The New York State Society of Professional Engineers (NYSSPE) representatives attended the New York State Board for Engineering and Land Surveying board meeting on June 27, 2014. The following is a summary of the meeting.
Licensure of Professional Geologists
S 3810D/A 4753D (Marcellino/Englebright) (passed both houses)
The Board engaged in a detailed discussion of the bill which set forth a licensing scheme which is similar to other design professions. The Department worked with the bill sponsors and other interested parties including NYSSPE in formulation of a final draft. (The Board expressed continued opposition to amendments proffered by land surveyors to permit land surveyors to practice geology since land surveyors (LS) lack requisite education, experience and examination to provide geological services.)
A 5117C/S3667D (Weisenberg / Savino) (passes both houses)
The bill will provide for credentialing of parties engaged in mold assessment and remediation. The legislation exempts professional engineers from separate credentialing requirements and prohibits the practice of professional engineering by mold assessment and remediation contractors.
Continuing Education – Land Surveyors
The Board expressed support for legislation which extends the current law requiring continued education for land surveyors (See A 9103 / S 6834 (Glick / LaValle and Education Law Section 7212). This extender expires in 2024. (Chapter 61 Laws 2014)
The Board discussed legislation which will amend various sections of the Education Law pertaining to the professions which limit eligibility for licensure to US citizens. The amendment is a reflective case law wherein the NY Court of Appeals (New York State’s highest court) rejected the citizenship requirement applicable to veterinarians.
The Board also discussed changes to legislation which would expand the use of QBS to public authorities and public benefit corporations. The original bill, which would have required the use of QBS, has been amended to simply promote the use of QBS in lieu of a mandate. The NYSSPE does not support the amendment. (See A 7268A / S 6639A Benedetto / DeFrancisco.)
Bachelors’ Degree – Professional Engineering A9694 (Glick)
The NYSSPE and SED have prioritized this bill and the Board was pleased to learn that it passed the Assembly for the first time. Like the NYSSPE, they shared their disappointment that the Senate did not approve the bill as it had in prior years.
NYC Professional Misconduct Repealer A 8491 / S 5525 (Cusick / Lanza)
This bill would repeal legislation enacted in 2007 which permits the NYC Department of Buildings to prosecute cases of PEs or RAs accused of falsifying documents rather than refer all cases to SED’s Office of Professional Misconduct. The Board observed that the Department of Buildings and SED have good communications regarding disciplinary cases.
It was reported that the discussions on an extender of the three-year pilot program, which sunsets in December 2014, have stalled. Nevertheless, it is anticipated that a bill will ultimately be enacted and the Board strongly favors inclusion of express quality assurance safeguards in any design build authorization legislation. NYSSPE most emphatically concurs. Due to a dispute between labor and the general contractor community over the use and scope of project labor agreements it seems likely that passage of legislation will be delayed till after the November elections.
The Board continues to examine the use of AS-Built Documentation and differences in the public and private sectors, as well as differences respecting horizontal versus vertical construction, and the respective roles of the professional engineer and general contractor. The Board discussed the use of marked-up field change documents by contractors. The Board is examining the potential for the promulgation of a Regent’s Rule or practice guidelines and indicated that it would be examining the implications any actions may have on professional liability insurance. In addition the Board will continue to review how other states have addressed this issue.
Computer Based Examinations
The use of computers for the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam has gone smoothly with no negative impacts noted. The NCEES was given due credit for the change-over.
The Board also discussed the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology’s (ABET) review of engineering and engineering technology programs. There was a strong sentiment that ABET has done an excellent job in this area.
Continuing Education Credits
The Board discussed the need for the development of a FAQ for licensees regarding the factors which need to be considered in determining when participation on a committee will qualify for continuing education credits.
The conversion to e-licensure has many hurdles which are going to take time to resolve although progress continues to be made. At the same time the Department’s protocol regarding the scanning of documents has been proceeding without any difficulties.
LAND SURVEY SUB-COMMITTEE
The committee reported that there has been some attrition in LS programs offering a 2 year associates degree. At the same time there is support for legislation to require an Associates Degree for licensure as a Land Surveyor.
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