April 4, 2011
NSPE Executive Director Larry Jacobson and Senior Manager of Government Relations Sarah Ogden met with senior counsel from the majority side of the Senate Judiciary Committee to discuss the Criminal Justice and Forensic Science Reform Act (S. 132). NSPE sent a letter to Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) in March expressing concern about the bill's requirement that personnel at federally funded facilities who perform forensic testing, analysis, identification, or comparisons in a criminal context be certified. NSPE believes that professional engineers (and other licensed professionals) do not require further certification in order to perform forensic work in their area of expertise and should be exempt from the certification requirement.
April 1, 2011
NSPE has completed its member survey regarding Department of Transportation regulations that impede the engineering profession. DOT is undergoing a regulatory review in cooperation with President Obama's January Executive Order, "Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review," which mandates all agencies to review their existing regulations to determine whether regulations are effectively promoting economic growth, job creation, and competitiveness without being unduly burdensome.
Thanks to the feedback NSPE received, NSPE was able to submit comments in time to speak at DOT's March 14 public meeting. A second request for member input validated NSPE's initial comments. NSPE appreciates those who took the time to provide feedback on this important issue.
March 30, 2011
NSPE Senior Manager of Government Relations Sarah Ogden attended The Atlantic Technologies in Education Forum. The forum focused on the role of video games in K–12 education. Panelists discussed how games in classrooms could help students synthesize abstract concepts such as math and science, better preparing students to study technological subjects like engineering in college. Speakers included U.S.
March 28, 2011
The Small Business Administration has proposed increasing the size standard for engineering firms from $4.5 million to $19 million in average revenues over three years. The current size standard has been in place since 2005. Firms that fall below the standard may compete for federal contracts as a small business. NSPE supports increasing the size standard to allow more engineering firms to compete as small businesses.
March 21, 2011
Congressmen Dave Reichert (R-WA-8) and Jim Matheson (D-UT-2) introduced the Good Samaritan Protection for Construction, Architectural, and Engineering Volunteers Act (H.R. 1145), which would provide qualified immunity to engineering, architectural, and construction entities volunteering in a declared emergency. The bill was proposed in response to lawsuits against architectural, engineering, and construction firms that volunteered after 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. It would protect both individuals and companies. The legislation was first introduced in 2007.
March 14, 2011
NSPE member L. Daniel Tanksley, P.E., F.NSPE, presented remarks on behalf of NSPE at a Department of Transportation regulatory review meeting. NSPE President-Elect Christopher M. Stone, P.E., F.NSPE, LEED AP, Executive Director Larry Jacobson, and Senior Manager of Government Relations Sarah Ogden also attended the meeting. NSPE's remarks focused on two issues: the Federal Highway Administration's and Federal Transit Administration's limiting qualifications-based selection procurement procedures to construction-related projects and the convoluted environmental clearance process.
March 11, 2011
NSPE sends its profound sympathies to those affected by the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan. NSPE has offered its services to the Center for International Disaster Information and the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the wake of the disaster. NSPE would like to remind engineers not to self-deploy to the region. While professional engineers will be needed, their expertise and skills must be part of coordinated relief efforts to be of the greatest help. Professional engineers interested in assisting with relief efforts should register with the Center for International Disaster Information, or send their name and specialty area to NSPE Executive Director Larry Jacobson.
NSPE sent a letter to Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) expressing concern about his introduction of the Criminal Justice and Forensic Science Reform Act (S. 132). The intent of the bill is to strengthen and reform forensic science in the criminal justice system and ensure that forensic evidence and testimony is accurate, credible, and scientifically grounded. The bill's certification requirement for personnel performing forensic work for federally funded facilities, however, is problematic because it does not exclude professionals who are licensed by the state.
March 5, 2011
NSPE Past President Samuel W. Grossman, P.E., F.NSPE, and Executive Director Larry Jacobson attended the annual Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Seabee, and Civil Engineer Corps Anniversary Ball in Arlington, VA. The ball honors the inception of NAVFAC, the Seabees, and CEC and is attended by Navy and Marine Corps officers and civilian employees. This year, NAVFAC is celebrating its 169th anniversary; the Seabees are celebrating their 69th anniversary; and CEC is celebrating its 144th anniversary.
March 3, 2011
NSPE commented on regulations that impede the engineering profession as part of the Department of Transportation's periodic regulatory review. Under Executive Order 13563, all agencies must periodically review their existing regulations to determine whether regulations should be modified, streamlined, expanded, or repealed to make regulatory programs more effective and less burdensome in achieving regulatory objectives. NSPE's comments focused on the lengthy environmental clearance process, inconsistent application of qualifications-based selection, the Federal Highway Administration's conflict of interest policy, inconsistent models of quality assurance, and outdated pipeline safety standards. NSPE will present these comments before DOT on March 14.