Current Threats to Professional Engineering Licensure

As a licensed professional engineer, you’ve worked hard to add that “PE” at the end of your name. In recent years, across the country there has been an increase in attempts to deregulate and eliminate professional engineering licensure. So why are professional engineers, those who play a critical role in protecting public health and safety with design, facing this threat? If professional engineers ceased to exist, how could we ensure that those completing engineers duties are well qualified? The growing movement by some governors and legislators to target the regulation of occupations and professions has caught the attention of NSPE and NJSPE.

Recent threats

Most recently, the bill A.3989 was passed by the Senate on February 21, 2019. This legislation pertains to tracking software; mandating that all state contractors use software to verify the amount of time they are working on a state contract. According to NSPE, this software would track total keystrokes and mouse event frequency, and record a screenshot every three minutes. This poses a privacy and security threat to professional engineers. Currently this is still an active threat.

Another threat to professional engineering licenses occurred three years ago. While not active, it is still important to keep past threats in mind if they should resurface. In 2016, bill A4273 was introduced to the Assembly Regulated Professions Committee. The bill authorizes a regulatory officer to review, amend, and repeal any regulation, action, or decision made by a board that has the potential to displace competition. The bill is intended to provide antitrust immunity to professional and occupational licensing boards consistent with federal law, specifically the decision of the United States Supreme Court in North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v. Federal Trade Commission. Both NSPE and NJSPE have been monitored this to make sure that the best interests of professional engineers are protected.

To see threats against other states, check out NSPE’s map.

How you can help

NSPE has created several advocacy and outreach tools for promoting professional engineers and the issues of importance to PEs and the engineering profession. Check them out here.

Additionally at NJSPE, there are opportunities for advocacy and outreach! Contact your chapter president to learn about more opportunities.


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