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H.R. 4048 (110th): Gulf Coast Civic Works Act

The text of the bill below is as of Nov 1, 2007 (Introduced).


I

110th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 4048

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

November 1, 2007

(for herself, Mr. Taylor, and Mr. Melancon) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Education and Labor

A BILL

To establish the Gulf Coast Recovery Authority to administer a Gulf Coast Civic Works Project to provide job-training opportunities and increase employment to aid in the recovery of the Gulf Coast region.

1.

Short title

(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.

Sec. 2. Purposes.

Sec. 3. Definitions.

Title I—THE GULF COAST RECOVERY AUTHORITY

Sec. 101. Establishment of corporation.

Sec. 102. Board of directors.

Sec. 103. Capitalization of the corporation.

Sec. 104. Officers, employees, and other agents of the corporation.

Sec. 105. Powers of the corporation.

Title II—THE GULF COAST CIVIC WORKS PROJECT

Sec. 201. Purpose statement.

Sec. 202. Establishment.

Sec. 203. General Activities.

Sec. 204. Job training programs.

Sec. 205. Job creation.

Sec. 206. Wages.

Sec. 207. General provisions and guidelines.

Sec. 208. Gulf Coast Artists grants.

Sec. 209. Chronicle of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita grants.

Sec. 210. Funding.

2.

Purposes

It is the purpose of this Act to—

(1)

establish a Federal authority to implement the necessary government response to the disaster experienced in the Gulf Coast region;

(2)

provide a minimum of 100,000 jobs and financial security to those whose livelihood has been affected by the devastation of the Gulf Coast region;

(3)

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

(4)

rebuild homes, public infrastructure and community resources, restoring lives and faith in the Federal government;

(5)

ensure quality living conditions by providing workers with fair wages;

(6)

encourage individuals to move from unemployment to work, and from homelessness to home-ownership;

(7)

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

(8)

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

3.

Definitions

As used in this Act, the term Gulf Coast region means the areas of Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, and Alabama that were devastated by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

I

THE GULF COAST RECOVERY AUTHORITY

101.

Establishment of corporation

(a)

In general

There is hereby established a body corporate by the name of the Gulf Coast Recovery Authority (in this Act referred to as the Corporation).

(b)

Status of corporation

The Corporation shall be an independent establishment in the executive branch and shall be deemed to be an agency of the United States for purposes of subchapter II of chapter 5 and chapter 7 of title 5, United States Code.

(c)

Board of directors

The Board of Directors first appointed shall be deemed the incorporators, and the incorporation shall be held to have been effected from the date of the first meeting of the Board.

(d)

Principle office

The principal office of the Corporation shall be located in the State of Louisiana, but 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 Corporation.

(e)

Property Owners’ Rights and Protections

(1)

No authority to exercise eminent domain

The Corporation shall have no authority to acquire interests in property by eminent domain.

(2)

Local invitation

Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, the Corporation may take no action in any municipality unless the local government of such municipality has adopted a resolution of invitation for the Corporation’s assistance.

102.

Board of directors

(a)

Board of directors

(1)

In general

The management of the Gulf Coast Recovery Authority shall be vested in a Board of Directors, (referred to in this Act as the Board), consisting of 7 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 who, by virtue of their education, training or experience in environmental land reclamation, economic development, housing development, land use, or urban planning, are especially qualified to serve on the Board.

(2)

Nominations by governor of Louisiana

Two members of the Board 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, at least one of whom shall be from a non-profit organization and one of whom shall be a leader in the private sector.

(3)

Nominations by governor of Mississippi

Two members of the Board 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, of whom 1 shall be from a non-profit community based organization and 1 shall be a leader in the private sector.

(4)

Nominations by governor of Alabama

One member of the Board 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, whom shall be from a non-profit community based organization.

(5)

Nominations by governor of Texas

One member of the Board 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, whom shall be from a non-profit community based organization.

(6)

Political Party affiliation

Not more than 4 members of the Board may be affiliated with any 1 political party.

(b)

Chairperson and Vice Chairperson

(1)

Chairperson

One of the 4 members of the Board who were not nominated by the Governor of Louisiana and the Governor of Mississippi shall be designated by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to serve for a term of 2 years as Chairperson of the Board and the chief executive officer of the Corporation.

(2)

Vice chairperson

One of the 4 members of the Board who were not nominated by the Governor of Louisiana and the Governor of Mississippi shall be designated by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to serve for a term of 2 years as Vice Chairperson of the Board.

(3)

Acting chairperson

In the event of a vacancy in the position of Chairperson of the Board or during the absence or disability of the Chairperson, the Vice Chairperson shall act as Chairperson.

(c)

Term of Office

(1)

In general

Each member of the Board shall be appointed to a term of 5 years.

(2)

Staggered terms

Of the members first appointed to the Board after the date of the enactment of this Act—

(A)

2 shall be appointed for a term of 5 years;

(B)

the 4 members who were nominated by the Governor of Louisiana and the Governor of Mississippi shall be appointed for a term of 3 years; and

(C)

2 shall be appointed for a term of 2 years.

(3)

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.

(4)

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.

(5)

Removal for cause

The Chairperson, Vice Chairperson, and any appointed member may be removed by the President for cause.

(6)

Full-time service

The members of the Board shall serve on a full-time basis.

(d)

Vacancy

Any vacancy on the Board shall be filled in the manner in which the original appointment was made, provided:

(1)

Any member appointed to fill a vacancy in the Board occurring prior to the expiration of the term for which his predecessor was appointed shall be appointed for the remainder of such term.

(2)

Vacancies in the Board so long as there shall be three members in office shall not impair the powers of the Board to execute the functions of the Corporation, and three of the members in office shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of the business of the Board.

(e)

Ineligibility for Other Offices

(1)

Other government positions

No person may serve as a member of the Board 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 Board 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 Corporation; 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 Corporation.

(3)

Certification

Upon taking office, each member of the Board shall certify under oath that such member has complied with this subsection and such certification shall be filed with the secretary of the Board.

(f)

Clarification of Nonliability

(1)

In general

A director, member, officer, or employee of the Corporation 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 Corporation. 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 Corporation, 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.

103.

Capitalization of the corporation

(a)

In General

The Corporation shall have capital stock subscribed to by the United States 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 Corporation shall be issued by the Corporation 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 Corporation.

(c)

Public Debt Transaction

For the purpose of purchasing shares of capital stock of the Corporation, 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 Corporation during the period covered by the report, the financial condition of the Corporation as of the end of such period, the results of the Corporation’s operations during such period, and the progress made during such period in fulfilling the mission and purposes of the Corporation, together with a copy of the Corporation’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 Corporation 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 Corporation 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 Corporation and shall be deposited in the general fund of the Treasury.

104.

Officers, employees, and other agents of the corporation

(a)

In General

The Board shall 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 Board may designate, and provide a system of organization to fix responsibility and promote efficiency.

(b)

Removal

Any appointee of the Board may be removed in the discretion of the Board.

(c)

Contracts, Salaries, and Wages

No regular officer or employee of the Corporation shall receive a salary in excess of that received by the members of the Board, and—

(1)

all contracts to which the Corporation 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 Corporation 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.

(d)

Political tests prohibited in employment

(1)

Appointment

In the appointment of officials and the selection of employees for the Corporation, 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 Corporation, made by an official, employee, or other authorized agent of the Corporation, 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 Corporation, 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.

105.

Powers of the corporation

(a)

Powers

The Corporation shall be a body corporate that shall have the power to—

(1)

adopt, alter, and use a corporate seal;

(2)

provide for such other officers and employees as may be necessary to perform the functions of the Corporation, define their duties, and require surety bonds or make other provisions against losses occasioned by acts of such persons;

(3)

fix the compensation and number of, and appoint, employees for any position established by the Corporation, without regard to the provisions of chapter 51 or subchapter III of chapter 53 of title 5;

(4)

sue and be sued, and complain and defend, by and through its own attorneys, in any court of law or equity, State or Federal;

(5)

with the consent of any executive agency, department, or independent agency utilize the information, services, staff, and facilities of such department or agency, on a reimbursable (or other) basis, in carrying out this section;

(6)

prescribe, by the Board, bylaws that are consistent with law to provide for—

(A)

the management and operational structure of the Corporation, subject to sections 101 (e) and 102;

(B)

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

(C)

such other matters as the Board determines to be appropriate;

(7)

enter into contracts and modify or consent to the modification of any contract or agreement;

(8)

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;

(9)

contract with commercial producers for the production of such materials as may be needed in the Government’s program of recovery and development. Such contracts may provide either for outright purchase of materials by the Board or only for the payment of carrying charges on special materials manufactures at the Board’s request for its program;

(10)

make alterations, modifications, or improvements in existing structures and facilities, and to construct new structures and facilities as necessary for the recovery of the Gulf Coast region;

(11)

coordinate national, State, district, county or municipal programs for the recovery and development of the Gulf Coast region;

(12)

request the assistance and advice of any officer, agent, or employee of any executive department or of any independent office of the United States, to enable the Corporation the better to carry out its powers successfully, and as far as practicable shall utilize the services of such officers agents, and employees an the President shall if in his opinion, the public interest, service, or economy so require, direct that such assistance, advice, and service be rendered to the Corporation, and any individual that may be by the President directed to render such assistance, advice, and service shall be thereafter subject to the orders, rules, and regulations of the Board;

(13)

establish and oversee Regional Operating Authorities as are necessary to develop and coordinate the Gulf Coast Civic Works Project, and to carry out other local initiatives and Federal programs;

(14)

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 where it develops that they are not affording the amount of employment warranting their continuance;

(15)

prescribe rules and regulations to—

(A)

assure that as many of the persons employed on all work projects as is feasible shall be persons initially affected by job loss in the region;

(B)

utilize and support as many of those individuals, communities, community organizations and businesses within the region as is feasible;

(C)

govern the selection of such persons for employment;

(D)

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

(E)

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

(F)

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; and

(16)

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

(b)

Termination of Contract for Cause

In the case of any service contract between the Corporation and any other person, the Corporation may terminate such contract for cause, whether by reason of breach of contract, violation of regulations or guidelines of the Corporation, 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.

(c)

Agency Authority

(1)

Status

The Corporation, in any capacity, shall be an agency of the United States for purposes of section 1345 of title 28 without regard to whether the Corporation 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 Corporation, in any capacity, is a party shall be deemed to arise under the laws of the United States.

(B)

Removal

The Corporation 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 Corporation or the Corporation is substituted as a party.

(C)

Appeal of remand

The Corporation may appeal any order of remand entered by any United States district court.

(3)

Service of process

The Board 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 Corporation 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.

(d)

Real Estate and Other Property

In order to enable the Corporation 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 Corporation in its own name or in the name of the United States of America, are hereby entrusted to the Corporation for the purposes of the Act.

(2)

The President of the United States is authorized to provide for the transfer to the Corporation 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 Corporation as herein stated.

(e)

Financial Statements and Reports

(1)

The Corporation 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 Corporation and in carrying out the activities of the Corporation 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 Corporation covering the preceding governmental fiscal year. This report shall include a statement of all costs associated with the Corporation 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 Corporation, including the regular oversight and audits of the Corporation. 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 Corporation, and shall be afforded full facilities for counting all cash and verifying transactions with and balances in depositories.

(f)

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, it 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.

(g)

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.

(5)

The economic development of the Gulf Coast region.

(h)

Appropriations and Authorization

(1)

All appropriations necessary to carry out the provisions of this Act are hereby authorized.

(2)

For the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this Act 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 the Gulf Coast Civic Works Project, or the head of any department of agency authorized by him to construct any project or to carry on any such public works, shall be authorized to acquire real property by purchase, donation, condemnation, or otherwise.

(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(e)(2), any municipality of over 25,000 people in the affected area may designate an entity to serve in an advisory capacity to the Corporation.

(ii)

Other municipalities

For any municipality that does not designate an advisory entity under clause (i), the Corporation shall provide for the establishment of a local advisory council in each municipality of over 25,000 people in the Gulf Coast Region in which the Corporation operates.

(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 Corporation may determine to be appropriate.

(C)

Consultation

Local advisory council will consult with the Corporation to determine works projects of the Corporation in their municipality. The Corporation shall also ensure that its consultations involve a broad range of local officials and community groups, including those that are not part of the formal advisory council. The Corporation shall hold public meetings, periodically and in advance of major decisions, in the affected municipality to receive input from the affected communities.

(2)

Local development plans

In executing the redevelopment mandate under this title, the Corporation—

(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.

II

THE GULF COAST CIVIC WORKS PROJECT

201.

Purpose statement

The purpose of this title shall be to create a minimum of 100,000 jobs for Gulf Coast residents and evacuees and increase employment in the Gulf Coast region, and to build a skilled workforce for the rebuilding and developing the lands, communities, and infrastructure impacted by hurricanes and flooding in the Gulf Coast region.

202.

Establishment

The Corporation established under title I shall establish and administer a Gulf Coast Civic Works Project to implement, manage, and coordinate numerous useful public works projects for the purpose of rebuilding, sustaining, and developing the Gulf Coast region.

203.

General Activities

The Corporation shall conduct the following activities:

(1)

Identify areas of the Gulf Coast region that are in need of recovery, rebuilding, and development projects.

(2)

Cooperate with the local Gulf Coast community once a request has been received and approved by the Corporation, to ensure that Gulf Coast residents and evacuees will be hired by local employers or directly by the Corporation to complete the work.

(3)

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

(4)

Work 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 the identified projects.

(5)

Identify projects for which there is a shortage of qualified workers who are Gulf Coast residents or evacuees and facilitate job training programs.

(6)

Where such a shortage exists, participate in existing job training programs, 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.

(7)

Assist Gulf Coast residents and evacuees employed or trained through the Corporation to gain access and information to housing programs.

204.

Job training programs

(a)

Cooperation

The Corporation shall, in conjunction with State and local workforce investment boards, establish job training programs and apprenticeships where necessary in order to recruit and train qualified workers for specific vacancies in recovery, rebuilding, and development projects. The Corporation shall have as a priority the recruitment of individuals who reside in the locality where the projects exist. The Corporation shall work with community based organizations to set up first source hiring halls through which Gulf Coast residents shall have priority in getting into job training programs.

(b)

Wages

(1)

In general

Job training or apprenticeship programs established or funded under this Act shall ensure that trainees are paid in an amount of not less than $10 per hour, and that apprentices are paid not less than $15.

(2)

Adjustment for inflation

Beginning one year after the date of enactment of this Act and each year thereafter, the minimum wages specified in paragraph (1) 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 Statistics of the Department of Labor.

205.

Job creation

(a)

Employment

After identifying recovery, rebuilding, and development projects and employment in other areas in the Gulf Coast region the Corporation shall work in conjunction with local employers and other Federal agencies on such projects to recruit and hire additional workers from the Gulf Coast region. In the event that employers have a need for but do not have sufficient funding for additional workers, the Corporation shall be permitted to hire and 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 Corporation may, subject to available funds, establish and fund such projects. In establishing any project under this subsection, the Corporation shall hire all necessary developers, contractors, and employees to carry out such projects.

(c)

Conservation corps

In addition to the other activities described in this title, the Corporation shall establish a conservation corps composed of individuals between the age of 17 and 24, who have received a high school diploma or the equivalent, to focus on wetland restoration, forestation, and urban greenery.

(d)

First source hiring

(1)

Any contractor receiving Federal funds under this Act shall comply with first source hiring agreements for interviewing, recruitment, and hiring in order to initially provide displaced residents and residents from the disaster area with consideration for employment. The duration of the first source interviewing requirement shall be 25 days, unless business necessity requires a shorter period of time. A contractor may establish its good faith efforts by filling its first available positions with job applicants obtained through the first source hiring procedures.

(2)

Any contractor receiving Federal funds under this Act shall comply with requirements for providing timely, appropriate notification of available positions to the Corporation so that the Corporation may train and refer an adequate pool of residents from the disaster area to participating employers.

(e)

Outreach partnerships

The Corporation shall work with Federal agencies, especially the Federal Emergency Management Agency, as well as State and local employment offices to make available positions known.

(f)

Local Hiring Halls

The Corporation shall contract with community groups, faith groups, and nonprofit organizations with with connections to local communities to recruit displaced families to conduct outreach to workers displaced from the Gulf Coast, and work with contractors to identify interested candidates outside of the region who wish to return to work and if necessary enter training programs.

(g)

Hiring Decisions

Any contractor receiving Federal funds under this Act shall make the final determination of whether a resident from the disaster area is qualified for the position.

(h)

Exceptions

Upon application by employer, the Corporation may grant an exception to any of all of the requirements in any situation where it concludes that compliance with this section would not be possible in the timeframe provided.

(i)

Subcontracts

Any subcontract entered into by any contractor receiving Federal funds under this Act shall require the subcontractor to comply with the requirements of and shall contain contractual obligations substantially the same as those set forth in this section.

206.

Wages

The Corporations shall ensure that all laborers and mechanics employed by the Corporation 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).

207.

General provisions and guidelines

In conducting works projects under this title, the Corporation 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 non-discriminatory 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 corporation engaged in business with the Gulf Coast Civic Works Project, nor in any corporation engaged in the manufacture, selling, or distribution of goods or materials used in construction projects authorized by the corporation, nor shall any employee or trainee have any interest in a any business that may be adversely affected by the success of the Corporation.

(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.

208.

Gulf Coast Artists grants

(a)

Authorization

The Corporation is authorized to provide not more than 15 grants per year to eligible recipients for artistic and cultural projects which reflect 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 Corporation.

(b)

Eligible recipients

To be eligible to receive a grant under subsection (a), an individual shall—

(1)

be a resident of the Gulf Coast region; and

(2)

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

(c)

Amount of grant

The amount of the grants provided under this section shall be determined by the Corporation.

(d)

Application

To receive a grant under this section, an eligible recipient shall submit an application to the Corporation in such form and manner as the Corporation shall determine.

(e)

Use of grant funds

A grant provided under this section shall be used on an artistic project that—

(1)

showcases the history or culture of the Gulf Coast region; or

(2)

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

209.

Chronicle of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita grants

(a)

Authorization

The Corporation is authorized to provide not more than 5 grants to eligible recipients 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 Corporation.

(b)

Eligible recipients

To be eligible to receive a grant under subsection (a), an individual shall—

(1)

be a resident of the Gulf Coast region; and

(2)

have demonstrated skill or talent as a writer or filmmaker.

(c)

Amount of grant

The amount of the grants provided under this section shall be determined by the Corporation.

(d)

Application

To receive a grant under this section, an eligible recipient shall submit an application to the Corporation in such form and manner as the Corporation shall determine.

(e)

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.

210.

Funding

(a)

Authorization of Appropriations

There is authorized to be appropriated to the Corporation such sums as may be necessary for fiscal years 2008 through 2012 to carry out this title, provided that 3/4 of 1 percent of authorized funding be allocated for job training and workforce development.

(b)

Partnerships

The Corporation shall make every effort to partner with State and local governments and private industry in the funding and administration of projects under this title.