April 2017 – Region 9 Reports

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California Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists (BPELSG)
by Thor Larsen, P.E., M.ASCE
ASCE Region 9 Governor from the Sacramento Section

How many civil engineers pay attention to what the California Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists (known as BPELSG), does, besides sending you an invoice every 2 years for renewal of your license?  I will readily admit that I have paid minimal attention in the past.  I mostly wondered “When or will the BPELSG begin requiring continuing education requirements in addition to paying the dues for our renewal”.  Well, as a new ASCE Region 9 governor, I relished volunteering to chair the BPELSG committee, and I am becoming much more aware and recently attended my first monthly Board meeting in Sacramento on February 8.  This is enlightening!

The Board members consist of a mixture of engineering professionals and public members.  The Board has 14 members, which includes a President and Vice President.  The Board consists of 7 members who represent the “Public”, one of whom is a State Senate appointee.  There are 7 members who work within the professions that BPELSG provides licensure.  There are 5 professional engineers (mechanical, structural, civil, electrical and traffic), a professional geologist, and a professional licensed surveyor.  They generally serve 3 year terms, and for the member who becomes the Board President, there is a second 3-year term.  The BPELSG board will set policies for licensure and also advocate or initiate bills through the State which are necessary.  BPELSG is under the California Department of Consumers Affairs, which oversees a multitude of professions requiring licensure.  Professional engineering, geologists and surveying is extremely important to the public, and therefore we must uphold our code of ethics and abide by the rules of licensure.

So there is the brief background of BPELSG!  Here is a question that Richard Moore, Executive Director of BPELSG, asked in the most recent newsletter to all members: “How often do I as a licensed professional engineer, review Business and Professions Code Sections 6700-6799?”  Those sections are referred to in common industry nomenclature as the Professional Engineers Act.  Richard states that outreach experiences and statistics show that few licensees take the time to familiarize themselves with these laws, and annual changes thereof, even though each licensee states that he or she has read those laws and will abide by them at all times (This occurs with one’s initial licensure application, and all subsequent renewal applications).

I will definitely be reading these from now on, like I did so long ago.  One change to these laws is slated to become effective in 2017.  Senate Bill SB 1085, introduced by Senator Roth and now passed became effective January 1, 2017, but will not be required for licensees until later in 2017.

SB 1085, as amended, Roth.  Stated per text below from the April 7, 2016 bill as introduced:

Existing law makes the Board of Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists responsible for the certification, licensure, and regulation of the practice of professional engineering, the practice of professional geologists and geophysicists, and the practice of professional land surveyors.   ……….

“This bill would additionally require an applicant for renewal to complete a board-administered assessment, which includes questions to reinforce the certificate holder’s or licenseholder’s knowledge of laws applicable to his or her practice area.  The bill would make the failure to complete the assessment within a specified period of time a cause for disciplinary action.”

Be on the lookout for this with your renewals!  It will be great practice for the majority of us to remind ourselves of the laws, and ethics involved with our licenses.

In closing, I suggest that you try to attend one of the Board meetings in the next year.  They are held monthly, and in locations within the full state area, from San Diego, to the Bay area and Sacramento.  The agendas and material are available at   http://www.bpelsg.ca.gov/about_us/meetings, along with the full schedule of meetings for 2017.

If you have any questions or need further information, please feel free to contact me at Thor.Larsen@hdrinc.com

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