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News: Legislative Updates

Governor signs SEAOC code-referencing bill

Tuesday, October 14, 2014  

By Don Schinske, SEAOC Executive Director

When Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 1467 into law on Sept. 17, it suddenly got easier for the public, for policymakers, and for engineers to better understand the Structural Engineering license in California. 

The bill included language sponsored by SEAOC that references in one place the licensed Structural Engineer’s authority to design acute care hospitals and K-12 public schools.  That place is now Section 6735 of the state Business and Professions Code, within the code sections of the Professional Engineers Act. 

Until now, the authority to design hospitals and schools could be found --- with a whole lot of searching – within the Health & Safety and Education codes, respectively.   Now anyone who is exploring SE licensures can turn to a single place in the law to understand those restrictions, which is alongside all the general provisions of engineering licensure.  

The changes also create a natural home within the code for any future changes to SE scope of practice. 

SEAOC’s successful drive for the bill included legislative committee testimony and meetings in the Capitol, as well as drafting amendments to our language to accommodate concerns from State Architect Chet Widom.  In addition, SEAOC Legislative Chair Carl Josephson, incoming President Ryan Kersting, and ED Don Schinske discussed our language with BPELSG enforcement staff, after which the BPELGS Board voted to support the legislation.

SB 1467 was what’s known as a “committee bill,” meaning the Senate Business, Professions, and Economic Development Committee agreed to include our language in a broader bill affecting various aspects of the B&P Code.   SEAOC appreciates the leadership of the committee chair, Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance), and the generous help of committee consultant GV Ayers.

Here’s a link to the new language in the Professional Engineers Act.

SEAOC’s Legislative Committee will be meeting Nov. 13 in Sacramento to consider goals and strategies for the next year legislative session, which begins Dec. 1 but more practically after the holidays.  Chaired by Josephson, the committee includes representatives from each SEAOC Members Organization.   If you have questions about Legislative Committee’s work, feel free to contact Don Schinske in the SEAOC office.  We look forward to keep you up-to-date on the group’s work.