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)

Dump Trump. Save & Expand Postal Services (video)

Keep the post office

President Trump and Congress have been bailing out businesses with multiple Coronavirus relief packages. One business they haven’t helped is the US Postal Service. In fact, Trump has suggested shutting down the post office and privatizing the services.

I think that is a terrible idea for the American public. The US Postal Service (USPS) is the general public’s most cost-effective and convenient way to send letters and packages to other people in this country. The Postal Service was created by the Founding Fathers because they realized how important it was for us to stay in communication with each other and with the government. President Thomas Jefferson even wanted the newspaper to be delivered free to every person in the US to keep us informed.

Privatization of government services never benefits the people. I can’t think of any instance in which a service was privatized, and the people actually got better service and/or more cost-effective service. With privatization, the service always gets worse, more expensive, and less widespread and universal. It’s costs 55 cents for one first class postage stamp; that is the cost to mail a letter to anyone in the US. To send a Fed Ex letter, it costs $8.50– or $11 if the letter’s destination is more than 601 miles away. Plus, you have to take the letter to Fed Ex to mail it. Privatization is about making money. It’s not about providing quality, low-cost services in a non-discriminatory way, across the entire country equally for everybody. That’s what the Postal Service gives us. If Trump succeeds in privatizing the postal service, thousands of union workers will lose their jobs, costs will skyrocket, convenience will be lost, and people in remote areas will lose mail service or pay ridiculous prices in order to guarantee a profit.

Continue reading Dump Trump. Save & Expand Postal Services (video)