What Have Republicans Got Against Engineers? (video)

Construction in downtown Tucson

I have been in the legislature now for five years, and every year we have some bills that dumb down professions by reducing educational and experience requirements and/or eliminating licensure and oversight. What could go wrong?

Today in the Commerce Committee, we heard Senator J.D. Mesnard’s SB1062 on engineering definitions. I don’t know what the Republicans have got against engineers, but engineering is a perpetual target for deregulation.

SB1062 bifurcates (Legislators’ favorite word) the engineering statute and makes two levels of engineers. The current definition of engineer includes knowledge of math and the physical sciences along with education and experience in engineering practices (plus other specifics). That definition has been moved to a section called “professional engineer.” Under SB1062, “professional engineers” have advanced engineering education, experience and an engineering license but not necessarily a bachelor’s degree. Mesnard said that projects that impact public health and safety — like building roads, bridges, and structures including homes would require a professional engineer. SB1062 creates a lower level profession called “engineer.” This is a person who “identifies as an engineer” but has no license. The qualifications refer vaguely to education and experience, but nothing is defined. An unlicensed “engineer” can provide services that fall under the domain of “engineering practice” (also defined in the bill). Continue reading What Have Republicans Got Against Engineers? (video)