Need a book? Engineering books recommendations...

Return to index: [Subject] [Thread] [Date] [Author]

RE: Strange but True (SB 828)

[Subject Prev][Subject Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]
A.Roger Turk wrote:
>I have observed that the more innocuous legislation is, the more dangerous it 
>is.
.....
>Because this legislation was so innocuous, it was not opposed by any 
>professional association; once it became law, it was too late to oppose it.

  I agree that it is very important to especially watch innocuous-looking
legislation, but in doing so to be skeptical of all manner of advocacies. My
main point in my several postings on this SB 828 thread is to show that the
advocacy most deserving of skeptical regard this time is a noted
professional engineering society. Some PE's appear disinclined to question
such a source. Nothing new in that.

Besides watching legislation, it is also necessary to watch the creation of
administrative regulations, which offer comparable peril. The Calif. Board
of Registration has been unusually active in adding onerous regulations in
recent years. There is a set procedure of notification that the Board must
follow. Anyone can request in writing to be notified by the Board of
impending rulemaking. There is no charge, but the request must be renewed
annually.

The Calif Office of Administrative Law (OAL)has a pamphlet for about $5.00
on how an individual can effectively participate in the rulemaking process.
OAL also serves as the "plan checker" to review the Board's submitted
regulatory change for compliance with rulemaking "code". (But just like with
local building officials, OAL is subject to political pressures and doesn't
always hold the Board's feet to the fire the way one wants.)

The challenge in watching all breeds of policy formulation is anticipating
the hidden effects that later won't be liked. Ernest Hemingway was quoted as
saying that, "to be a great writer a person must have a built-in, shockproof
crap detector."  Same thing for legislation watching.   
__________
>I just wonder when SB 828's provisions will be extended to industrial 
>corporations like pre-fabricated truss manufacturers, metal building 
>manufacturers, etc.

>A. Roger Turk, P.E.(Structural)
>Tucson, Arizona

   It seems less than imminent for several reasons. The main reason is
legislative respect for well-accepted, traditional ways in which society
works and that aren't giving any trouble. Everyone is accustomed to the need
for a PE's supervision of the design of those manufactured items. There's
nothing broke and no clamor for a fix. In other words, the status quo is
honored.

Maintaining the well-accepted status quo is also what the legislature and
governor did in SB 828. Upsetting it, as CELSOC wanted, is what they refused
to do. Some explanation: corporate employee downsizing in recent times has
converted salaried employees into those other types of employees that SB 828
expressly identified in 6747(b). CELSOC and the Board of Registration in the
last few years has chosen to call all those people "consultants" outside the
employee's exemption and therefore practicing profesional engineering
without a license. The Board's attorney was given the task of furnishing a
legal opinion that supported this notion, and duly complied. Enforcement
proceedings were under discussion.

But all this was the second shoe to drop. A few years earlier, the Board
made a hard-fought effort to redefine Electrical Engineering in its
regulations such that all programming of computers would fall within the
purview of Board-regulated PE practice. To say that this would be a change
of status quo without fixing a problem is an understatement. I'm told that
Sen. Alquist threatened to defund the Dept of Consumer Affairs if they
didn't stop the Board's definition change. It stopped, and the EE Board
member resigned. (an act that should be emulated by a few more Board members.) 

SB 828 merely restored peace to personnel working in those exempt
industries, and CELSOC was thwarted. Their newsletter doesn't say it in
quite that way, however.  

Charles O. Greenlaw  SE,  Sacramento  CA