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Capitol Update: Week 6

Capitol-Update-_-Week-6-February-22.-2021

The General Assembly was in session last week on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday for Legislative Days 17 through 19. This week, the pace will start to pick up, as they will be in session Monday through Friday (Legislative Days 20-24).

Making the PELS Board an Independent State Agency

As those of you with engineering licenses from other states are well aware, the engineer licensing boards in every other state in the South – from Texas to Kentucky – have their own dedicated staffs and in all but two southern states, are independent state agencies. Not so in Georgia, where the Professional Engineers & Land Surveyors (PELS) Board shares a small staff with five other unrelated licensing boards. As a result, customer service and enforcement have suffered for decades.

To rectify that situation, HB 476 – The Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors Act of 2021 - was introduced (at ACEC Georgia’s request) by Rep. Dale Washburn (R-Macon) to make the PELS Board an independent state agency, with its own separate budget, its own executive director and staff and its own attorney and investigators to investigate and enforce violations. This legislation was modeled on the existing arrangements for the Georgia Real Estate Commission and the Georgia State Board of Accountancy and will provide the financial and operational independence needed for the PELS Board to properly serve the 23,000 Professional Engineers and 1,200 Land Surveyors whose licensure is critical to protecting the health, safety and welfare of Georgia’s citizens and our built environment. This legislation has been assigned to the House Regulated Industries Committee and we hope to have a hearing this week. ACEC Georgia will continue to keep you updated on this important legislation.

Legislation ACEC Georgia is following

By Rep. Carl Gilliard (D-Garden City), would exempt public mass transit, campus transit, and public school system buses from paying Georgia’s motor fuel excise tax. This bill would undermine the premise underlying the Transportation Funding Act of 2015 (HB 170) – that all users of Georgia’s roads and bridges should contribute toward their upkeep. As such, ACEC Georgia opposes this bill. STATUS: Assigned to the House Ways & Means Committee. 

The Week Ahead

The pace will start to pick up, as the General Assembly will be in session Monday through Friday (Legislative Days 20-24) this week. The current Adjournment Resolution, SR 82, only provides the date for one additional day, which would be next Monday, March 1st (Legislative Day 25). We may see a new Adjournment resolution this week, or they may wait until next Monday to provide the schedule for some or all of the remaining days in the 40-day legislative session.