California Legislature—2015–16 Regular Session

Assembly BillNo. 320


Introduced by Assembly Member Wood

February 13, 2015


An act to amend Section 6732 of the Business and Professions Code, relating to engineers.

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

AB 320, as introduced, Wood. Engineers.

Existing law provides for the licensing and regulation of professional engineers and land surveyors by the Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists in the Department of Consumer Affairs. Existing law prohibits a person from representing himself or herself as an engineer, as described by various titles, unless the person is licensed as an engineer. Existing law makes a violation of those prohibitions a misdemeanor.

This bill would additionally prohibit a person from using the title “environmental engineer” unless the person is licensed as an engineer. The bill would provide legislative findings and declarations in support of the licensure of environmental engineers in California. The bill would set forth the intent of the Legislature that the board be responsible for defining environmental engineering through rulemaking and that the board adopt standardized examination materials applicable to environmental engineering, as specified.

By expanding the scope of an existing crime, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.

This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.

Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes. State-mandated local program: yes.

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:

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SECTION 1.  

The Legislature finds and declares all of the
2following:

3(a) Over the past few decades, the study and practice of
4environmental engineering has expanded greatly throughout
5California and the nation. Many colleges in California have
6accredited environmental engineering programs and thousands of
7California engineers currently provide essential environmental
8engineering services to all levels of government, private industry,
9and the public.

10(b) Despite leading the way in environmental protection and
11global climate change remediation programs, the State of California
12is an anomaly in that it does not currently offer a pathway for the
13licensure of environmental engineers. Forty-eight other states test
14and provide a licensing path for environmental engineers. Hawaii
15and California currently do not.

16(c) As programs of environmental mitigation and protection
17continue to expand in scope and complexity for our air, water, and
18soil testing and certification of environmental engineers is needed
19to establish benchmarks for competency to protect and safeguard
20the public.

21(d) The Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and
22Geologists (BPELSG) safeguards the life, health, property, and
23public welfare by regulating the practice of professional
24engineering. The BPELSG provides this public service by testing
25and licensing individuals, establishing regulations, enforcing laws
26and regulations, and providing information so that consumers can
27make informed decisions.

28(e) In the early 1970s, the BPELSG created title acts in the
29branches of agriculture, control system, corrosion, fire protection,
30manufacturing, nuclear, quality, safety, and traffic. At that time,
31the BPELSG did not approve a petition to add an environmental
32engineer title act. In 1986, the authority to establish new title
33registration branches returned to the Legislature.

P3    1(f) In California, professional engineers are licensed in the three
2practice act categories of civil, electrical, and mechanical
3engineering, and licensed in the 10 title act categories of
4agricultural, chemical, control system, fire protection, industrial,
5manufacturing, metallurgical, nuclear, petroleum, and traffic
6engineering.

7(g) Environmental engineering is the branch of engineering that
8understands and applies engineering principles in the areas of solid
9waste management, water supply and treatment, wastewater
10treatment, air pollution management, hazardous waste management,
11and related environmental and public health impact, assessment,
12and mitigation including the physical, chemical, and biological
13processes by which pollutants form, release, disperse, react, or
14neutralize in air, water, or soil.

15(h) Given the proliferation of the practice of environmental
16engineering in the public and private sectors in California, it is
17now necessary to create an environmental engineering title act
18within the Professional Engineers Act to safeguard life, health,
19property, and the public welfare and regulating this profession.

20(i) It is the intent of the Legislature that the BPELSG will be
21responsible for defining “environmental engineering” through
22rulemaking, adding to the definitions found in Section 404 of Title
2316 of the California Code of Regulations, and using the same
24process used to define the other title acts. It is the intent of the
25Legislature that the BPELSG will also adopt national standardized
26examination materials applicable to environmental engineering,
27similar to testing for other branches of engineering.

28(j) Creating a new environmental engineering title act does not
29require the expenditure of state funds. Just as is the case with other
30practice and title act licensees, it is the intent of the Legislature
31that applicant fees will cover the cost of license and registration.

32

SEC. 2.  

Section 6732 of the Business and Professions Code is
33amended to read:

34

6732.  

It is unlawful for anyone other than a professional
35engineer licensed under this chapter to stamp or seal any plans,
36specifications, plats, reports, or other documents with the seal or
37stamp of a professional engineer, or in any manner, use the title
38“professional engineer,” “licensed engineer,” “registered engineer,”
39or “consulting engineer,” or any of the following branch titles:
40“agricultural engineer,” “chemical engineer,” “civil engineer,”
P4    1“control system engineer,” “electrical engineer,”begin insert “environmental
2engineer,”end insert
“fire protection engineer,” “industrial engineer,”
3“mechanical engineer,” “metallurgical engineer,” “nuclear
4engineer,” “petroleum engineer,” or “traffic engineer,” or any
5combination of these words and phrases or abbreviations thereof
6unless licensed under this chapter.

7

SEC. 3.  

No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to
8Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because
9the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school
10district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or
11infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty
12for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of
13the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within
14the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California
15Constitution.



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