “Gulf Coast region” means the areas of Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, and Alabama that were devastated by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

(3) INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECT.—The term “infrastructure project” means the building, improvement, or increase in capacity of a basic installation, facility, asset, or stock that is associated with—

(A) a levee or other flood protection construction;

(B) a public facility such as a public schoolhouse, public college or university, police station, fire station, library, clinic, hospital, job center, shelter, or community center;

(C) a mass transit system;

(D) a public housing property that is eligible to receive funding under section 24 of the United States Housing Act of 1937 (42 U.S.C. 1437v);

(E) a road or bridge;

(F) a public utility system, structure, or facility; or

(G) a drinking water system or a wastewater system.

(4) LEED CERTIFICATION.—The term “LEED certification” means the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design green building rating system developed and adopted by the United States Green Building Council, which measures and evaluates the energy and environmental performance of a building.

(5) LIFE-CYCLE COST.—The term “life-cycle cost” means the cost of a building, as determined by the methodology identified in the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s special publication 544 and interagency report 80–2040, available as set forth in the Code of Federal Regulations, title 15, part 230, including the initial cost of its construction or renovation, the marginal cost of future energy capacity, the cost of the energy consumed by the facility over its expected useful life or, in the case of a leased building, over the remaining term of the lease, and the cost of operating and maintaining the facility as such cost affects energy consumption.

(6) LOCAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN.—The term “local development plan” means the plan which may be prepared or adopted by a local advisory council with the consultation and assistance of the Commission staff and adopted by a town meeting.

(7) LOCAL ADVISORY COUNCIL.—The term “local advisory council” means the local council established in each municipality to develop and manage the Civic Works Project, as described in section 104.

(8) PERSON.—The term “person” means an individual, corporation, municipality, governmental agency or authority, business trust, estate, trust, partnership, association, joint venture, two or more persons having a joint or common interest, or any legal entity. A State agency or authority shall not be deemed a person within the meaning of this Act.

(9) REGIONAL POLICY PLAN.—The term “regional policy plan” means the plan prepared as described in section 105.

(10) STATE AGENCY.—The term “State agency” means any department, board, bureau, commission, institution, public higher education institution, school district, or other governmental entity of a State.

SEC. 4. Severability.

If any provision of this Act, or the application of such provision with respect to any person or circumstance, is held invalid, the remainder of this Act, and the application of such provision to any other person or circumstance, shall not be affected by such holding.

SEC. 101. Establishment of Commission.

(a) In general.—There is hereby established within the Department of Homeland Security Office of the Federal Coordinator of Gulf Coast Rebuilding the “Gulf Coast Civic Works Commission” (in this Act referred to as the “Commission”).

(b) Membership.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—The Commission shall be composed of 16 individuals appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, from among individuals who are citizens of the United States and residents or evacuees of the Gulf Coast Region, and shall have gender, age, ethnic and racial diversity reflective of the Gulf Coast Region, and shall have diverse experience and knowledge representative of all the issues related to complete recovery including, but not limited to: housing, worker and immigrant rights, infrastructure, social services, levee protection, and coastal restoration.

(2) NOMINATIONS BY GOVERNOR OF LOUISIANA.—Four members of the Commission shall be appointed under paragraph (1) from among individuals who are nominated for appointment by the Governor of Louisiana in consultation with community based Gulf Coast Region coalitions.

(3) NOMINATIONS BY GOVERNOR OF MISSISSIPPI.—Four members of the Commission shall be appointed under paragraph (1) from among individuals who are nominated for appointment by the Governor of Mississippi in consultation with community based Gulf Coast Region coalitions.

(4) NOMINATIONS BY GOVERNOR OF ALABAMA.—Four members of the Commission shall be appointed under paragraph (1) from among individuals who are nominated for appointment by the Governor of Alabama in consultation with community based Gulf Coast Region coalitions.

(5) NOMINATIONS BY GOVERNOR OF TEXAS.—Four member of the Commission shall be appointed under paragraph (1) from among individuals who are nominated for appointment by the Governor of Texas in consultation with community based Gulf Coast Region coalitions.

(6) POLITICAL PARTY AFFILIATION.—Not more than 8 members of the Commission may be affiliated with any 1 political party.

(c) Chairperson and vice chairperson.—

(1) CHAIRPERSON.—The Commission shall annually elect a chairperson. The first set of officers shall be elected at the Commission’s initial organizational meeting, which shall be conducted within 30 days of the effective date of this Act.

(2) VICE CHAIRPERSON.—The Commission shall annually elect a vice chairperson. The first set of officers shall be elected at the Commission’s initial organizational meeting, which shall be conducted within 30 days of the effective date of this Act.

(3) ACTING CHAIRPERSON.—In the event of a vacancy in the position of Chairperson of the Commission or during the absence or disability of the Chairperson, the Vice Chairperson shall act as Chairperson.

(d) Term of office.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Each member of the Commission appointed shall serve a term of 3 years.

(2) INTERIM APPOINTMENTS.—Any member appointed to fill a vacancy occurring before the expiration of the term for which such member’s predecessor was appointed shall be appointed only for the remainder of such term.

(3) CONTINUATION OF SERVICE.—The Chairperson, Vice Chairperson, and each appointed member may continue to serve after the expiration of the term of office to which such member was appointed until a successor has been appointed and qualified.

(4) REMOVAL FOR CAUSE.—The Chairperson, Vice Chairperson, and any appointed member may be removed by the President for cause.

(5) FULL-TIME SERVICE.—The members of the Commission shall serve on a full-time basis.

(e) Vacancy.—Any vacancy on the Commission shall be filled in the manner in which the original appointment was made, provided—

(1) any member appointed to fill a vacancy in the Commission occurring prior to the expiration of the term for which his predecessor was appointed shall be appointed for the remainder of such term; and

(2) vacancies in the Commission so long as there shall be nine members in office shall not impair the powers of the Board to execute the functions of the Commission, and nine of the members in office shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of the business of the Commission.

(f) Basic pay.—

(1) CHAIRPERSON.—From the amounts appropriated under section 211, the Chairperson shall be paid at the rate of basic pay for level III of the Executive Schedule under section 5314 of title 5, United States Code.

(2) MEMBERS.—From the amounts appropriated under section 211, each member of the Commission, with the exception of the Chairperson, shall be paid at a rate of basic pay for level IV of the Executive Schedule under section 5315 of title 5, United States Code.

(g) Ineligibility for other offices.—

(1) OTHER GOVERNMENT POSITIONS.—No person may serve as a member of the Commission while holding any position as an officer or employee of the Federal Government, any State government, or any political subdivision of any State.

(2) RESTRICTION DURING SERVICE.—No member of the Commission may—

(A) be an officer or director of any insured depository institution, insured credit union, depository institution holding company, Federal reserve bank, Federal home loan bank, investment bank, mortgage bank, or any other entity which enters into any contract with the Commission; or

(B) hold stock in any insured depository institution, depository institution holding company, investment bank, mortgage bank, or any other entity which enters into any contract with the Commission.

(3) CERTIFICATION.—Upon taking office, each member of the Commission shall certify under oath that such member has complied with this subsection and such certification shall be filed with the secretary of the Commission.

(h) Clarification of nonliability.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—A director, member, officer, or employee of the Commission has no liability under the Securities Act of 1933 with respect to any claim arising out of or resulting from any act or omission by such person within the scope of such person’s employment in connection with any transaction involving the disposition of assets (or any interests in any assets or any obligations backed by any assets) by the Commission. This subsection shall not be construed to limit personal liability for criminal acts or omissions, willful or malicious misconduct, acts or omissions for private gain, or any other acts or omissions outside the scope of such person’s employment.

(2) EFFECT ON OTHER LAW.—This subsection shall not be construed as—

(A) affecting—

(i) any other immunities and protections that may be available to person to whom paragraph (1) applies under applicable law with respect to such transactions; or

(ii) any other right or remedy against the Commission, against the United States under applicable law, or against any person other than a person described in paragraph (1) participating in such transactions; or

(B) limiting or altering in any way the immunities that are available under applicable law for Federal officials and employees not described in this subsection.

(i) Principal office.—The principal office of the Commission shall be located in the State of Louisiana. There may be established agencies or branch offices in the District of Columbia and in any municipality in the Gulf Coast region to the extent provided for in the by-laws of the Commission.

(j) Property owners’ rights and protections.—

(1) NO AUTHORITY TO EXERCISE EMINENT DOMAIN.—The Commission shall have no authority to acquire interests in property by eminent domain.

(2) LOCAL INVITATION.—Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, the Commission may take no action in any municipality unless the local government of such municipality has adopted a resolution of invitation for the Commission’s assistance.

(3) COMPLIANCE WITH LOCAL DEVELOPMENT PLANS.—The Commission shall have no authority to carry out projects which are not consistent with local development plans established by State or local government, or local advisory councils.

(k) Termination.—Section 14(a)(2)(B) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.; relating to the termination of advisory committees) shall not apply to the Commission.

SEC. 102. Capitalization of the Commission.

(a) In general.—The Commission shall have capital stock subscribed to by the Government in such amount as the President may determine to be appropriate, to the extent provided in advance in an appropriation Act for any fiscal year.

(b) Certificates.—Certificates evidencing shares of nonvoting capital stock of the Commission shall be issued by the Commission to the President of the United States, or to such other person or persons as the President may designate from time to time, to the extent of payments made for the capital stock of the Commission.

(c) Public debt transaction.—For the purpose of purchasing shares of capital stock of the Commission, the Secretary of the Treasury may use as a public-debt transaction the proceeds of any securities issued under chapter 31 of title 31, United States Code.

(d) Reports.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—The Board shall submit to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget and to the Secretary of the Treasury quarterly reports and an annual report on the expenses of the Commission during the period covered by the report, the financial condition of the Commission as of the end of such period, the results of the Commission’s operations during such period, and the progress made during such period in fulfilling the mission and purposes of the Commission, together with a copy of the Commission’s financial operating plans and forecasts for the annual or quarterly period (as the case may be) succeeding the period covered by the report.

(2) PUBLIC AVAILABILITY.—Each report submitted to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget and to the Secretary of the Treasury under paragraph (1) shall be made available to the public.

(e) Termination of authority To issue stock.—No shares of capital stock of the Commission may be issued after the end of the 10-year period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act.

(f) Revenue used To retire stock.—Any net revenue of the Commission in excess of amounts required to meet on-going expenses and investments shall be paid to the Secretary of the Treasury to redeem the capital stock of the Commission and shall be deposited in the general fund of the Treasury.

SEC. 103. Officers, employees, and other agents of the Commission.

(a) In general.—The Commission may appoint such managers, assistant managers, officers, employees, attorneys, and agents, as are necessary for the transaction of its business, fix their compensation, provide benefits including pension and health care, define their duties, require bonds of such of them as the Commission may designate, and provide a system of organization to fix responsibility and promote efficiency.

(b) Staff.—

(1) EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR.—The Commission shall have an executive director, and hire officers as required. The executive director shall be responsible for overall management of the Commission’s operations, and supervising planning matters including the preparation and amendment of the local project plans, and the assistance to local advisory councils in their completion of local plans.

(2) CHIEF REGULATORY OFFICER.—The Commission shall appoint a chief regulatory officer to supervise the development of regional impact review process. The Commission shall also have a clerk whose duties shall include the keeping of the Commission’s official records.

(c) Staff duties.—The executive director and other officers shall—

(1) coordinate project planning with the relevant Federal, State, regional and municipal authorities, laws and planning processes;

(2) work with State and municipal governments and nonprofit leaders to develop guidelines and regulations for districts of critical planning concern and regional funding priorities;

(3) assist residents and local officials in forming local advisory councils;

(4) assist local advisory councils in developing proposals of priority projects which have not yet been funded by prior Federal assistance for the Gulf Coast Civic Works Projects;

(5) evaluate the adequacy of the respective component of each local recovery plan submitted to the Commission for certification;

(6) monitor and publicly record the progress of each local advisory council in implementing the respective component of its local plan; and

(7) report to the Commission on the progress of each municipality in implementing the respective component of its local comprehensive plan.

(d) Removal.—Any appointee of the Commission may be removed in the discretion of the Commission.

(e) Contracts, salaries, and wages.—No regular officer or employee of the Commission shall receive a salary in excess of that received by the members of the Commission, and—

(1) all contracts to which the Commission is a party and which require the employment of laborers and mechanics in the construction, alteration, maintenance, or repair of buildings, levees, or other projects shall contain a provision that not less than the prevailing rate of wages for work of a similar nature prevailing in the vicinity shall be paid to such laborers or mechanics;

(2) in the event any dispute arises as to what are the prevailing rates of wages, the question shall be referred to the Secretary of Labor for determination, and his decision shall be final. In the determination of such prevailing rate or rates, due regard shall be given to those rates which have been secured through collective agreement by representatives of employers and employees;

(3) where such work as is described in the two preceding paragraphs is done directly by the Commission the prevailing rate of wages shall be paid in the same manner as though such work had been let by contract; and

(4) insofar as applicable, the workers compensation laws of the United States shall extend to persons given employment under the provisions of this Act.

(f) Political tests prohibited in employment.—

(1) APPOINTMENT.—In the appointment of officials and the selection of employees for the Commission, and in the promotion of any such employees or officials, no political test or qualification shall be permitted or given consideration, but all such appointments and promotions shall be given and made on the basis of merit and efficiency. Any member of the Board who is found by the President of the United States to be guilty of a violation of this section shall be removed from office by the President of the United States, and any appointee of the Board who is found by the Board to be guilty of a violation of this section shall be removed from office by the Board.

(2) COMPENSATION.—In the selection of employees for works projects authorized by the Commission, made by an official, employee, or other authorized agent of the Commission, and in the determination of wages or salaries, no political test or qualification shall be permitted or given consideration, but all such selection, hiring, appointments and promotions shall be given and made on the basis of merit and efficiency.

(3) CONTRACTS.—In the authorization of contracts or agreements made or entered into by an official, employee, or other authorized agent of the Commission, and in the determination or rates or terms of payment for such contracts and agreements, no political test or qualification shall be permitted or given consideration, but all such contracts and agreements shall be given and made on the basis of merit, efficiency, and fiscal responsibility.

SEC. 104. Powers of the Commission.

(a) In addition to the regulatory and planning powers contained in this Act, the Commission shall have those powers necessary convenient to carry out the purposes and provisions of this Act, including the following powers:

(1) To sue and be sued, and complain and defend, by and through its own attorneys, in any court of law or equity, State or Federal.

(2) To make use of alternate dispute resolution mechanisms such as negotiation, mediation or arbitration.

(3) To prescribe bylaws that are consistent with law to provide for—

(A) the management and operational structure of the Commission;

(B) the manner in which general operations are to be conducted; and

(C) such other matters as the Commission determines to be appropriate.

(4) To fix the compensation and number of, and appoint, employees for any position established by the Commission.

(5) To apply for and receive Federal and private grants and loans and to expend such funds with the approval of the Commission.

(6) To conduct investigations necessary to ensure compliance with the provisions of the Act.

(7) To negotiate and enter into Civic Works Project agreements as described in sections 106 and 107.

(8) To appoint hearing officers and, where it deems appropriate, to delegate to such hearing officers the responsibility to hold public hearings under this Act and to assemble and report the record for decision by the Commission or its designee and recommend decisions to the Commission or its designee; however, any applicant or party aggrieved, following a hearing by a hearing officer, shall have the right to a public hearing before the Commission in accordance with the provisions of section 103 of this Act.

(9) To recommend to State and municipal agencies appropriate regulations for consistency with the regional policy plan.

(10) To promulgate and amend rules and regulations as appropriate to carry out its responsibilities under this Act.

(11) To appoint advisory boards, councils, subcommittees and panels as it deems appropriate to carry out its responsibilities under this Act.

(12) To recommend public acquisition of specified land areas for preservation or recreational purposes.

(13) To make use of the services of Federal, State, county and local employees as may be available to the Commission to carry out its responsibilities under this Act.

(14) To coordinate its regulatory functions with local, State, and Federal authorities and, where possible and appropriate, to conduct joint hearings with those authorities.

(15) To acquire funds and to manage such funds.

(16) To produce an annual report which will be included in the annual Executive Office report.

(17) To reimburse Commission members for reasonable expenses incurred in connection with their service on the Commission consistent with Department of Homeland Security administrative and budgetary procedures.

(18) To conduct studies in collaboration with local governments, nonprofit organizations, industry organizations, and other State and Federal agencies in order to create regional comprehensive workforce, infrastructure, and environment analysis and development plans.

(19) To assist local governments and community planning organizations in developing local comprehensive plans and, when requested, to assist local governments in carrying out their local planning and regulatory responsibilities.

(20) To review and comment upon local comprehensive plans.

(21) To conduct community outreach and public education.

(22) To conduct an annual public conference on workforce development, infrastructure development, and land use in the Gulf Coast and to invite to such conference any private, local, State, or Federal governmental representatives it deems appropriate.

(23) To make grants to build the capacity of and support capital improvements for community colleges, vocational centers, nonprofit organizations, and other job-training facilities and programs serving the affected region.

(24) To make grants and provide technical assistance to municipalities for use in local planning activities.

(25) To provide technical assistance, administrative support, and compliance training for small businesses and job-training programs serving the affected region.

(26) To establish a process and procedures for participating entities to hire employees, pay wages, and developing capital facilities and developments of regional impact which are necessary to ensure balanced growth.

(27) To purchase or lease and hold such real and personal property as it deems necessary or convenient in the transaction of its business, and may dispose of any such personal property held by it.

(28) To fund the construction of new structures and facilities as necessary for the recovery of the Gulf Coast region.

(29) Coordinate national, State, district, county or municipal programs for the recovery and development of the Gulf Coast region.

(30) Formulate and periodically require reports of progress on all projects; and, where avoidable delay or malfeasance appears, to recommend appropriate measures for eliminating such problems, and, similarly, to recommend the termination of projects for cause.

(31) Prescribe rules and regulations to—

(A) assure that as many of the persons employed on all work projects as is feasible shall be persons residents affected or displaced by hurricanes Katrina or Rita;

(B) utilize and support as many of those individuals, communities, community organizations, faith-based organizations, and businesses within the region as is feasible, including for the provision of child care to the children of working parents;

(C) govern the selection of such participating business and organizations on an open-bid basis;

(D) ensure hiring, planning and implementation adequately involve and look to protect the rights and interests of vulnerable populations, including women, low-income people, people of color, immigrants, the disabled, and the elderly;

(E) develop, conduct, and administer training and assistance programs, in connection with any program under this title, including training and assistance programs for Federal wage requirement compliance, in order that business enterprises with limited capacity may achieve proficiency to compete, on an equal basis, for contracts and subcontracts;

(F) enter into contracts with private contractors, companies, and other public and private entities, in compliance with the hiring, bidding, wage requirements of this Act, to complete public projects;

(G) formulate and administer a system of uniform periodic reports of the employment on such projects of persons, businesses, organizations, and communities from the region; and

(H) investigate wages and working conditions and to make and submit to Congress such findings as will aid Congress in prescribing working conditions, rates of pay, and continuance or development of projects.

(32) To recommend and carry out useful projects designed to assure a maximum of employment and recovery in affected localities.

(b) Notice of hearing.—Whenever the Commission is required to provide notice of a public hearing pursuant to the provisions of this Act, the Commission shall give notice by publication in a newspaper of general circulation throughout the region once in each of two successive weeks, the first publication to be not less than fourteen days before the day of the hearing. Notice shall also be posted in a conspicuous place in the Commission’s offices not less than 14 days before the day of the hearing. Copies of all documents subject to notice and hearing shall be available for public inspection at the Commission’s office during normal business hours.

(c) Termination of contract for cause.—In the case of any service contract between the Commission and any other person, the Commission may terminate such contract for cause, whether by reason of breach of contract, violation of regulations or guidelines of the Commission, or otherwise, or bar any such person from entering into any other contract, after notice and an opportunity for an agency hearing on the record.

(d) Agency authority.—

(1) STATUS.—The Commission in any capacity, shall be an agency of the United States for purposes of section 1345 of title 28, United States Code, without regard to whether the Commission commenced the action.

(2) FEDERAL COURT JURISDICTION.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—All suits of a civil nature at common law or in equity to which the Commission, in any capacity, is a party shall be deemed to arise under the laws of the United States.

(B) REMOVAL.—The Commission may, without bond or security, remove any action, suit, or proceeding from a State court to the appropriate United States district court before the end of the 90-day period beginning on the date the action, suit, or proceeding is filed against the Commission or the Commission is substituted as a party.

(C) APPEAL OF REMAND.—The Commission may appeal any order of remand entered by any United States district court.

(3) SERVICE OF PROCESS.—The Commission shall designate agents upon whom service of process may be made in States comprising the Gulf Coast region and the District of Columbia.

(4) BONDS OR FEES.—The Commission shall not be required to post any bond to pursue any appeal and shall not be subject to payments of any filing fees in United States district courts or courts of appeal.

(e) Real estate and other property.—In order to enable the Commission to exercise the powers and duties vested in it by this Act:

(1) The exclusive use, possession, and control of necessary real estate, together with all facilities connected therewith, and tools, machinery, equipment, accessories, and materials belonging thereto, and all laboratories and plants used as auxiliaries thereto; and all machinery, lands, and buildings in connection therewith, and all appurtenances thereof, and all other property to be acquired by the Commission in its own name or in the name of the United States of America, are hereby entrusted to the Commission for the purposes of the Act.

(2) The President of the United States is authorized to provide for the transfer to the Commission of the use, possession, and control of such other real or personal property of the United States, as he may from time to time deem necessary and proper for the purposes of the Commission as herein stated.

(f) Financial statements and reports.—

(1) The Commission shall at all times maintain complete and accurate accounting of all costs and expenses associated with the holding and management of any asset or liability acquired by the Commission and in carrying out the activities of the Commission under this Act.

(2) The Board shall file with the President and with the Congress, in December of each year, a financial statement and a complete report as to the business of the Commission covering the preceding governmental fiscal year. This report shall include a statement of all costs associated with the Commission and its associated projects, including an itemized statement of the cost of administration, the cost of employee salaries and wages, the cost of materials, and the total number or employees and the names, salaries, and duties of those receiving compensation at the rate of more than $35/hour or $45,000 a year.

(3) The rules of the Office of the Inspector General and the Comptroller General of the United States shall apply to the activities and accounts of the Commission, including the regular oversight and audits of the Commission. In such connection, the Offices of the Inspector General and the Comptroller General, and their authorized agents, shall have free and open access to all papers, books, record, files, accounts, plants, warehouses, offices, and all other things, property and places belonging to or under the control of or used or employed by the Commission, and shall be afforded full facilities for counting all cash and verifying transactions with and balances in depositories.

(g) Reservation of rights and remedies.—The Government of the United States hereby reserved the right, in case of war or national emergency declared by Congress, to take possession of all or any part of the property described or referred to in this Act for the purpose of national security, defense, or for any other purposes; but, if this right is exercised by the Government, it shall pay the reasonable and fair damages that may be suffered by any party whose contract is hereby violated, after the amount of the damages has been fixed by the United States Courts of Claims in proceedings instituted and conducted for that purpose under rules prescribed by the court.

(h) Recommendations and further legislation.—The President shall, from time to time, as the work provided for in the preceding section progresses, recommend to Congress such legislation as he deems proper to carry out the general purposes stated in such section, and for the special purpose of bring about in the Gulf Coast region in conformity with the general purposes—

(1) the physical reconstruction and improvement of the devastated Gulf Coast region;

(2) the improvement of levees and other flood control systems;

(3) the economic and social well-being of the people living in the Gulf Coast Region;

(4) the creation of jobs and job training programs; and

(5) the economic development of the Gulf Coast region.

(i) Local development plans.—

(1) ESTABLISHMENT OF LOCAL ADVISORY COUNCILS.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—

(i) DESIGNATION BY MUNICIPALITIES.—Not later than 30 days after the date of the adoption of a resolution of invitation described in section 101(d)(2), any municipality of over 25,000 people in the affected area may designate an entity to serve in an advisory capacity to the Commission.

(ii) OTHER MUNICIPALITIES.—For any municipality that does not designate an advisory entity under clause (i)—

(I) in each municipality of over 25,000 people in the Gulf Coast Region in which the Commission operates, the Commission shall provide for the establishment of a local advisory council; and

(II) in each municipality under 25,000 in the Gulf Coast Region in which the Commission operates, the Commission shall provide for the establishment of a local advisory council by combining, with the cooperation and consent of such municipalities, multiple municipalities that are, to the maximum extent practicable, located contiguously.

(B) MEMBERSHIP.—Each local advisory council shall consist of such local elected officials (including municipal officials), community groups (such as homeowners and community associations), and other interested, qualified, groups as the Commission may determine to be appropriate. Each local advisory council shall have gender, age, ethnic and racial diversity reflective of the communities they represent, and shall have diverse experience and knowledge representative of the issues related to complete recovery including, but not limited to: coastal restoration, infrastructure, social services, and worker and immigrant rights.

(C) CONSULTATION.—The Commission shall consult with each local advisory council to determine which Civic Works Projects to fund in each municipality. In addition to consultation with each local advisory council, the Commission shall consult with a broad range of local officials and community groups, including those that are not part of the local advisory council. The Commission shall hold public meetings, periodically and in advance of major decisions, in the affected municipality to receive input from the affected communities.

(D) LOCAL ADVISORY COUNCIL ASSESSMENTS.—Each local advisory council shall provide an assessment to the Commission which shall include the following:

(i) Review of the state of recovery and needs in their area, including—

(I) workforce development;

(II) workforce housing;

(III) employment;

(IV) disaster mitigation;

(V) infrastructure and public works, including roads, bridges, water systems, public transportation, schools, hospitals, childcare facilities, police and fire stations, training facilities, and municipal, parish, county and State facilities;

(VI) environmental restoration, including restoring wetlands, barrier islands, watersheds, fisheries, and forests; energy efficiency; art, architecture, and cultural needs; and

(VII) accessibility of work related services like childcare, transit, and healthcare;

(ii) Identification of community assets such as interested governmental, nonprofit, faith-based and private partners including—

(I) workforce intermediaries; identifying workers; helping residents find work and relevant available training opportunities; and identifying existing businesses workforce needs;

(II) training entities; and

(III) local and small and disadvantaged businesses as possible subcontractors on recovery contracts; and

(iii) A list of all known local, small or disadvantaged businesses interested in participating in subcontracting opportunities related to recovery projects to be considered by prime contractors in Civic Works Projects selected under section 106.

(E) PROJECT PROPOSALS.—Local advisory councils shall utilize consultation and assessment to create Civic Works Projects consistent with the purposes of this Act. The creation of Civic Works Projects must include community input through public hearings in the community with opportunity for notice and comment from the affected community.

(F) CIVIC WORKS PROJECT PROPOSALS.—The Commission will review bids submitted by contractors for development projects within the local advisory council’s jurisdiction. Contracts with both subcontractors and prime contractors will be accepted or denied based on the sealed open bid process described in section 107, with priority given to local, small and disadvantaged businesses and businesses that employ local or displaced residents, women, minorities, immigrants, persons with disabilities, and that provide living wages for employees, and have policies for environmental protection and efficient use of energy.

(G) LOCAL OVERSIGHT.—Local advisory councils shall communicate with subcontractors and prime contractors to insure that development projects are being carried out consistent with local development plans, guidelines, and budgets. All contractors must adhere to requirements set forth by the local advisory councils and by the general guidelines set forth by the Commission. The Commission will make available technical support to the local advisory councils to ensure oversight.

(H) LOCAL COORDINATION.—Each local advisory council will coordinate existing community resources including but not limited to Workforce Investment Boards, job training providers, faith-based organizations, and nonprofit organizations to carry out projects under this Act. Where resources or capacity to carry out projects is not available, the local advisory council may apply to the Commission for funding to create new programs, agencies, or services.

(I) PROJECT FUNDING.—After each local advisory council has completed consultation, assessment and identified existing local resources as required by this Act, the local advisory council may apply to the Commission for funding to carry out the proposed project.

(2) LOCAL DEVELOPMENT PLANS.—In executing the redevelopment mandate under this title, the Commission—

(A) shall take into account and comply with any redevelopment plan established by State and local government officials; and

(B) may only solicit bids for such redevelopment that are based on and comply with a plan developed by local governments, if such a plan exists.

SEC. 105. Regional coordination.

(a) Establishment of regional taskforces.—The Commission shall establish regional taskforces as are necessary to carry out the purposes of this Act and ensure local projects provide for regionally coordinated workforce, infrastructure, and sustainable land development along the Gulf Coast.

(b) Purpose of taskforces.—The purpose of a taskforce shall be to examine Civic Works Project funding and ensure local funding priorities help advance long term needs and planning of Federal, State, regional and nongovernmental bodies.

(c) Regional policy plan.—The Commission shall in consultation with local advisory councils, the regional taskforces and any other committee established prepare a regional policy plan for the region which shall be designed to present a coherent set of regional planning policies and objectives to guide development throughout said region and to protect the region’s communities, businesses, and resources, and which shall reflect and reinforce the goals and purposes set out in this Act.

(d) Contents of regional policy plan.—The regional policy plan shall include—

(1) identification of the region’s critical resources and management needs, including its natural, coastal, historical, recreational, cultural, architectural, aesthetic, public infrastructure, workforce, and economic resources, available open space, and available regions for industrial, agricultural, aquacultural and development activity;

(2) a growth policy for the region including guidelines for the protection workers, businesses, and regional resources and the provision of capital facilities necessary to meet current and anticipated needs;

(3) regional goals for the provision of fair, affordable housing, job creation, waste disposal, open space, recreation, coastal resources, capital facilities, economic development, historic preservation, and any other goals deemed appropriate and important by the commission; and

(4) a policy for coordinating regional and local planning efforts, including coordinating planning activities of private parties and local, State, or Federal governmental authorities.

SEC. 106. Sealed open proposal process.

(a) Selection of Civic Works Projects through competitive sealed proposals.—

(1) All Civic Works Projects shall be awarded by competitive sealed proposal except as otherwise provided.

(2) An invitation for proposals shall be issued and shall include a project description, goals, lists of prospective project governmental, nonprofit and private partners and roles and all contractual terms and conditions applicable to the Civic Works Projects.

(3) Adequate public notice of the invitation for proposals shall be given at least fourteen days prior to the date set forth therein for the opening of proposals, pursuant to rules. Such notice may include publication by electronic on-line access or in a newspaper of general circulation at least fourteen days prior to bid opening.

(4) Proposals shall be opened publicly in the presence of one or more witnesses at the time and place designated in the invitation for proposals. The relevant information as may be specified by rules, together with the name of each proposing entity, shall be entered on a record, and the record shall be open to public inspection. After the time of the award, all proposals and proposal documents shall be open to public inspection.

(5) Proposals shall be unconditionally accepted. Proposals shall be evaluated based on the requirements set forth in the invitation for proposals, which may include criteria to determine acceptability, such as inspection, testing, quality, workmanship, delivery, and suitability for a particular purpose. Those criteria that will affect the costs and be considered in the evaluation for award shall be objectively measurable, such as discounts, transportation costs, and total or life-cycle costs.

(6) Withdrawal of inadvertently erroneous bids before the award may be permitted pursuant to rules if the bidder submits proof of evidentiary value which clearly and convincingly demonstrates that an error was made. Except as otherwise provided by rules, all decisions to permit the withdrawal of bids based on such bid mistakes shall be supported by a written determination made by the responsible officer.

(7) The agreement shall be awarded with reasonable promptness by written notice to the proposing entities whose proposals best meet the requirements and criteria set forth in the invitation for proposals.

(b) Solicitation of proposals by electronic on-line access.—The Commission may invite proposals using electronic on-line access, including the internet, for purposes of acquiring contracts for public projects on behalf of the Commission or a Local Advisory Council.

(c) Cancellation of invitations for proposals.—An invitation for bids or any other solicitation may be cancelled or any or all proposals may be rejected in whole or in part as may be specified in the solicitation when it is in the best interests of the Commission. The reasons for any cancellation or rejection shall be made part of the contract file.

(d) Responsibility of proposing entity and offerors.—

(1) A written determination of nonresponsibility of a proposing entity or offeror shall be made pursuant to rules. The unreasonable failure of a proposing entity or offeror to promptly supply information in connection with an inquiry with respect to responsibility may be grounds for a determination of nonresponsibility with respect to such proposing entity or offeror.

(2) Information furnished by a proposing entity or offeror pursuant to this section shall not be disclosed without prior written consent by the bidder or offeror.

(e) Rules and regulations.—The Commission shall promulgate rules and regulations which are designed to implement the provisions of this section. The rules shall include provisions requiring the Commission or Local Advisory Council to keep certain public project records, even if duplicative, in accordance with generally accepted cost accounting principles and standards.

(f) Finality of determinations.—The determinations required are final and conclusive unless they are clearly erroneous, arbitrary, capricious, or contrary to law.

(g) Reporting of anticompetitive practices.—When for any reason collusion or other anticompetitive practices are suspected among any proposing entity or offerors, a notice of the relevant facts shall be transmitted to the Attorney General of the United States or other appropriate authority.

(h) Prohibition of dividing work of public project.—It is unlawful for any person to divide a work of a public project into two or more separate projects for the sole purpose of evading or attempting to evade the requirements of this article.

SEC. 107. Sealed open bid process.

(a) Contracting of Civic Works Projects through competitive sealed bidding.—The following are requirements for the contracting of Civic Works Projects selected under section 106:

(1) All contracts for Civic Works Projects shall be awarded by competitive sealed bidding except as otherwise provided.

(2) An invitation for bids shall be issued and shall include a project description and all contractual terms and conditions applicable to the project.

(3) Adequate public notice of the invitation for bids shall be given at least 14 days prior to the date set forth therein for the opening of bids, pursuant to rules prescribed by the Commission. Such notice may include publication by electronic on-line access or in a newspaper of general circulation at least fourteen days prior to bid opening.

(4) Bids shall be opened publicly in the presence of one or more witnesses at the time and place designated in the invitation for bids. The amount of each bid and such other relevant information as may be specified by rules, together with the name of each bidder, shall be entered on a record, and the record shall be open to public inspection. After the time of the award, all bids and bid documents shall be open to public inspection in accordance with the provisions of title 5 of the United States Code, section 552.

(5) Bids shall be unconditionally accepted. Bids shall be evaluated based on the requirements set forth in the invitation for bids, which may include criteria to determine acceptability, such as inspection, testing, quality, workmanship, delivery, and suitability for a particular purpose. Those criteria that will affect the bid price and be considered in the evaluation for award shall be objectively measurable, such as LEED certification, wages and benefits to employees or subcontractors, percentage of women, and minorities hired, number of residents and displaced residents hired, discounts, transportation costs, and total or life-cycle costs.

(6) Withdrawal of inadvertently erroneous bids before the award may be permitted pursuant to rules if the bidder submits proof of evidentiary value which clearly and convincingly demonstrates that an error was made. Except as otherwise provided by rules, all decisions to permit the withdrawal of bids based on such bid mistakes shall be supported by a written determination made by the responsible officer.

(7) The contract shall be awarded with reasonable promptness by written notice to the low responsible bidder whose bid meets the requirements and criteria set forth in the invitation for bids. In the event that all bids for a construction project exceed available funds, as certified by the appropriate fiscal officer, the responsible officer is authorized, in situations where time or economic considerations preclude re-solicitation of work of a reduced scope, to negotiate an adjustment of the bid price with the low responsible bidder in order to bring the bid within the amount of available funds; except that the functional specifications integral to completion of the project may not be reduced in scope, taking into account the project plan, design, and specifications and quality of materials.

(b) Exceptions.—The requirements described in subsection (a) shall not apply to:

(1) A Civic Works Project for which the agency of government receives no bids or for which all bids have been rejected.

(2) A situation for which the Commission determines it is beneficial to the public good for the Commission to act as the prime contractor and administer the specific Civic Works Project.

(3) A situation for which the Commission determines it is necessary to make emergency procurements or contracts because there exists a threat to public health, welfare, or safety under emergency conditions, but such emergency procurements or contracts shall be made with such competition as is practicable under the circumstances. A written determination of the basis for the emergency and for the selection of the particular contractor shall be included in the contract file.

(4) Nothing in this article shall be construed to affect or limit any additional requirements imposed upon the Commission for awarding contracts for Civic Works Projects.

(c) Solicitation of bids by electronic on-line access.—The Commission may invite bids using electronic on-line access, including the internet, for purposes of acquiring contracts for public projects on behalf of the Commission or a Local Advisory Council.

(d) Cancellation of invitations for bids.—An invitation for bids or any other solicitation may be cancelled or any or all bids or proposals may be rejected in whole or in part as may be specified in the solicitation when it is in the best interests of the Commission. The reasons for any cancellation or rejection shall be made part of the contract file.

(e) Responsibility of bidders and offerors.—

(1) A written determination of nonresponsibility of a bidder or offeror shall be made pursuant to rules. The unreasonable failure of a bidder or offeror to promptly supply information in connection with an inquiry with respect to responsibility may be grounds for a determination of nonresponsibility with respect to such bidder or offeror.

(2) Information furnished by a bidder or offeror pursuant to this section shall not be disclosed without prior written consent by the bidder or offeror.

(f) Prequalification of contractors.—Prospective contractors may be prequalified for particular types of construction, and the method of compiling a list of and soliciting from such potential contractors shall be pursuant to rules to be promulgated by the Commission.

(g) Types of contracts.—Subject to the limitations of this section, any type of contract which will promote the best interests of the agency of government may be used; except that the use of a cost-plus-a-percentage-of-cost contract is prohibited. A cost-reimbursement contract may be used only when a determination is made in writing that such contract is likely to be less costly to the agency of government than any other type of contract or that it is impracticable to obtain the construction required unless the cost-reimbursement contract is used.

(h) Commission To submit cost estimate.—

(1) Whenever the Commission or Local Advisory Council proposes to undertake the construction of a public project reasonably expected to cost less than fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) by any means or method other than by a contract awarded by competitive bid, it shall prepare and submit a cost estimate in the same manner as other bidders; except that, for projects under the supervision of Commission or Local Advisory Councils undertaken by such means or method, the Commission or Local Advisory Council shall prepare a cost estimate. The Commission or Local Advisory Council itself may not undertake the proposed project unless it shows the lowest cost estimate.

(2) In preparing such cost estimate, the Commission or Local Advisory Council shall preserve a full, true, and accurate record of the cost of such project. Such records shall be kept and maintained by the responsible officer on behalf of the Commission or Local Advisory Council. To the extent the Commission or Local Advisory Council contracts with any other Federal, State, or local government agency in connection with a public project, such other agency shall provide all necessary data or information to enable the Commission or Local Advisory Council to document a full, true, and accurate record of the cost of such project, which data or information shall be kept in an orderly manner by the Commission or Local Advisory Council for a period of at least six years after completion of the project. All such records shall be considered public records and shall be made available for public inspection.

(3) The Commission or Local Advisory Councils shall not be required to be bonded when performing the work on a public project.

(i) Rules and regulations.—The Commission shall promulgate rules and regulations which are designed to implement the provisions of this section and section 108. The rules shall include provisions requiring the Commission or Local Advisory Council to keep certain public project records, even if duplicative, in accordance with generally accepted cost accounting principles and standards.

(j) Finality of determinations.—The determinations required are final and conclusive unless they are clearly erroneous, arbitrary, capricious, or contrary to law.

(k) Reporting of anticompetitive practices.—When for any reason collusion or other anticompetitive practices are suspected among any bidders or offerors, a notice of the relevant facts shall be transmitted to the Attorney General of the United States or other appropriate authority.

(l) Prohibition of dividing work of public project.—It is unlawful for any person to divide a work of a public project into two or more separate projects for the sole purpose of evading or attempting to evade the requirements of this article.

SEC. 108. Environmental protection.

(a) Designation of certain areas.—The Commission may propose the designation of certain areas which are of critical value to the region as districts of critical planning concern that must be preserved and maintained due to one or more of the following factors:

(1) the presence of significant natural, coastal, scientific, cultural, architectural, archaeological, historic, economic or recreational resources or values of regional, statewide or national significance;

(2) the presence of substantial areas of sensitive ecological conditions which render the area unsuitable for development; or

(3) the presence or proposed establishment of a major capital public facility or area of public investment.

(b) Standards and criteria.—The Commission may propose standards and criteria specifying the types of development which are likely to present development issues significant to more than one municipality in the Gulf Coast region.

SEC. 201. Purposes.

The purposes of this title shall be—

(1) to create a minimum of 100,000 jobs for Gulf Coast residents and evacuees;

(2) to increase employment in the Gulf Coast region; and

(3) to build a skilled workforce for rebuilding and developing the lands, communities, and infrastructure impacted by hurricanes and flooding in the Gulf Coast region.

SEC. 202. Establishment; contract authority.

(a) Establishment.—The Commission shall establish and administer a Gulf Coast Civic Works Project to implement, manage, and coordinate numerous public works projects for the purposes described in section 201.

(b) Contract authority.—The Gulf Coast Civic Works Project is authorized to enter into such contracts or agreements with States as may be necessary, including provisions for utilization of existing State administrative agencies, and may acquire real property by purchase, donation, condemnation, or otherwise.

SEC. 203. General activities.

The Commission shall carry out the Gulf Coast Civic Works Project established under section 202, which shall include the following activities:

(1) Identifying areas of the Gulf Coast region that are in need of recovery, rebuilding, and development projects.

(2) Cooperating with the local Gulf Coast community once a Civic Works Project request has been received and approved by the Commission, to ensure that Gulf Coast residents and evacuees will be hired by local employers or directly by the Commission to complete the work.

(3) Working in conjunction with local employers on Civic Works Projects and other recovery, rebuilding, and development projects, identify where a shortage of workers who are Gulf Coast residents and evacuees exists, and identify the type of workers necessary for such projects to be more effective and efficient.

(4) Identifying such projects for which there is a shortage of qualified workers who are Gulf Coast residents or evacuee and, in conjunction with State and local workforce investment boards, establish additional job training programs where necessary, including areas where there is a concentration of Gulf Coast evacuees.

(5) Working in conjunction with other Federal, State and local agencies, the private sector and membership based community groups to actively recruit Gulf Coast residents and evacuees to rebuild the Gulf Coast region through Civic Works Projects and other recovery, rebuilding, and development projects.

(6) Assisting Gulf Coast residents and evacuees employed or trained through the Commission to gain access and information to housing programs.

SEC. 204. Job-training partnerships.

(a) Job-training programs.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—From the amounts appropriated under section, the Commission shall, in conjunction with State and local workforce investment boards, community colleges, community-based organizations, schools, and other existing workforce development organizations, support job-training programs in effect at the date of the enactment of this Act or establish job-training programs and apprenticeships in order to recruit and train qualified workers for specific job vacancies in approved Civic Works Projects and other recovery, rebuilding, and development projects.

(2) PRIORITY.—The Commission shall work with the entities identified in paragraph (1) to set up local hiring halls through which Gulf Coast residents, including women and disadvantaged workers, shall have priority in getting admission into the job-training programs described in paragraph (1) and access to child care, if necessary. Such sums so deducted shall remain available until expended.

(b) Capacity-Building Partnerships.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—The Commission may work in partnership with the entities identified in subsection (a)(1) and other public and private nonprofit organizations in order to assist such entities or organizations in carrying out workforce development or job-training programs by—

(A) providing technical assistance necessary and capacity-building support; and

(B) awarding grants in accordance with paragraph (2) to expand the entity’s or organization’s capacity to carry out workforce development or job-training programs, or to create new job-training or workforce development initiatives designated for the purposes of this Act.

(2) AUTHORITY TO ASSIST PUBLIC OR PRIVATE NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—The Commission may make grants to the entities identified in subsection (a)(1) and other public and private nonprofit organizations seeking to work in partnership with the Commission that—

(i) have experience with job-training or workforce development;

(ii) have been in effect at least 1 year prior to submitting an application for a grant under this subsection; and

(iii) meet such other criteria as the Commission may establish.

(B) USE OF FUNDS.—An entity or organization receiving a grant under this subsection may use such grant funds to make subgrants or enter into contracts with other organizations to implement, operate, or expand workforce development or job-training programs as described in subsection (a), or apprenticeship programs which meets the requirements described in section 205 or provide technical assistance and training to Gulf Coast residents and evacuees.

(3) APPLICATION FOR PARTNERSHIP.—

(A) Organizations seeking to work in partnership with the Commission shall submit an application to the Commission, or to such agency as designated by the Commission, outlining the details of—

(i) Civic Works Projects or other recovery, rebuilding, and development project;

(ii) the need for partnership; and

(iii) the need for and intended use of grants or other funds awarded under this title.

(B) The Commission shall set forth application guidelines and procedure for organizations seeking to work in partnership with the Commission.

SEC. 205. Apprenticeship programs.

(a) In general.—Subject to subsection (b), a contract between a contractor, subcontractor, or other employer and the Commission for a Civic Works Project or other recovery, rebuilding, and development project shall contain the following related to apprenticeship programs:

(1) A contract for a project described in this section for which the contract price exceeds $250,000 shall contain a provision stating that the contractor or subcontractor must be approved as a training agent by the Commission, if a program of apprenticeship and training for the apprenticeable occupations used by the contractor or subcontractor exists in the State or local community where the project is being implemented.

(2) A provision stating that at least 20 percent of the total hours worked on a project described in this section by workers in apprenticeable occupations shall be performed by apprentices participating in programs of apprenticeship and training. The workers may be employed by the contractor or any subcontractor on the works project.

(b) Exceptions.—Upon application by an contractor, subcontractor, or employer, the Commission may grant an exception to any or all of the requirements described in subsection (a) in any situation where the Commission concludes that compliance with such requirement would not be possible as the project could not be completed by workers in apprenticeable occupations.

SEC. 206. Job creation.

(a) Employment.—After identifying Civic Works Projects and other recovery, rebuilding, and development projects in the Gulf Coast region the Commission shall work in conjunction with local employers and the heads of other Federal agencies on such projects to recruit and hire additional workers from the Gulf Coast region. In the event that contractors or other employers have a need for but do not have sufficient funding for additional workers, the Commission may to hire for such projects and, from the amounts appropriated under section 211, pay the wages of additional workers to work on such projects.

(b) Project creation.—After identifying areas of the Gulf Coast region that are in need of recovery, rebuilding, and development projects where no such projects exist, the Commission may, subject to available funds, establish and fund such projects. In establishing any project under this subsection, the Commission shall hire all necessary developers, contractors, and employees to carry out such projects.

SEC. 207. First source hiring and outreach.

(a) First Source hiring requirements.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Subject to paragraph (2), any contractor or other employer receiving funds under this Act, including any subcontractor or other entity in a subcontract with any such contractor or employer, shall comply with first source hiring requirements, which shall include—

(A) giving priority to Gulf Coast residents and evacuees when interviewing, recruiting, or hiring for any Civic Works Project or other recovery, rebuilding, and development project by—

(i) unless business necessity requires a shorter period of time, leaving open a position for not less than 25 days to give such residents and such evacuees an opportunity to interview for such position; or

(ii) filling its first available positions with such residents and such evacuees; and

(B) providing timely, appropriate notification of available positions to the Commission so that the Commission may train and refer an adequate pool of Gulf Coast residents and evacuees to contractors or other employers.

(2) EXCEPTION.—Upon application by a contractor or other employer, the Commission may grant an exception to any of all of the requirements in any situation where it concludes that compliance with this subsection would not be possible in the timeframe provided.

(b) Outreach partnerships.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—The Commission shall work with the heads of Federal agencies, as well as State and local employment offices to conduct outreach to Gulf Coast residents and evacuees regarding employment in the Gulf Coast region, including which contractors and other employers are required to comply with first source hiring requirements. The Commission shall also contract with community groups, faith groups, and nonprofit organizations with connections to local communities in the Gulf Coast region to—

(A) conduct outreach to Gulf Coast residents and evacuees;

(B) work with contractors and other employers to identify interested candidates outside of the Gulf Coast region who wish to work in the region and enter job-training programs, if necessary, to work in the region; and

(C) set up local hiring halls described in subsection (c).

(2) LIMITED-ENGLISH PROFICIENCY COMMUNITIES.—The outreach conducted by the Commission under paragraph (1) shall include outreach to limited-English proficiency communities through multilingual meetings, translated flyers, outreach to ethnic medias, and other outlets. The Commission shall work with organizations servicing limited-English proficiency communities to set up first source hiring hall as described in subsection (c) and to assist contractor and other employers in the Gulf Coast region in recruiting and hiring limited-English proficiency workers.

(c) Local hiring halls.—The Commission shall also contract with community groups, faith groups, and nonprofit organizations, as well as the entities identified in section 204(a)(1), with connections to local communities in the Gulf Coast region to set-up a central location or multiple locations (which may be referred to as “local hiring halls”) in each community of the Gulf Coast region where—

(1) contractors and other employers receiving funding under this Act may recruit, interview, or hire Gulf Coast residents or evacuees for any Civic Works Project or other recovery, rebuilding, and development project; and

(2) Gulf Coast residents or evacuees may be provided access to child care while seeking employment or working.

SEC. 208. Wages.

(a) Job training and apprenticeship wages.—

(1) JOB TRAINING WAGES.—Job training programs established or funded under this Act shall ensure that trainees are paid in an amount of not less than $10 per hour.

(2) APPRENTICESHIP WAGES.—Apprenticeship programs established or funded under this Act shall ensure that apprentices are paid not less than $15 per hour.

(3) ADJUSTMENT FOR INFLATION.—Beginning 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act and each year thereafter, the minimum wages specified in paragraphs (1) and (2) shall be adjusted by the percentage increase during the 12-month period ending the preceding June in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers published by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics of the Department of Labor.

(b) Employee wages.—The Commission shall ensure that all laborers and mechanics employed by the Commission or by contractors or subcontractors in the performance of construction or recovery projects will be paid wages at rates not less than those prevailing on similar work in the locality as determined by the Secretary of Labor in accordance with subchapter IV of chapter 31 of part A of subtitle II of title 40, United States Code (commonly referred to as the “Davis-Bacon Act”).

SEC. 209. Other projects.

(a) Infrastructure and Public Works Development.—In addition to the other activities described in this title, the Commission shall establish or coordinate infrastructure projects in accordance with local and regional comprehensive plans.

(b) Environmental Restoration.—In addition to the other activities described in this title, the Commission shall establish or coordinate environmental restoration projects.

(c) Civic Conservation Corps.—In addition to the other activities described in this title, the Commission shall establish a conservation corps composed of individuals between the age of 17 and 24, focus on wetland restoration, forestation, and urban greenery.

(d) Energy Efficiency and Conservation.—In addition to the other activities described in this title, the Commission shall establish or coordinate projects to establish or coordinate projects—

(1) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions created as a result of activities within the jurisdictions of eligible entities in a manner that—

(A) is environmentally sustainable; and

(B) to the maximum extent practicable, maximizes benefits for local and regional communities;

(2) to reduce the total energy use of the eligible entities; and

(3) to improve energy efficiency in—

(A) the transportation sector;

(B) the building sector; and

(C) other appropriate sectors.

(e) Workforce Housing.—In addition to the other activities described in this title, the Commission shall establish or coordinate housing improvement projects to assist workers in finding affordable housing.

(f) Supplemental Services.—In addition to the other activities described in this title, the Commission shall establish or coordinate existing social service resources, including childcare and transportation services, as are necessary to ensure employment, training, and projects under this Act are carried out effectively and efficiently.

(g) Youth Works Program.—In addition to other activities described in this title, the Commission shall establish or coordinate existing resource for a Youth Employment Program, particularly for disadvantaged, at risk, and out-of-school youth between the ages of 12–19 years old, to provide summer and after school employment or skills training opportunities.

(h) Arts, Culture, Historical Restoration and Heritage.—In addition to the other activities described in this title, the Commission is authorized to provide grants for projects that reflect, promote, or maintain the architectural, artistic and cultural heritage of the affected region, including the chronicling of stories surrounding the 2005 and 2008 Hurricanes.

(i) Gulf coast artists grants.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—The Commission may provide not more than 15 grants per year to eligible recipients for artistic and cultural projects which reflect, document, or preserve the history and culture of the Gulf Coast region. Grants shall be provided on the basis of the demonstrated merit of the applicant as determined by the Commission.

(2) ELIGIBLE RECIPIENTS.—To be eligible to receive a grant under paragraph (1), an individual shall—

(A) be a resident of the Gulf Coast region; and

(B) have demonstrated skill or talent in music, theater, writing, or the visual arts.

(3) AMOUNT OF GRANT.—The amount of the grants provided under this subsection shall be determined by the Commission.

(4) APPLICATION.—To receive a grant under this subsection, an eligible recipient shall submit an application to the Commission in such form and manner as the Commission shall determine.

(5) USE OF GRANT FUNDS.—A grant provided under this subsection shall be used on an artistic project that—

(A) showcases the history or culture of the Gulf Coast region; or

(B) has as its subject the effects of Hurricanes Katrina or Rita.

(j) Chronicle of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita grants.—

(1) AUTHORIZATION.—The Commission may to provide not more than 5 grants to an eligible recipient for projects that chronicle the story of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Grants shall be provided on the basis of the demonstrated merit of the applicant as determined by the Commission.

(2) ELIGIBLE RECIPIENTS.—To be eligible to receive a grant under paragraph (1), an individual shall—

(A) be a resident of the Gulf Coast region; and

(B) have demonstrated skill or talent as a writer or film maker.

(3) AMOUNT OF GRANT.—The amount of the grants provided under this section shall be determined by the Commission.

(4) APPLICATION.—To receive a grant under this section, an eligible recipient shall submit an application to the Commission in such form and manner as the Commission shall determine.

(5) USE OF GRANT FUNDS.—A grant provided under this section shall be used on a project that chronicles, through the written word or through film, the story of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita from the perspective of survivors and evacuees.

SEC. 210. General provisions and guidelines.

In conducting works projects under this title, the Commission shall adhere to the following rules and guidelines:

(1) All public works projects shall be conducted in, and be for the benefit of, the lands of the Gulf Coast region, and the individuals, families, communities, and businesses of the Gulf Coast region.

(2) The Gulf Coast Civic Works Project shall employ a minimum of 100,000 Gulf Coast region residents and evacuees for all works programs and other related job opportunities.

(3) The Gulf Coast Civic Works Project shall make job opportunities, job training programs, and other beneficial projects known to the Gulf Coast communities through advertising and partnerships with regional agencies and employment organizations, and partnerships with community based organizations.

(4) Whenever possible, the Gulf Coast Civic Works Project shall purchase materials, equipment, supplies, and services from local business and producers.

(5) The Gulf Coast Civic Works Project shall maintain nondiscriminatory practices and shall not discriminate in hiring or employment decisions on the basis of race, gender, nationality, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation.

(6) No employee or trainee of the Gulf Coast Civic Works Project shall have financial interest in any public Commission engaged in business with the Gulf Coast Civic Works Project, nor in any Commission engaged in the manufacture, selling, or distribution of goods or materials used in construction projects authorized by the Commission, nor shall any employee or trainee have any interest in a any business that may be adversely affected by the success of the Commission.

(7) Employees and trainees of the Gulf Coast Civic Works Project shall not be considered Federal employees for any purpose under the laws of the United States.

SEC. 211. Authorization of appropriations.

(a) Authorization of appropriations.—There is authorized to be appropriated to the Commission such sums as may be necessary for fiscal years 2010 through 2014 to carry out this Act.

(b) Partnerships.—The Commission shall make every effort to partner with State and local governments and private industry in the funding and administration of projects under this title.