February 18, 2016
On February 11, NSPE President Tim Austin, P.E., F.NSPE, sent a letter to Kansas state legislators in response to a report claiming that the Kansas Department of Transportation could save money by eliminating qualifications-based selection in the department’s procurement of architectural and engineering services. NSPE strongly opposes efforts to erode QBS. In his letter to state legislators, Austin clearly established that QBS protects the public health, safety, and welfare. He also noted that QBS protects taxpayers, benefits small firms, and promotes technical innovation. Read the full letter.
February 11, 2016
Embracing its Grand Challenge to foster ethical innovation, NSPE has been working on multiple fronts to promote and protect the public health, safety, and welfare in the development and deployment of autonomous vehicle technologies. The Society is taking action to give professional engineers a leading voice in ensuring that the same attention to safety and reliability that went into the built transportation infrastructure is incorporated into autonomous vehicles and smart transportation systems. NSPE has been collaborating with the California Department of Motor Vehicles, which has been tasked with developing the nation’s first deployment regulations (including both functional operations and behavioral competencies for autonomous vehicles). NSPE has been at the forefront, participating in recent stakeholder meetings in Sacramento, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC. The Society has provided formal written input to the California DMV urging a comprehensive and informed approach.
February 2, 2016
On February 1, NSPE President Tim Austin, P.E., F.NSPE, called on Michigan legislators to support Michigan House Bill 5238, the Local Government Professional Services Selection Act. If enacted, the legislation will set procedures for local governments to procure architectural, engineering, and land surveying services using a qualifications-based selection process. NSPE believes qualified professional engineers should be selected to perform all engineering services on the basis of design ability, experience, integrity, and other key professional factors—rather than price.
NSPE has expressed concern about Oklahoma legislation that would amend the state’s engineering licensure law to permit a structural engineering designation for structural engineers. This change, the Society says, would undermine the existing process for licensing professional engineers in Oklahoma and possibly other jurisdictions.
In a letter to the chair of the Oklahoma engineering licensure board, NSPE President Tim Austin, P.E., F.NSPE, explained that continued recognition of PE licensure as the defining qualification for practice is critical to guaranteeing the trust and protection of the public. He also noted the defeat of a motion in August that would have protected the structural engineer title and restricted SE practice in the model law published by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying.
January 27, 2016
The National Society of Professional Engineers joins the nation in concern over the ongoing and dire water quality crisis in Flint, Michigan, and we await more details about the disaster. The licensed professional engineer’s foremost responsibility is to practice in a manner that protects the public health, safety, and welfare. We offer our support and resources to the City of Flint and the State of Michigan to gain a better understanding of the circumstances involved so they can be avoided in the future.
January 19, 2016
The federal government has announced major new initiatives toward automated vehicle development and safety, a top NSPE policy priority.
President Obama’s fiscal year 2017 budget proposal includes a 10-year, almost $4 billion investment in pilot projects for the development and adoption of safe vehicle automation. In addition, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has updated its policy guidance, including commitments to work with industry and other stakeholders to develop best-practice guidance on the safe deployment and operation of fully autonomous vehicles and develop a model state policy that offers a path to a consistent national policy—both within six months.
December 15, 2015
In a House Committee on Natural Resources hearing on the Department of the Interior’s role in the Animas River spill, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell indicated support for strengthening engineering standards in her agency. The spill was caused by a blowout at the Gold King Mine in Colorado. At the December 9 hearing, Rep. Bruce Westerman, P.E.
December 10, 2015
On December 10, President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act into law, replacing the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. The new education law is significant because NSPE has long advocated key provisions of the Educating Tomorrow’s Engineers Act, which are incorporated into the Every Student Succeeds Act. In particular, the bill includes a funding provision allowing states to refine their science assessments by integrating engineering design skills and practices for the first time. In addition, more flexible funding grants will allow states and school districts to utilize federal funds for teacher professional development and high quality instruction in engineering. NSPE commends Congress for acknowledging the need for more engineering instruction at all levels of education. The bill was passed in the House by a vote of 359 to 64 and was also overwhelmingly approved in the Senate by an 85 to 12 margin.
December 7, 2015
On December 5, President Obama signed the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act into law. The conference report was approved overwhelmingly in the House of Representatives by a vote of 359-65 and an equally impressive tally of 83-16 in the Senate. A comprehensive five year/$305 billion surface transportation authorization, this law is the culmination of a decade of 36 short-term extensions. NSPE has long urged Congress to pass a long-term infrastructure bill. The passage of the FAST Act will enable PEs to properly plan, design, implement, construct, operate and maintain our nation's infrastructure systems without lurching from one-short-term extension to another. NSPE lauds Congress for finally enacting a long-term bill that will benefit the public health, safety and welfare.
December 2, 2015
On December 1, NSPE and the California Society of Professional Engineers (CSPE) submitted a letter to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (CDMV), which has been charged with creating the first state-level regulations for fully autonomous vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has yet to issue regulations for fully autonomous vehicles. Therefore, these regulations, which were due nearly a year ago from the CDMV, will be the first in the nation.