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
NSPE Senior Manager of Government Relations Sarah Ogden attended a White House teleconference with Office of Science and Technology Policy Director John Holdren, Office of Public Engagement Director Jon Carson, and Office of Management and Budget Executive Associate Director Robert Gordon on the potential impacts of budget sequestration on science and technology funding. Budget sequestration—an automatic reduction of federal spending—will be triggered in January 2013 if Congress fails to approve a deficit-reduction bill with at least $1.2 trillion in cuts. The sequester is set to last from FY2013 through FY2021 and, if enacted, will have a profound impact on research and development and STEM education funding.
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.
July 13, 2012
The NSPE Legislative and Governmental Affairs Committee met at the Annual Meeting in San Diego to discuss the committee's goals for the coming year and determine NSPE's primary public policy agenda for 2012–13. Based on committee discussions, NSPE will focus on the following federal issues:
July 6, 2012
President Obama signed the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) Act (PL 112-141) into law. The two-year, $118 billion legislation will fund transportation programs until September 2014. The law is the result of an eleventh-hour compromise following a protracted, partisan battle within Congress centered on how to pay for the bill.
June 20, 2012
NSPE Senior Manager of Government Relations Sarah Ogden attended the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee's Science and Space Subcommittee hearing, "Risks, Opportunities and Oversight of Commercial Space." The hearing focused on the role of the commercial space industry in the national space program and its contribution to U.S. competitiveness in the global market. Witnesses represented the private sector, NASA, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the Government Accountability Office. Senators also questioned witnesses on the safety of the commercial space industry and the current moratorium on Federal Aviation Administration regulations governing commercial space flight.
June 19, 2012
Congress agreed to the final version of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) Act (H.R. 4348), with the House voting 373–53 and the Senate voting 74–19 in favor of passage. The two-year, $118 billion bill maintains transportation spending at current levels. The bill is expected to be the last major piece of legislation Congress passes before the elections.