Joe S. Jones
What a Legislative Session. Roads, ethics and education were supposed to be the big ticket items. By any standard, none of these issues were properly addressed much less resolved.
However, the most important issue for engineers, the Engineering and Surveying Practice Act, did not have the broad, statewide notoriety as the big three, but this legislation did not make it either.
Thanks to engineers Joe Greenburg, Melvin Williams, Gene Dinkins, Marguerite McClam and surveyors Brian Bonds, Will Fairey and Elliotte Quinn. These engineers and surveyors came to the State House and worked with Adam Jones and me. We called out their legislators from the House and Senate and talked to them in the Lobby. Then we called out members of the House and Senate Labor Commerce and Industry Committees and talked to them about the practice act.
Joe Greenburg prepared a statement to give at the Senate Labor Commerce and Industry Subcommittee meeting on May 28. However, he did not get to testify. The Practice Act was the last bill on the agenda; the chairman heard two people speak in favor of the bill and then ask for those opposed to testify. Gene Dinkins and I got to testify, but Joe did not.
Summing up the oppositions’ positions, they were opposed to the QBS language and the brokering section, and another group, Carolinas AGC, wanted to make the word “engineer” generic.
After the opposition testified, the committee chair said members had other meetings to attend and suggested the Practice Act be carried over. A motion was made to carry over the Practice Act until next session and it passed.
Therefore, the Practice Act is dead for 2015; nevertheless, it will be back on the Senate’s LCI Committee agenda next January.
Engineers and surveyors have time to contact their legislators and get them primed for action next session.
As part of the lobbying efforts this last session, I began asking engineers and surveyors to join Adam Jones and me at the State House on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. This practice got members (ACEC-SC/SCSPE /SCSPLS) actively involved in the legislative process, and it let legislators see their engineer and surveyor constituents active and interested in the outcome on legislation. I trust the engineers and surveyors will support this activity next session.
The Charleston massacre is the most tragic end of a legislative session I’ve ever experienced. As awful as it was, it may bring different factions in the General Assembly together and hopefully, one of the results will be a better operating legislative body where major issues facing this state can be debated and conclusions drawn.