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News: Legislative Updates

SEAOC Code-Referencing Bill Readies for Last Committee Hearing

Monday, July 28, 2014  

By Don Schinske,SEAOC Executive Director

When the California Legislature returns next week from summer vacation, it will have four weeks to complete all business for the year.  For the engineering community, the amount of remaining business isn’t much.  Of the rough dozen bills that SEAOC has engaged on or tracked this year year, just a couple are still in play.  These include:

SB 1467(Senate Committee on Business, Professions and Economic Development) is an omnibus bill that includes SEAOC-sponsored provisions to reference existing SE title authority to design schools and hospitals in the Professional Engineers Act.  That authority has for decades lived in the Education and Health and Safety codes in California statute, but is nowhere seen in the Business and Professions code, the traditional home for the practice and licensure requirements for the licensed professions. The change will allow licensees and applicants, policymakers and the public to easily find the SE practice restrictions in the section of state law where they would expect to find them, and also establish a home in the code for any future changes in SE scope of practice.  

Based on discussions with DSA, SEAOC has submitted amendments to our languages clarifying that architects too can design public schools.  Those amendments are expected to be added when SB 1467 is heard next month in the Assembly Appropriations Committee, its last committee stop.  Here a link to the current version of SB 1467.

AB 1999 (Atkins) – SEAOC has testified in committees in favor of this bill, which proposes a modest offering of offer temporary tax credits for rehabilitation for certain historic structures.   SEAOC’s support was solicited by one of the two co-sponsors, AIACC, and we appreciate the opportunity to support a bill authored by new Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins (D-San Diego).  Here’s a link to AB 1999, which will be heard next in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Otherwise, progress for the year has stopped on several significant bills, including:

AB 2181 (Bloom), a bill to encourage retrofit of URM and older concrete residential buildings, was held because of concerns over potential conflicts with programs underway in Los Angeles and other jurisdiction.  AB 1510 (Nazarian), a broader bill to offer tax credits for seismic retrofitting, stalled because of cost concerns.  SEAOC’s Legislative Committee identified several key ambiguities and definitional problems in both bills that remained unresolved.  

AB 1510 (Nazarian) was a broad bill to allowing tax credits for seismic retrofitting.  SEAOC’s Legislative Committee identified several key ambiguities and definitional problems with the both bills.  held owing to concerns about conflicts with local programs already way

As amended, AB 2192 (Melendez) called for a pilot program of architect peer-review as an alternative to traditional permitting.  The bill died before five proposed pilot jurisdictions could be identified.  The sponsors, AIACC, had assured SEAOC that had the bill advanced further, amendments would have been added to require engineer peer-review of engineering designs.