May 28, 2015
Facing a May 31 deadline, Congress once again passed a short-term funding patch to avoid imminent insolvency of the Highway Trust Fund. Since September 30, 2014, when the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act expired, Congress has relied on short-term funding laws, commonly known as patches, to finance our nation’s surface transportation infrastructure. NSPE and transportation industry groups have been strongly urging Congress to stop relying on stopgap spending and come up with a long-term authorizing bill that will protect the public health, safety and welfare. While many members of Congress recognize the need to invest in infrastructure, the political will to come up with a bipartisan funding solution has been lacking. For infrastructure to thrive, a long-term commitment in the form of a six-year authorization needs to be enacted. NSPE hopes that Congress will take this time to develop a meaningful solution to our mounting infrastructure needs.
April 30, 2015
On April 30, NSPE submitted a public comment to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) commending the agency for recognizing the critical role of professional engineers in the recently released notice of proposed rulemaking in response to the Deepwater Horizon disaster of 2010. The proposed rule, which has been five years in the making, requires a professional engineer in cementing and casing situations to examine, review, approve and certify changes or remedial measures as part of Blowout Preventer Systems and Well Control, 1014-AA11 (30 CFR Part 250.428 parts (b) and (d)).
April 22, 2015
On April 21, NSPE submitted a public comment in fervent opposition to a proposed rule that would weaken certain requirements for a professional engineer as part of the licensing process of deepwater ports. The proposed regulation, issued on April 9 by the US Coast Guard of the Department of Homeland Security, includes two provisions that gravely concern NSPE given their tremendous impact on the public health, safety and welfare: a change to allow unlicensed engineers from within the US, as well as foreign engineers, to perform engineering services that only a licensed PE can perform and a change to allow these unlicensed engineers to submit design and construction plans on behalf of the licensee.
April 17, 2015
Representative Sam Graves (R-MO) recently introduced H.R. 1666, the Design-Build Efficiency and Jobs Act of 2015. This legislation reintroduces the Congressman’s bill from the 113th Congress, H.R. 2750, the Design-Build Efficiency and Jobs Act of 2013. NSPE endorsed H.R. 2750 and its public statement can be read here. As stated in NSPE Position Statement No. 1726: Design-Build in the Public Sector, NSPE recognizes that more than one project delivery system may meet an owner's project requirements. Factors such as safety, function, time from conception to completion, capital and life-cycle costs, environmental quality, and appearance will each play a role in the owner's decision.
April 15, 2015
The most serious push to overhaul the No Child Left Behind Act since it was enacted into law in 2002 saw an important victory for engineering education in K-12 today. In a close 12-10 vote, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee approved the Franken Title II Amendment, which is dedicated to improving STEM instruction and student achievement. This amendment incorporates aspects of the Educating Tomorrow’s Engineers Act, which NSPE has been a leading advocate of. While prospects for passage of this bipartisan Senate bill are increasing, the House version remains stalled. However, thanks to NSPE’s recent Action Alert, H.R 823 has garnered additional cosponsors in recent days. To take action today, please visit: https://www.votervoice.net/NSPE/Campaigns/39955/Respond
April 9, 2015
Representative Paul Tonko (NY-20) with lead cosponsors Representative David McKinley, P.E. (WV-1) and Representative Joe Kennedy (MA-4) has introduced the Educating Tomorrow's Engineers Act. This bipartisan legislation, H.R. 823, which emphasizes the importance of the E in STEM, aims to increase student achievement and interest in engineering and to align K-12 curricula with the skills needed in the 21st century workforce. To this end, H.R. 823 removes barriers at the federal level that prevent schools from expanding math and science curricula to include engineering design skill
Please take action today and urge your Congressperson to cosponsor H.R. 823 today at https://www.votervoice.net/NSPE/Campaigns .
April 1, 2015
In an effort to prevent professional engineers from being placed at serious legal risk, NSPE has filed a “friend of the court” brief before the Virginia Supreme Court in support of an appeal of a lower court decision that, if affirmed, would require a professional engineer to independently test and verify the accuracy of a product manufacturer’s representation to satisfy the professional standard of care. Read the friend-of-the-court brief (PDF)
March 20, 2015
On March 19, NSPE participated in the 2015 Society of Women Engineers Capitol Hill Day to discuss issues of importance to professional engineers, such as the Educating Tomorrow’s Engineers Act (H.R. 823) and the looming deadline for federal infrastructure funding. NSPE Legislative and Government Affairs Vice Chair Karen Moran, P.E., F.NSPE, met with Senators and Representatives to express the importance of these issues and to convey NSPE’s strong commitment to promote the value of the professional engineer at all levels of government, including federal. In meetings with Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) offices, NSPE advocated for support of a Senate companion bill to H.R. 823, the Educating Tomorrow’s Engineers Act. Discussions were very productive and also delved into the variety and breadth of services PEs provide. Hill visits with three champions of engineering in the House of Representatives were similarly encouraging.
March 2, 2015
The National Society of Professional Engineers is disappointed by the US Supreme Court’s February 25, 2015, decision in North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v. Federal Trade Commission and is committed to taking all actions necessary to guard the public from the chilling effect this ruling will have on the ability of state engineering licensure boards to effectively protect the public health, safety and welfare.
The vital public-interest role served by the professional licensure of engineers is clear. Licensure ensures that the people who build our roads, buildings, and bridges; who design our vehicles and machinery to operate safely; and who we rely upon for the secure and environmentally sound operations of our pipelines and other utilities, are not only competent to do so, but accountable to the public’s interest above all other considerations.
On February 27, NSPE President Harve Hnatiuk, P.E., F.NSPE sent a letter to the Maryland House and Senate formally endorsing House Bill No. 752 and Senate Bill No. 738, Professional Engineers-Responsible Charge-Review and Approval of Engineering Documents-Review and Approval of Engineering Documents. The House bill is set for a hearing on March 3 and the Senate bill will be the subject of a hearing on March 18. President Hnatiuk wrote: “These hearings present an opportunity to ensure that Maryland state law removes any implication that Maryland city or local government employees are exempt from the licensing requirement if they are practicing engineering.” It is NSPE’s longstanding policy that all engineers in responsible charge of the practice of engineering should be required by all state statutes to be licensed professional engineers. Read the complete letter (PDF).