August 1, 2013
On August 1, 2013, NSPE, along with members of the STEM Education Coalition, urged the U.S. House of Representatives to restore a critical funding provision to HR 2131, the SKILLS Visa Act. One of the primary immigration bills in the House, this legislation initially included a provision that would direct fees paid by employers hiring foreign workers to support improvements in U.S. STEM education that will help improve American competitiveness. This provision was removed from the bill during the Judiciary Committee's June markup for procedural reasons. NSPE joins with other members in the science and engineering community to advocate for the restoration of the vital provision. Read the letter here.
July 31, 2013
On July 31, Manager of Government Relations Arielle Eiser attended the annual Washington Internship for Students of Engineering (WISE) public policy presentations. Top engineering students from universities across the country presented public policy solutions to some of our greatest challenges. Presentations included the potential of biodiesel use as a viable alternative fuel source, reshaping the nation's intelligent electrical infrastructure to maximize energy efficiency and storage capacity, and revamping data management strategies for the smart grid to improve reliability, security, and efficiency.
July 9, 2013
On July 9, NSPE urged the House Appropriations Committee to revise House Report 113-90 on the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2014 (HR 2216) to unequivocally identify that the two-phase, qualifications-based selection process be followed on all military construction projects. In a letter to House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) and Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-NY), NSPE President Dan Wittliff, P.E., F.NSPE writes: "NSPE believes the two-step/two-phase selection process ensures that competent and qualified design professionals are initially involved in the procurement process so that quality-based design considerations are incorporated into the drawings, plans, and specifications consistent with the interests of the public health and safety." Read President Wittliff's letter.
June 19, 2013
On June 19, NSPE's Government Relations Manager Arielle Eiser attended a political action committee event for Speaker of the House John Boehner. Other U.S. representatives present were David Valadao (CA-21), David Joyce (OH-14), Mike Coffman (CO-6), Scott Tipton (CO-3), Jeff Denham (CA-10), and Rodney Davis (IL-13). NSPE's top legislative issues were discussed, including professional liability and tort reform, energy policy, infrastructure, and the need to strengthen the American engineering workforce. This was an excellent opportunity to cultivate and strengthen relationships with important members of Congress.
June 18, 2013
On June 18, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Congressman Paul Tonko (D-NY-20), and Congressman Joe Kennedy (D-MA-4) introduced the Educating Tomorrow's Engineers Act (S. 1178/H.R. 2426). This bill would integrate engineering education into the K-12 curriculum, provide instructors with tools and support to effectively teach engineering education, and promote research in engineering education. NSPE has sent a letter of support and is working closely with the sponsors to promote the bill and add new sponsors to this vital piece of legislation. NSPE has posted an Action Alert. Take action today!
June 12, 2013
On June 12, Manager of Government Relations Arielle Eiser attended a congressional briefing co-hosted by the National Science Foundation, ASME, and DISCOVER Magazine entitled "Harnessing the Power of Engineering to Improve STEM Education in K-12 Schools". Speakers from the NSF, the Museum of Science , and the University of Maryland School of Engineering all spoke about the critical importance of emphasizing engineering in education as early as elementary school. Studies clearly show that earlier engineering education improves student achievement, problem-solving skills, and increases the number of students interested in pursuing careers in engineering.
December 20, 2012
Louis W. Blessing III, P.E. (R) District 29, Ohio House
William Callegari, P.E., (R) District 132, Texas House
Rick Catlin, P.E. (R) District 20, North Carolina House
Bart Korman, P.E. (R) District 42, Missouri House
Mark Messmer, P.E., (R) District 63, Indiana House
David Omdahl, P.E., (R) District 11, South Dakota Senate
Stephen Precourt, P.E., (R) District 44, Florida House
Bennett Ratliff, P.E., (R) District 115, Texas House
Lake Ray III, P.E., (R) District 12, Florida House
Angelo Santabarbara, P.E., (D) District 111, New York Assembly
R. Wayne Smith, P.E. (R) District 128, Texas House
December 12, 2012
August 15, 2012
NSPE achieved a victory when the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement issued a final rule that makes permanent the additional safety measures authorized in the wake of the 2010 BP oil spill. The rule requires professional engineers to be more involved in the design and certification of offshore oil wells. NSPE General Counsel Arthur Schwartz commented before the Chemical Safety Board in 2010 that professional engineers should supervise all engineering design, operations, and maintenance of offshore oil wells. Specifically, the new rule stipulates that:
August 8, 2012
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has released updated guidelines on the use of single-step design-build. In response to outcry from the design community, the guidelines emphasize that the two-phase selection procedure is the only design-build contracting method authorized for civil works and for work the Corps performs for other agencies. The guidelines also stress that two-step design-build remains the preferred method for military construction, although single-step design-build may be used for some military construction projects under certain conditions. Unlike two-phase design-build, single-step design-build does not involve short-listing, so firms invest significant time and resources pursuing contracts but have a much smaller chance of winning the work. The expense of single-step competitions prevents many contractors and designers from competing.