MALSCE Government Affairs Update - September 2020
by Abbie Goodman, MALSCE Chief of External Affairs
Important Renewal Information for All Licensees in Massachusetts:
Be sure to renew your PE and PLS licenses before October 1, 2020; the PE and PLS license renewal deadline was extended due to COVID-19. More:
Board of Registration of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors Advisory on the Use of Job Titles that include the term “Engineer” or “Surveyor”
June 8, 2020: In response to questions received from the engineering and land surveying business community, the Board of Registration of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors (“the Board”) issued an advisory opinion on the use of engineering or land surveying job titles by unlicensed individuals working within the engineering and land surveying business community.
Board of Registration Responds to FAQ on Professional Engineers (PE) Certifying Site Plans with Property Lines
Issued June 2020: In this posting, the Massachusetts Board of Registration responds to this frequently asked question: Can a Professional Engineer (PE) certify a site plan which references a property line determination that was previously completed by a Professional Land Surveyor (PLS)?
Division of Professional Licensure / Board of Registration of Professional Engineers and Professional Land Surveyors
The next Board meeting will be on October 22, 2020 on GoToMeeting. To connect to the meeting, go to this page on October 20 to download the agenda with connection instructions.
September 24, 2020: Link to Board Meeting Agenda
Meeting Highlights - these are not minutes, but a summary of what I heard during the meeting
This Board of Registration meeting was held by GoToMeeting. Some Board members and DPL staff were able to be seen during this virtual meeting.
The Massachusetts PE and PLS license renewal deadline was extended to October 1, 2020 under Governor Baker's issued COVID-19 Executive Order No. 41, rescinding the prior orders as of July 10, 2020. Professional Engineers and Professional Land Surveyors are still encouraged to renew their licenses online as soon as possible.
Review / Approve Minutes for September 24, 2020 Public Session. They will be posted on this page soon.
- Next Meeting Date will be October 22, 2020
- COVID-19 Update: Some DPL staff in office at times, but most working remotely
- Review / Approve Minutes: August 27, 2020 Public Session (draft) approved.
Board Counsel Legal Report from Sheila York:
- Status update on proposed Continuing Professional Competency (CPC) regulations: under advisement at DPL senior management. Board Counsel is awaiting comments that will come back to the Board.
- Joint Policy on Professional Practice:
- Hearing Date: Case pending in prosecutions for Good Moral Character issue for a licensee to be held on October 2. Board can send a board member to observe or board can look at transcript. Paul Tyrell will observe. This is not a public meeting.
- Update on Pending Legal matters: No new issues
Executive Director Report:
- NCEES Enforcement Exchange Review of Applications: Monitoring 2 situations, potentially opening 2 complaints about 2 individuals in other jurisdictions
- Application Questions: Report on applications was sent to board members. There is a separate Good Moral Character issue.
- Civil applications – want to get those reviewed so candidates can take exam in January in Hartford at NCEES regional site.
NCEES Annual meeting:
- Paul Tyrell, PE, PLS was elected NCEES Treasurer for the year; Video of meeting is available on NCEES website
Complaint committee: is there a running list of status of complaints and status available.
DPL does publish a report after the fiscal year with metrics. Board counsel will get the latest information available to Board members.
- end of public session-
Be sure to check out MALSCE's COVID-19 Resources and Guidance for MALSCE Members page for the latest news on Massachusetts' official actions.
We need you to contact your Legislators to get these bills moving.
S. 1392 Reported Favorably Out of Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland in early February; House version of bill already in House Ways & Means
Contact your Massachusetts Legislators and ask them to support our Dig Safe Bill
As of February 28, 2020, S. 1392, An Act Relative to Public Safety in Excavation was reported favorably out of the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security. This bill, along with many others, in currently in the Senator Clerk's office. We expect this bill to be sent to the Senate Committee on Ways and Means soon. At that time, we'll be asking MALSCE members for help to move this bill. Advocacy needed when S.1392 lands in the next committee
To view the fact sheet on the bill from our May 2019 Engineers and Land Surveyors Day at the State House, click here.
If you have questions, contact Abbie Goodman.
Transportation Bond Bill – Bill now in conference committee
On July 23, 2020, the legislature appointed a 6-member conference committee to develop a compromise bill to fund more than $17B billion in transportation improvements. The conference committee is expected to merge the bills within a week. The Senate conference committee members are : Transportation Committee Co-chair Senator Joe Boncore, Ways and Means Committee Chair Senator Michael Rodrigues, and Fitchburg Republican Senator Dean Tran. The House conferees are: Transportation Committee Co-chair Representative William Straus, Revenue Committee Co-chair Representative Mark Cusack, and Lakeville Republican Representative Norman Orrall.
The conference committee will reconcile an $18B House bill (H 4547) and a roughly $17B Senate bill (S 2836).
Negotiators will debate a Senate plan to empower communities to raise local taxes for transportation projects. Because the legislature has extended its formal session for this year beyond the normal July 31 deadline, due to COVID-19 and state budget issues, the conference committee is working in August and September to resolve differences between the two bills. We are hopeful that they will reach a compromise soon. Bond bills require roll call votes that can only occur during formal sessions.
Background: On July 25, 2019, the Baker-Polito Administration filed a transportation bond bill seeking $18 billion in additional capital authorization to invest in building and modernizing a transportation system that meets the needs of residents, businesses and cities and towns statewide. The authorization would be used to fund existing programs as well as several new initiatives designed to lessen impacts from roadway congestion and ensure reliable travel throughout the Commonwealth.
On July 30, 2019, the House, followed by the Senate, assigned this bill to the Joint Committee on Transportation, which may hold a hearing on this bill in September. The transportation bond bill will be first heard by the Joint Committee on Transportation, followed by a hearing before the House Bonding Committee, before going to the House Ways and Means Committee and then to the full House for a vote. Following the House vote, the bill would then be reviewed and acted on in the Senate.
The bill had a hearing before the Joint Committee on Transportation on October 8 at 10 AM at the State House. This bill was filed as H4002.
Transportation Finance Bill – no new action yet
House finalized their version of bill on March 4, with 5 cent gas tax, corporate tax, TNC fees. Senate expected to propose their plan in June.
Transportation Revenue Debate Summary - Debate on this bill, formerly H. 4508, concluded in the House on 3/5/2020. This bill is now in the Massachusetts Senate, where its fate is unknown due to the huge strains on the state's revenues because of COVID-19. The new bill is now H4530 and is in the Senate Committee on Ways and Means
A Bill We Oppose:
Transparent Business bill sent to study: but firm is making offers to states for free software
Previously reported: I was notified that this firm is offering free software to some states’ governors. I’ve sent a letter to EOTSS Secretary Woods or our coalition to send to appropriate executive branch officials expressing our grave concerns about the software.
Background: This bill was sent to a study by Joint Committee on State Administration, which is good news for our community. We still must look out for potential amendments to other bills. Bill has been refiled in New Jersey, which started its new session in January 2020. ACEC/MA in coalition with MassTLC, CompTIA, TechNet and others testified in opposition to H.2769, An Act relative to state government processes to verify hours worked on computers for certain government contracts. The proposed legislation, if enacted, would mandate that state agencies direct their consultants to install hours-tracking software on their computers to track the time spent on projects. Robin Greenleaf testified on behalf of ACEC/MA in opposition to this bill.
MassDOT Issues New Traffic Data Guidance (as of 5/11/20)
MassDOT Highway Division issued Engineering Directive E-20-005, Guidance on Traffic Count Data. This directive, dated May 11, 2020, provides guidance on how to estimate existing and future traffic counts in lieu of taking new traffic counts after March 13, 2020, when COVID-19 restrictions were implemented in Massachusetts. Traffic counts taken in 2020 may undercount the baseline for which future years are based.
This directive introduces new MassDOT Guidance on Traffic Count Data, dated April 2020, which supersedes Section I.B (Traffic Volumes) of the Traffic and Safety Engineering 25% Design Submission Guidelines. For additional information and guidance regarding traffic data in Massachusetts, please also refer to the Traffic Volume and Classification page on mass.gov.
No change since March: City of Boston Municipal Lobbying Registration
Short version: 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 email@example.com
MALSCE's External Affairs Chief and ACEC/MA Executive Director Abbie Goodman is working in coalition with NAIOP and other business associations on issues of concern to design professionals.
In mid-August, the Municipal Lobbying Compliance Commission, created under the ordinance, requested comments from lobbyists, lobbyist entities and clients subject to the ordinance, as the Commission develops regulations to interpret, implement and enforce the ordinance. The Commission planned to finalize regulations prior to the December 15, 2019 registration deadline for the 2020 registration year, but that has been delayed. Here is the link to the letter filed by ACEC/MA,
The Boston Lobbying Ordinance uses a very broad definition for lobbying that may include some work done by engineers, land surveyors and other design professionals working on public and private sector projects in Boston. ACEC/MA, working in coalition with the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network, Greater Boston Real Estate Board, NAIOP and others, is seeking clarifications and guidance on this issue that it will share with MALSCE leadership.
Opportunities to Serve on Boards and Commissions
Professional Engineers, Professional Land Surveyors, Registered Architects and other Design Professionals living in and licensed in Massachusetts are sought after to serve on certain public boards and commissions created under state law or by regulations. This is an opportunity to participate directly in government, by providing your professional expertise to help shape public policy for the benefit of residents. For more on serving and how to apply, see this link: https://www.engineers.org/get-involved/public-boards-commissions
Gubernatorial appointment requests:
Important: To be recognized as a MALSCE member you must login using your MALSCE assigned username and password.
Registration is processed through the MALSCE associated website, www.engineers.org. MALSCE is supported by the staff of The Engineering Center Education Trust.
Please note: Altering your name or contact information during registration may overwrite your record in our membership database and prevent you from receiving your member benefits.
If you have additional questions regarding registration, please contact us at 617/227-5551 or firstname.lastname@example.org.