Joe S. Jones
Through our off season legislative visits, with engineers and surveyors have been carrying the theme for the Practice Act – “Please pass the Practice Act (S.685/H.3928) as introduced.” However, from the Senate Labor Commerce and Industry Subcommittee hearing held in May, we knew there were three areas of concern based upon testimony at the hearing.
Two groups testified against parts of the practice act: the QBS section, the brokering section and the term engineer.
The ACEC-SC, ASCE-SC, SCSPE and SCSPLS Executive Committees met Nov. 24 to address these concerns. After lengthy discussion, the group realized the vulnerability of each issue, and addressed possible remedies, amendments and tactics. But, all the groups agreed to stay the course and move forward supporting the Practice Act as written, knowing there is opposition for these three sections.
At this time the engineering and surveying communities do not have an amendment to offer.
Given the information above, the group agreed to stay the course and support the QBS language while looking to see if alternate language may be found that would make the issue more compatible.
SCSPLS representatives made a strong case to keep the brokering section in the bill. Legislators haven’t been given good explanations of the problem. The group agreed to continue supporting the brokering section and try to do a better job of explaining the need.
On the term engineer, a possible amendment might be considered. The amendment could read: “Engineer is an engineering graduate of an EAC/ABET College of Engineering.” This change maybe acceptable to legislators but probably not to Carolinas AGC because they want to call personnel engineers that may not have a degree. This possible language is a step away from our strong position now. Also, according to the NCEES website 27 states protect the term engineer.
However, this language compromise would maintain the other protected terms including professional engineer, licensed engineer and registered engineer. This amendment would be a last choice; the group agreed to continue to protect the term engineer as the law currently does.
We plan to continue asking engineers to come to the State House on Wednesdays to meet their legislators and help secure support for the Practice Act and provide permanent funding for the state’s roads and bridges. The goal is to pass the Practice Act this session.