The second regular session of the 121st South Carolina General Assembly began on January 12, 2016. As this the second year of a two- year session any bill not passed this year will have to start over next session. With this in mind the engineering community has a lot to accomplish.
The main legislation the engineering community is working on is S.685/H.3928. These are the Engineering and Surveying Practice Act bills. These bills were introduced last year, and are currently assigned to the Senate and House Labor Commerce and Industry Committees.
The bulk of these bills are just updating the Practice act. S.685/H.3928 specify the procedures for procuring professional services by political subdivisions, ends brokering of engineering and surveying services, as well as protects the term Engineer to mean a professional engineer. ACEC-SC/SCSPE lobbyist Joe and Adam Jones are working with members and staff of the L.C.I. Committees to get the bills to move this year.
Engineers are also concerned with infrastructure funding. Last year the house introduced and passed House Bill 3579, the South Carolina Infrastructure Finance Reform and Tax Relief Act, and sent the bill to the Senate. The Governor has said she will veto any bill that does not give tax payers relief by raising the gas tax and that does not have SCDOT “reform”. Getting all the moving parts has not been easy. In the Senate the bill is being dealt with in two committees. The pricing portion is in the Senate Finance Committee, while the SCDOT reform portion is in the Senate Transportation Committee. Both committees met at length the week of January 29th, but it is still not sure if the Senate will be able to pass a transportation bill. It is the opinion of ACEC-SC and SCSPE that it may be time to turn up our grassroots efforts to let the legislature know that the citizens of South Carolina expect an infrastructure bill to move this year.
Other bills for engineers to pay attention to are S.408/H.4661. These bills deal with the procurement of piping materials. The bills give a preference to PVC piping. It is ACEC-SC/SCSPE’s opinion that the engineer in charge should have the final say in materials when stamping a design.
In order to move or stop legislation we will be calling on our members to answer calls to action. We will keep you informed as the legislative session continues.