MALSCE Government Affairs Update - March/April 2021
by Abbie Goodman, MALSCE Chief of External Affairs
Highlights of the American Jobs Plan Released by President Joe Biden on 3/31/2021 are below. NSPS and other organizations are working on a major advocacy effort to support passage of this major package:
American Jobs Plan Pay-Fors:
The next Board of Registration meeting will be on April 22, 2021 on Teams. To connect to the meeting, go to this page to download the agenda with connection instructions.
March 25, 2021 these are not minutes, but a summary: This Board of Registration meeting was held on Teams.
Review / Approved Minutes from February 25, 2021 Public Session
Next Meeting Date – April 22, 2021
Board discussed the issues related to converting the PLS/Jurisprudence section (state specific) part of the exam to computer-based testing (CBT). Discussion will continue at April meeting
New DPU Proposed Regulation 220 CMR 105: Use of Professional Engineers for Gas Utility Work – Board is reviewing these draft regulations but does not see the need to comment at this point.
Board Counsel legal report
Governor’s Executive Order on Military Spouse issue: https://www.mass.gov/doc/reciprocal-licensing-military-families-executive-order/download
ENG Board Executive Director Report:
Review of Applications:
Several moral character issues raised with individuals; they have not responded yet. They had issues out of state but have not provided documentation about resolutions.
Otherwise, Board will make a determination
- Public meeting ended at 10 AM -
Note: Many bills filed for the 2021-2022 legislative session are under review through ACEC/MA Government Affairs Committee (GAC). Scott Cameron along with other MALSCE Senior Leaders are included on the GAC as a courtesy for coordination and communication. If you become aware of other bills that should be tracked, please notify Abbie Goodman
Approved March 26: An Act creating a next-generation roadmap for Massachusetts climate policy
FY2022 State Budget Process
On April 14, 2021, House Speaker Ronald Mariano and House Ways and Means Chair Aaron Michlewitz released the House’s proposed budget for FY2022. The $47.65B spending plan would increase spending by $1.189B, or 2.6% over the FY2021 budget, and proposes to spend $1.792B, or 3.9%, more than Governor Charlie Baker recommended. House amendments were due April 16 at 5 pm; a combination floor/remote debate begins on April 26.
Link to House Ways & Means Budget: https://malegislature.gov/Budget/FY2022/HouseWaysMeansBudget
Link to Amendments filed by April 16 at 5 pm: https://malegislature.gov/Budget/FY2022/HouseDebate
Our Dig Safe Bills for this legislative session are:
Sponsors are: Sen. Brendan P. Crighton, Sen. Diana DiZoglio, Sen. Nick Collins
Assigned to Joint Committee on Transportation
H. 3296, An Act improving gas safety in excavation, https://malegislature.gov/Bills/192/H3296
Sponsors are: Rep. Carolyn C. Dykema, Rep. Sally P. Kerans, Rep. Colleen M. Garry, Rep. David Henry Argosky LeBoeuf, Rep. Christina A. Minicucci, Rep. Elizabeth A. Malia, Rep. Walter F. Timilty, Rep. Lindsay N. Sabadosa, Rep. Maria Duaime Robinson
Another bill to watch, but does not help land surveyors:
UCANE-back bills, Prime sponsor: Rep. Antonio F. D. Cabral
Bills to Oppose:
Sponsor: Rep. Daniel Donahue (D)
Summary: Requires that public employees carry out the construction inspection functions for all surface transportation projects receiving state or federal funding; defines construction inspection functions and public employee.
Referred to Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight
Sponsor: Sen. Marc R. Pacheco (D)
Summary: Subjects all contracts for design, engineering and inspection services to provisions regulating the hiring of private contractors by public and governmental entities.
The DPU issued Order 21-04 issued about the Use of PEs for Gas Utility Work. DPU opened a rulemaking this issue and provided proposed Regulations and Guidelines. [This was in response to the tragic Merrimack gas explosions in 2018, NTSB report and subsequent rapid filing and passage of a state law on this issue, Chapter 339 of the Acts of 2018, An Act Further Providing for the Safety of the Commonwealth’s Natural Gas Infrastructure.] ACEC/MA has been vocal on this issue in the past and need to review the proposed regulations and guidelines.
See also: After passing a landmark climate law, Mass. officials now face the hard part: how to wean the state off fossil fuels: https://www.bostonglobe.com/2021/04/06/science/after-passing-landmark-climate-law-mass-officials-now-face-hard-part-how-wean-itself-off-fossil-fuels/
“As a first step toward reducing emissions in homes and other buildings — perhaps the most daunting challenges of achieving the goals of the new law — Theoharides said she plans to convene a commission this spring to come up with a plan. She also noted that the administration last year ordered the Department of Public Utilities to investigate the role of natural gas distribution in achieving its climate goals, which they set out in a detailed roadmap to how the state could eliminate its carbon emissions.”
PPP loans and FAR Credits issue:
ACEC supports a simple fix to clarify that the FAR credits clause will not apply to PPP loans: Principal amounts of qualifying loans forgiven pursuant to the provisions of Section 1106 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (Pub. L. 116-136) shall not be considered income, a rebate, allowance, or other credit received by or accruing to a contractor under 48 CFR 31.201-5.
Update on the Issue as of 4/15/21: Earlier this week, a working group of State DOT auditors (from AZ, UT, OH and GA) and CPAs to develop supplemental guidance and FAQs to provide some consistency and fairness in how states are handling this. We are expecting additional guidance from FHWA after this working group develops that supplemental guidance.
No change: Design professionals attending meetings with clients on development projects with city of Boston will probably have to register as lobbyists if expressing an opinion that could be construed as advocating for or against a project.
People can email their own questions about their own individual work to firstname.lastname@example.org
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