State Registration Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors and Geologists September 11 Meeting Notes

  • The State Registration Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors and Geologists met on September 11 in Harrisburg. Following are the highlights.
  • Board President Francis Stanton, PE, was unable to attend, so Vice President James Szalankiewicz presided. John Fuehrer presented a letter from PSLS regarding concerns with the licensing exam for Surveyors. Board member Mike Brinkash noted Pearson VUE admitted they have given the same examination to all applicants, and have no licensed professionals on its development staff. Fuehrer also comments on concerns with Workbook PDHs.
  • Board Prosecutor Robert Armour, Esq., announced he was retiring from the Bureau in October. He and new Prosecutor Glenn Masser, Esq. presented several cases for the Board’s consideration in executive session, and noted the Board had a hearing scheduled later in the meeting.
  • Board member Ted Tesler, PG, reported on the recent ASBOG meeting, and Mike Brinkash, PLS, reported on his attendance at the recent NCEES Northeast Zone meeting. Brinkash said there was discussion about dues that the states pay. He also noted NCEES is developing a mapping exam. These and other issues will be addressed at the national meeting.
  • Acting BPOA Commissioner Kalonji Johnson discussed the status of implementation of Act 41, regarding license reciprocity. Board Counsel Bill Fritz distributed a draft regulation for consideration at the November Board meeting.
  • Board Administrator Jeannie Bronshtein noted that the licensee audits are nearly finished, and the process has gone well, though there have been some questions from licensees, which may affect the process next round.
  • Board Counsel Bill Fritz reported the Seals regulation package has moved up the ladder and is currently with the Governor’s Office of General Counsel. Board member Joseph McNally, PG, raised the question of raised license certificates. Commissioner Johnson said they were looking into the feasibility.

Next meeting is November 13. The 2020 Board meeting dates have not yet been announced.

Legislation Changed for Home Inspectors Licensing

Earlier this year a bill was introduced to create a state licensing program for home inspectors. Similar attempts to license home inspectors have been made in Pennsylvania for many years, but without success. This year’s version took a new tact in that it placed the home inspectors under the board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors and Geologists. House Bill 21 was referred to the Professional Licensure committee back in March. Shortly after its introduction PSPE informed the committee that placing home inspectors under this already large and multidisciplinary board was a bad fit. On September 25th the Professional Licensure committee amended the bill to place the home inspectors under the Board of Real Estate Appraisers. This is a much better fit and allows the Society to support the legislation. The bill passed the committee and is presently on the House Calendar. It could be voted on by the full House as soon as this month.

E-Verify Bill in Hands of Governor Wolf

The legislature returned from summer recess with a flurry of bills on a variety of subjects. Of particular note, HB 1170 , which requires all construction employers to use and comply with the Federal E-verify program, passed the Senate on September 25th and is now on the Governor’s desk. Pennsylvania law has required construction employers to use the E-verify system for workers on state funded projects for more than a decade. If the bill is signed into law by Wolf, that requirement would be extended to private construction projects as well. The bill was not passed without controversy. The service employees union (SEIU) opposed the legislation causing a number of legislators to vote “no”. Twenty eight House members voted in the negative as did three in the Senate, all Democrats. An Amendment in the Senate to exempt Dreamers (undocumented students/youth) failed by a vote of 42 to 7. The Governor has until October 6th to act on the bill. While he is expected to sign it, SEIU’s opposition remains a factor.

This Month in the PA Bulletin:

BPOA Publishes Expungement Regulations

The Department of State’s acting commissioner of professional and occupational affairs amends 49 Pa. Code, Chapter 43b by adding Subchapters B and C, relating to expungement and fees. The amendments will be effective upon publication of this final-form rulemaking in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. The final-form rulemaking is needed to effectuate Act 6 of 2018, which requires the commissioner to expunge certain disciplinary actions upon application and the payment of all costs associated with expungement. The new regulation sets forth a fee of $155 for the expungement of a disciplinary record.

Individuals who need information about this final-form rulemaking may contact the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs, PO Box 2649, Harrisburg, 17105, RA-BPOA@pa.gov. Additional information can be found in the Pennsylvania Bulletin here: https://www.pabulletin.com/secure/data/vol49/49-39/1439.html

DEP: PUBLIC NOTICE OF DRAFT NPDES GENERAL PERMIT FOR STORMWATER DISCHARGES ASSOCIATED WITH SMALL CONSTRUCTION ACTIVITIES

The Department of Environmental Protection is announcing the availability of a draft National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System General Permit for Stormwater Discharges Associated with Small Construction Activities (PAG-01). To access the draft PAG-01 and related documents, visit the department’s eLibrary here. Questions regarding the draft PAG-01 can be directed to Sean Furjanic at sefurjanic@pa.gov or (717) 787-2137.

https://www.pabulletin.com/secure/data/vol49/49-39/1446.html

Legislative Activity

The following bills and co-sponsorship memos for bills to be introduced of interest to PSPE were acted on by the General Assembly this past month.

Environmental Building Standards

Cosponsor memo filed

HCO2623 (Webster) – Protecting Riparian Buffers Provides for a minimum 100 foot riparian buffer along each side of a surface body of water.

Filed, 9/23/2019

Liability

HB 1737 RE: Environmental Liability Exemption (by Rep. Austin Davis, et al)

Amends the Economic Development Agency, Fiduciary and Lender Environmental Liability Protection Act establishing environmental liability exemption for land banks.

Introduced and referred to House Urban Affairs Committee, 9/12/2019

HB 1887 RE: Anti-Indemnity in Construction Contracts (by Rep. Mike Driscoll, et al)

Amends an act relating to the indemnification agreements between architects, engineers, and owners, contractors, subcontractors or suppliers, authorizing limited form of indemnification in cases of losses caused by negligence of the indemnifying party.

Introduced and referred to House Commerce Committee, 9/25/2019

 

Local/State Government/Regulations

HB 1794 RE: Commonwealth Advisory Board on Geographic Names (by Rep. Rosita Youngblood, et al)

Provides for the Commonwealth Advisory Board on Geographic Names; and imposes duties on the Commonwealth Advisory Board on Geographic Names. The legislation requires the board to facilitate discussion among its membership to consider issues related to geographic location names and for the board to be appointed with a bipartisan 12-member board with legislative and executive representation.

Introduced and referred to committee on House State Government, 9/5/2019

 

SB 694 RE: Reducing Surface Impact from Unconventional Gas Wells (by Sen. Gene Yaw, et al)

Amends Title 58 (Oil and Gas), in development, establishing a process and accounting mechanism for the development of wellbores crossing multiple units.

Read second time, rereferred to Senate Appropriations Committee, and Re-reported as committed from Senate Appropriations Committee, 9/23/2019

Amended on Senate floor, 9/24/2019
Read third time, and passed Senate, 9/25/2019 (49-0)

 

SB 790 RE: Conventional Oil and Gas Wells Act (by Sen. Joe Scarnati, et al)

Provides for separate regulations for family-owned conventional oil and gas operators. The legislation includes general requirements, including well permit, objections, adoption, identification, inactive status, location restrictions, restorations, reporting, safety, and protection requirements; and provisions regarding enforcement and remedy, penalties, civil penalties, third party liability, unlawful conduct, inspection reports and the Relations to the Coal and Gas Resource Collection Act.

Reported as committed from Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, and read first time, 9/24/2019

Read second time, and rereferred to Senate Appropriations Committee, 9/25/2019

Permitting

HB 1106 RE: Energize PA Legislative Package (by Rep. Michael Puskaric, et al)

Amends the Administrative Code providing for environmental permits and plan approvals; making related repeals; and abrogating regulations. The bill adds an article providing for environmental permits and plan approval, which applies to general permits, general plan approvals and individual permits. This bill is part of the House Republicans’ “Energize PA” package, making its way through the General Assembly, which the Administration currently opposes.

Reported as committed from House State Government Committee, read first time, and laid on the table, 9/18/2019
Removed from the table, 9/19/2019
Read second time, and rereferred to House Appropriations Committee, 9/23/2019

Reported as committed from House Appropriations Committee, 9/24/2019

 

HB 1107 RE: Energize PA Legislative Package (by Rep. Tim O’Neal, et al)

Amends Title 27 (Environmental Resources) establishing the Pennsylvania Permitting Commission and providing for its powers and duties. The commission shall have the power and its duty shall be to administer the permitting and plan approval processes vested in the department by law. This bill is part of the House Republicans’ “Energize PA” package, making its way through the General Assembly, which the Administration currently opposes.

Reported as amended from House State Government Committee, read first time, and laid on the table, 9/18/2019
Removed from the table, 9/23/2019
Read second time, and rereferred to House Appropriations Committee, 9/24/2019

Professional Licensure

HB 21 RE: Home Inspector Licensing (by Rep. Sue Helm, et al)

Amends the Engineer, Land Surveyor and Geologist Registration Law providing for the regulation of the practice of home inspection; and making a related repeal. Portions are effective immediately, portions are effective in two years, portions are effective 90 days after regulations are published, and the remainder is effective in 60 days. The bill was amended in Committee to move licensure to the Real Estate Appraisers Board.

Reported as amended from House Professional Licensure Committee, read first time, and laid on the table, 9/25/2019

 

HB 1763 RE: Legislation to put Engineers with Foreign Degrees to work more quickly in PA (by Rep. Tarah Toohil, et al)

Amends the Engineer, Land Surveyor and Geologist Registration Law, further providing for procedure for licensing as professional engineer.

Introduced and referred to House Professional Licensure Committe, 8/30/2019

 

Workforce Development

HB 1818 RE: Occupational License Reform (by Rep. Jim Cox, et al)

Amends Title 18 (Crimes and Offenses), in criminal history record information, further providing for use of records by licensing agencies. Eliminates the automatic bar to holding an occupational license for those with certain offenses. Allows licensure boards to consider a felony or misdemeanor only if the offense relates to the profession or trade.

Introduced and referred to House Judiciary Committee, 9/12/2019

Copies of all bills of interest can be accessed via the Internet at: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/session.cfm

 

Upcoming meetings of Interest

Some House Committee meetings and session can be viewed online at: http://www.pahousegop.com/

Senate Committee meetings and session can be streamed at: http://www.pasenategop.com/

The House and Senate are in recess until September.

TUESDAY – 10/15/19
House Democratic Policy Committee
2:00 p.m., East Bradford Township Building, 666 Copeland School Road, West Chester

Public Hearing with Rep. Christina Sappey on Stormwater Management and Infrastructure

2019 SENATE SESSION SCHEDULE

October     21, 22, 23, 28, 29, 30
November   18, 19, 20
December    16, 17, 18

2019 HOUSE SESSION SCHEDULE

October      21, 22, 23, 28, 29, 30
November    12, 13, 14, 18, 19, 20
December    9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18

2020 HOUSE SESSION SCHEDULE

January                7 (non-voting), 13, 14, 15, 21, 22
February              3, 4, 5
March                   16, 17, 18, 23, 24, 25
April                      6, 7, 8, 14, 15, 16, ELECTION BREAK
May                       4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20
June                       1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30

State Registration Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors and Geologists Meeting Schedule 

Remaining 2019 Meeting Dates (Subject to change): November 13

PUBLIC WELCOME 

All Board meetings are held at Penn Center, 2601 N. 3rd Street, Harrisburg, PA, at 9:30 a.m.

Other meeting dates may be scheduled as needed.