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Re: Strange but True (SB 828)

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At 12:28 PM 10/31/97 -0800, Bill Allen wrote:

>You seem to have a real interest in the politics of CA while admitting to
>having no professional interests in what goes on out here. I seriously
>doubt, based on the TX PE laws, that TX will use this CA legislation as a
>model. You (probably) have nothing to worry about.
>
>Whatever the actual impact of SB 828 may have on engineers in CA, it really
>doesn't matter since (a) Gov Wilson has already signed it into law (b) and
>we engineers probably wouldn't have done anything about it anyway.
>
>This legislation does indicate that the trend is going away from (rather
>than going towards) protecting the PROFESSIONALS. What else is new?
>
>I guess things in TX are going so well, you need to get us "riled up" out
>here in CA. Maybe you should start a SEAoT listserv.
>
>Regards,
>Bill Allen
>(the cynic)

I write to correct a possible misconception. The purpose of legislation
regulating engineers and the practice of engineering, as well as other
professions and professionals, was NEVER to protect the "professionals". The
state's only legitimate interest in such regulations is to protect the
public, which is as it should be. This does not mean that the regulated
professionals should not be concerned when changes are made that would
lessen the requirements on those authorized to practice the profession. But
the question is whether or not the change reduces public protection from
those who are not qualified or merely eliminates an unnecessary regulation
or restriction. To the extent some members of the engineering profession
sought protection of the monopoly, merely for their own personal interest,
as Chuck seems to say the legislature found, they were rightly rebuked.

We should, of course, remain vigilant because, for the most part, the
public's interests and the interests of our profession are not at odds but
coincide, In fact, it can be persuasively argued that the primary purpose of
our profession is public protection. However, pretending to represent the
public interest, when viewed as thinly disguised efforts to enhance personal
gain or further one's personal agenda, merely ruins credibility. Therefore,
we should exercise caution, least our own credibility also be tarnished.

Robert McGhie, SE