by Abbie Goodman, MALSCE Chief of External Affairs
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I requested some legal guidance from Donovan Hatem to consider these questions related to Workforce Participation Goal Requirements under M.G.L. c. 149, § 44A(2)(G), which states that all contracts by a state agency or state-assisted contracts for design, construction, reconstruction, installation, demolition, maintenance, or repair must contain workforce participation goals for minorities and women. Donovan Hatem is working on draft contract language and working with me on a letter and guidance document to discuss with office of Sec. of Administration and Finance
Update as of 9/24/21:
The US House passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), on 9/23/21, including ACEC’s PPP credits waiver. We’ll be circling back with our Senate champions to strategize on retaining the amendment in a final bill. The NDAA enjoys strong bipartisan support overall, meaning this legislation has a very good shot at becoming law before the end of the year.
Update as of 9/14/21: we are hoping that the House will take a vote on the infrastructure package no later than 10/1/21. There is an attempt to make the PPP/FAR credits fix a technical correction, but the vehicle is more likely to be a Senate Appropriations bill this fall.
Separately, the US House is working on a Budget Reconciliation Package, another major piece of legislation that has a tough path forward. So for information only, I’m providing:
Summary of Key Provisions of Interest in Budget Reconciliation Package
September 13, 2021
House committees are drafting their pieces of the social spending and tax package that will be considered by Congress under the budget reconciliation process. Below is a summary of key provisions of interest to the engineering industry as of Monday, September 13, 2021. These may change prior to consideration by the full House at the end of September, and it is likely that the Senate will put forward its own provisions before a compromise between the two bodies can be reached later this fall. The package will largely reflect the remaining elements of the Biden Administration’s social agenda, including significant changes to the tax code that will impact engineering firms, but also significant provisions affecting the built environment and markets our members operate in.
Major elements impacting and expanding opportunities in the built environment include:
The package will also include significant tax increases as pay-fors:
The next Board of Registration meeting will be on October 28, 2021, on Teams. The Board of Registration plans to continue virtual meetings for now, as the Governor and Legislature have extended the law allowing virtual public meetings like this to continue through April 1, 2022, . To connect to the meeting, go to this page and scroll down to the meeting listing to download the agenda with connection instructions.
Friday, September 24, 2021: these are not minutes, but a summary, but a summary of what I heard during the meeting:
Background on Town of Swansea Issue:
The Board of Registration of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors is the state entity charged with establishing and enforcing licensing qualifications for the practice of engineering and surveying in the Commonwealth. The Board has been informed by a professional engineer that the town of Swansea is proposing bylaws that appear to require an engineer to obtain a local license prior to practicing within the town of Swansea.
The state’s licensing laws, G.L. c. 112, s. 81D through 81E, preempts municipalities from requiring individuals who hold licenses issued by the Board to obtain an additional license to practice in the municipality.
In 1941, the Legislature established the Board through promulgation of M.G.L. c. 13, s. 45. That law, as currently written, confers upon the Board the following exclusive powers and duties:
The board may: (i) establish the requirements for registration of professional engineers and professional land surveyors; (ii) establish standards of professional and ethical conduct for professional engineers and professional land surveyors; (iii) authorize and conduct appropriate examinations to determine the qualifications of applicants; (iv) grant certificates of registrations to qualified applicants; (v) establish standards for continuing education; and (vi) set and administer penalties as provided in sections 61 to 65E, inclusive, and section 81P of chapter 112 for fraudulent, deceptive or professionally-incompetent and unsafe practices and for violations of rules and regulations promulgated by the board.
M.G.L. c. 13, s. 45
The statewide licensing requirements to be enforced by the Board are set forth in further detail in M.G.L. c. 112, s. 81D to 81T.
Given the unambiguous language of M.G.L. c. 13, s. 45 and G.L. c. 112 81D to 81T, it is clear that the state Legislature intended to create a uniform system of licensure and regulation of professional engineers and land surveyors throughout the Commonwealth. Consequently, by the clear terms of these laws, the state has expressly preempted the field of licensure and regulation of engineers and land surveyors. Cities and towns are not authorized through their local boards of health or otherwise, to issue licenses to practice engineering or surveying and/ or regulate those professions.
ARPA Spending Bill In Works For The Fall:
Joint Committee on Ways and Means held 6.5 hour virtual hearing in mid-September on infrastructure, tourism, arts & culture had heavy focus on needs to fix CSOs (combined sewer overflows) with help from ACEC/MA.
Background on the ARPA Spending Bill: Legislature hopes to agree on spending plan for ARPA funds before Thanksgiving
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