November 5, 2014
The morning after the midterm election, one fact is certain: Republicans had a huge night. As some races have still not yet been called, we don't quite have the full picture. However, with the GOP reclaiming the Senate by a wider-than-expected margin, picking up over a dozen seats in the House and making sweeping gains in gubernatorial races and state legislatures, the political landscape is markedly different than it was yesterday. Simply put, this election ended up being a blowout at both the federal and state levels and there will be major repercussions.
October 1, 2014
With the 2014 midterm congressional elections only a month away, NSPE-PAC is diligently working to ensure that this election is a success for professional engineers. Recent recipients of NSPE-PAC contributions include Rep. Sam Graves, R-MO (leading figure on federal procurement policy and infrastructure), Rep. Joe Kennedy, D-MA (leading cosponsor of Educating Tomorrow’s Engineers Act), Rep. Bill Shuster, R-PA (Chairman of House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee), Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-IL (primary sponsor of annual Engineers Week Resolution), and Pennsylvania state representative Brendan Boyle, D-PA (worked closely with Pennsylvania Society of Professional Engineers during his tenure).
September 29, 2014
On September 29, NSPE President Harve Hnatiuk, P.E., F.NSPE, sent a letter to the Pennsylvania House Committee on Professional Licensure to comment on a bill (HB 1447) that could repeal Pennsylvania’s industrial exemption. The bill is set to be heard by the committee on October 8. Hnatiuk wrote: “This hearing presents an opportunity to address the need to amend P.L. 913, No. 367, to remove exemptions from licensure and regulation that allow unlicensed individuals to engage in the practice of engineering that could impact the public health, safety and welfare…. NSPE recommends the phasing out of existing industrial exemptions in state licensing laws.” Read the complete letter.
September 15, 2014
On September 15, NSPE as part of the Coalition for National Science Funding, sent a letter to the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee supporting Chairman Rockefeller’s recent introduction of legislation to reauthorize the America COMPETES Act for five years. In particular, NSPE commends this bill’s acknowledgment of the importance of the National Science Foundation (NSF) and its commitment to sustained investment in all fields of engineering. To learn more, read the full statement.
September 10, 2014
On September 10, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement issued a call for comments regarding paperwork requirements. Section 416 (g) (2) states:
“Submit evidence that demonstrates that the Registered Professional Engineer/firm has the expertise and experience necessary to perform the verification(s); allow BSEE access to witness testing; verify info submitted to BSEE.”
NSPE encourages all interested and affected professional engineers to submit comments on their firm’s requirements and possible challenges under the existing rule. Please specify your position as a PE; however, please do not characterize your comments as comments on behalf of the National Society of Professional Engineers. It should be clear that these comments represent an individual or company’s perspective. Please contact Arielle Eiser at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
September 2, 2014
On September 2, NSPE submitted comments in response to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) proposed extension of Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval of the information collection requirements contained in the Standard on Excavations (Design of Cave-In Protection Systems). NSPE commended OSHA for recognizing the important role Professional Engineers play in protecting the public health, safety and welfare. NSPE took this opportunity to distinguish between the roles and responsibilities of the PE serving as a design consultant to the project owner and the PE who may be separately employed or retained by the construction contractor to assume responsibility for the design of cave-in protection systems. Learn more (PDF).
August 5, 2014
Facing imminent insolvency as Congress prepared to adjourn for a five-week recess, the Senate and House finally reached a short-term agreement to provide $10.8 billion to fund and reauthorize the Highway Trust Fund through next May. With the Department of Transportation set to begin cutting payments to states the next day, the Senate approved H.R. 5021 on July 31st by a vote of 81-13 bringing to an end a showdown between the two chambers. The Senate had initially passed a different version of the bill that would have extended funding only through December 19th, forcing serious debate about a long-term authorization. This effort ultimately failed as the House would not accept the alternate version. NSPE members played an important role as hundreds of members reached out to their elected officials to underscore the tremendous threat insolvency would pose to the public health, safety and welfare and the hundreds of thousands of jobs that would be put at risk.
July 14, 2014
On July 11, NSPE President Harve Hnatiuk, P.E., F.NSPE, sent a letter urging FEMA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to revise FEMA’s levee certification program requirement to shift the responsibility and liability to the parties in the best position to assume that responsibility and liability: the levee boards, owners, and operators. Learn more.
June 12, 2014
On June 12, Manager of Government Relations Arielle Eiser participated in a political action committee event with Representative Paul Tonko (D-NY). NSPE’s top legislative issues were discussed, including the importance of the “E” in STEM. As an engineer in Congress, Representative Tonko has worked diligently to strengthen the American engineering workforce. The Congressman is the primary House sponsor of the Educating Tomorrow’s Engineers Act (H.R.2426) . Congressman Tonko is a champion of STEM education and, throughout his tenure in Congress, has proven himself to be a champion of engineers.
June 10, 2014
On June 10 President Obama signed the Water Resources Reform Development Act (WRRDA) into law. The conference report was approved overwhelmingly in the Senate by a vote of 91-7 and by an even more remarkable margin of 412-4 in the House of Representatives. WRRDA is the first Army Corps of Engineers authorization since 2007. NSPE endorsed this vital legislation and sent a letter of support to the bill’s primary sponsor, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) in September 2013. In the letter to Chairman Shuster, NSPE President Robert Green, P.E., F. NSPE praised WRRDA for “overhauling and dramatically improving the process for federal water resources development. The legislation sets hard deadlines on the time and cost of studies, consolidates or eliminates duplicative studies and concurrent reviews that can hold up projects for years, and streamlines environmental reviews.