Engineers’ Day on the Hill

Posted by on Mar 24, 2020 in Uncategorized | No Comments

By: Richard Holt, P.E., Tennessee Branch Manger

ACEC Tennessee is a member organization of the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC), a national federation whose mission is to strengthen the business environment for its member firms through government advocacy, political action, and business education. ACEC Tennessee is comprised of more than 110 engineering companies with chapters in East Tennessee, Chattanooga, Nashville, and Memphis. These member firms employ more than 4,000 Tennesseans and contribute more than $350 million annually to the state’s economy.

Recently on March 10th, ACEC Tennessee hosted Engineers’ Day on the Hill. The annual one-day event connects ACEC Tennessee members with State Representatives and Senators to discuss topics affecting the engineering industry.

The day began with a one-hour policy briefing with participating engineers. ACEC Tennessee Executive Director Kasey Anderson provided attendees with packets containing “issue brief” information to share with lawmakers. Following the briefing, we embarked on a day of 15-minute meetings with State Representatives and Senators. Attendees could use this time to express their views, good or bad, on legislation that affects the engineering industry.

The Licensing Innovation Act was a popular discussion topic at this year’s Engineers’ Day. Many are opposed to the bill because it allows the Commissioner of the Department of Commerce and Insurance (DCI) to issue a waiver of regulatory and licensure requirements to a person to pilot test an innovation without oversight typically provided for through licensure and regulation, which exist to protect public health, safety, and welfare.

We expressed our opposition to the legislation as introduced and asked the Department to amend the bill to specify that those performing work should be a licensed professional engineer and be excluded from receiving waivers. Professional engineers fulfill the rigorous education, examination, and experience requirements outlined in the Licensing Innovation Act. We shared how engineers continuously demonstrate competency, maintain and improve skills, and adhere to a code of ethics. As professional engineers, we hold paramount the public health, safety, and welfare of our communities.

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