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- To: seaoc(--nospam--at)seaoc.org
- Subject: RE: Strange but True (SB 828)
- From: Charles Greenlaw <cgreenlaw(--nospam--at)speedlink.com>
- Date: Sat, 01 Nov 1997 12:49:54 -0800
At 09:59 PM 10/31/97 -0800, Robert McGhie wrote (in a personal message): >Chuck, > >Just what was the CELSOC article complaining about? In you opinion what is >or was their agenda? > >Bob McGhie ____________________________________________________ (see the original posting by Stan Caldwell on 30 Oct for the CELSOC article) Bob, you pose two separate questions. But first, the legislative enactment itself: Long-existing B.and P.Code (PE Act)sec 6747, titled "Exemption for Industries", read: "This chapter, except for those provisions which apply to civil engineers and civil engineering, shall not be applicable to the performance of engineering work by a manufacturing, mining, public utility, research and development or other INDUSTRIAL corporation OR by employees of such corporation, PROVIDED such work is in connection with or incidental to the products, systems, or services of such corporation or its affiliates." (Caps added) To my knowledge, nobody attributed any abuses or problems to the several decades of existence of this exemption. SB 828 made the above into subdiv. (a) without substantive change. The offending part of SB 828 ADDED to sec 6747 a new subdivision (b) that says, "For purposes of this section, 'employees' also includes consultants, temporary employees, contract employees, and those persons hired pursuant to third-party contracts." (That was all.) ________________________________________________ Now for the first question: What's their beef? The CELSOC article does contain in fragmented fashion an accurate rendition of the existing sect 6747 and its newly added definition of employee. But it also insists, in a conclusionary way without explanation, that the addition of subsection (b): "allows companies, under the exemption, to practice, on an unlimited basis, any type of engineering but civil. This is, in effect, a deregistration of electrical and mechanical engineering-- at least when the 'client' is a business entity." (found in the 6th of 7 paragraphs) This assertion, that EE and ME suffer a "broad (or complete) deregistration", repeats in the 2nd,5th, and 7th paragraphs. This is the essence of what CELSOC is complaining about. (Not in their article, but claimed in testimony, was that unregistered persons would be newly empowered to design "fixed works",ie, civil engineering works.) No foundation whatever is given for asserting such sweeping outcomes. If there were any effect at all on EE and ME's, the effect would be to return the EE and ME branches to "title act" registration status, like they had from 1948 to 1964, not to "deregistrate" them, whatever that means, or to "deregulate" them. Interestingly, CELSOC failed to represent the turf of any of the myriad "title" PE branches. They were silent on "deregistrating" industrial or control systems PE's. (no surprise; CELSOC has had for years a policy of eliminating all the title PE branches.) The chemical engineers showed up in force and testified that they would lose their consulting work if the bill passed. Conveniently, they forgot that existing, other law permits anyone to practice chemical engineering...as title-act status intends. But when you look closer at the CELSOC article, you find a lot of subtle, gratuitous, word-swapping. The legislature's words in Sect 6747 become different, more expansive words when CELSOC discusses their consequences. Industrial corporations become "companies" and "business entities". Engineering activities "in connection with or incidental to the products,systems or services" (of an industrial corporation) become "practice on an unlimited basis". I regard this shift of words as deliberate misrepresentation intended to bias and to foment shrill partisanship in the reader. Their claims are card tricks. Hardy Cross called this technique "building a barrel out of a bunghole." Sen. Greene astutely dismissed it as "horsefeathers." And yet one reader improvidently chose to post this CELSOC article under the title, "strange but _true_." Occupying the middle of the CELSOC article is a digression onto strict liability. I guess this serves as a red herring during the word-swapping. Strict liability is not an area of law that I've studied much, but it seems preposterous that any industrial corporation could hire a consultant to advise on a piece of the widget they're developing, and thereby shelter themselves from strict liability arising from their manufacture of the widget. All they've done is add the consultant to the depth of their pocket. And lastly, the CELSOC article fails to reveal in any objective way the position of any other parties to the controversy. Opponents are only mentioned derisively. The uncontroverted argument that appeared to prevail in the legislature was, if the sky didn't fall during all these years when employees could do all these supposed misdeeds, why will it collapse under more versatile hiring methods? ___________________________ The second question asks my opinion of CELSOC's agenda. Nothing in their article directly reveals it. The 5th paragraph alludes to the offering of "a variety of alternatives". All the ones I saw from CELSOC and associates sought to make ALL of 6747's exemption inapplicable to civil engineering projects per se. This would mean, for example, that a catalogued, production-line Carrier air conditioner unit would have to be engineered by a California ME if it were to be installed on a building built in California. The "plans" the manufacturer uses internally would have to be stamped by the Calif ME, who would be held by the Calif Board to conformity with "responsible charge" regulations, etc. in how sub-designs are supervised, among other things. Mind you, this isn't just for consultants under the new 6747(b), it would be for corporate officers, salaried employees, everyone. CELSOC and the Board of Registration wanted repeal outright of 6747 as affects everything in a fixed-works project! No wonder that "These alternatives were all flatly rejected", as the CELSOC article states. I have to stop now. More opinions that I have on their agenda are based on other CELSOC programs, such as their comprehensive PE Act rewrite, now under yet more "rewriting" as the political winds reveal themselves. AB 969 (Cardenas) is its vehicle, a two-year bill due to come alive in January. You asked these questions privately but I want to put my reply out there for the others as well. Thanks. Chuck.
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