California Council of Geoscience Organizations - Since 1997

 

News


AN ADVOCATE FOR THE PROFESSION

IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST

2016 NEWS FOR CCGO
Welcome to 2016 California Council of Geoscience Organizations (CCGO) web site.  CCGO was formed in 1997 as an umbrella group to represent the interests of geoscience organizations and employers in Sacramento.    CCGO was founded on the idea that together with its members it can present a united front from both the profession and employers when issues arise that affect the practice rights of geoscientists.


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MARCH 2016 - NEW LEGISLATION THAT COULD IMPACT THE PRACTICE OF GEOLOGISTS


Eric Zinn noted an interesting, and possibly disturbing legislative attempt to solve a problem that doesn't exist:  ​


http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/postquery?bill_number=sb_1099&sess=CUR&house=B&author=cannella_%3Ccannella%3E 


The language should be of concern to geologists for two reasons:


1.  It calls out specific landforms we frequently map;


2.  It is a bill proposing changes to professional act law, which means that the legislature can have the final say on language.


Geologists are technically exempt from this kind of stuff according to Section 8727 of the Professional Land Surveyors Act.  The concern is whether a legislative attempt of cleaving out landforms in the law creates a potential conflict which might set up for future exclusion of geologic professional practice.


The Senator backing the bill, Senator Canella, is a Professional Engineer and has been a past champion of the licensing board (BPELSG) in the past.


The bill was sent back to the committee level, so it might die there.  The uncertainty is that the bill may also come back to life with the same language, better language or worse language.  

For those interested in more discussion, please contact Eric Zinn:


Erik N. Zinn
State of California Professional Geologist License #6854
State of California Certified Engineering Geologist License #2139
Zinn Geology
2231 40th Avenue
Santa Cruz, CA 95062
Voice: 831.334.4833
email: enzinn@gmail.com
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NEW AND IMPORTANT UPDATES FOR 2016-2015:

(From the BPELSG website: 
http://www.bpelsg.ca.gov/); Call BPELSG Toll-Free at 1-866-780-5370


ANNOUNCED JANUARY 26, 2016 - The Board intends to amend Title 16, California Code of Regulations section 3031 to define the minimum curriculum for a qualifying geological sciences degree. The Board is asking for input and is hosting two workshops to provide a forum to communicate with interested parties.  The workshop announcement and agenda is presented HERE.


POSTED JANUARY 12, 2016 - The Winter 2016 Board Bulletin is now available.


POSTED DECEMBER 31, 2015 - The 2016 editions of the Professional Engineers Act, Geologist and Geophysicist Act, and Professional Land Surveyors' Act, and associated regulations, are now available.


ANNOUNCED JUNE 30, 2015 - Notice of Department Designation Forms for Governmental Agencies Now Available
In order to comply with the requirements of Business and Professions Code sections 6730.2 and 8725.1, state, county, city, city & county, district, and special district agencies are required to designate the professional engineers and land surveyors who are in responsible charge at the agencies. The Notice of Department Designation form is now available to meet this reporting requirement. Click the link above for more information.


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ARIZONA IS NOT THAT FAR AWAY FROM CALIFORNIA


Geologists opposed to de-licensing of profession have a fight on their hands.  Arizona was the first state in the country to provide registration of geologists, starting in 1956. Now 32 states offer registration. Proponents of de-registration argue that Arizona is over regulated and eliminating registration for geologists, landscape architects, assayers, and cremationists, is the first step towards eliminating most professional registrations.   The local geological community is organizing to oppose HB2613, with AIPG offering to play a coordinating role.

A number of people pointed out that numerous state and local agencies require licensed geologists to sign off on technical reports. With Arizona licensing revoked, other professionals such as engineers would be asked to sign such reports. But if they do not have the technical expertise in that area, they could be held liable for subsequent problems. Or geologists licensed in other states could come in to replace Arizona geologists in order to sign professional reports.


http://arizonageology.blogspot.com/2016/02/geologists-opposed-to-de-licensing-of.html 


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NEWS FROM 2015


HOSPITAL BUILDING SAFETY BOARD REQUESTS CCGO'S RECOMMENDATION FOR GEOLOGIST ON BOARD


August 28, 2015:


In August 2015, CCGO was asked for recommendation for a geologist for California Hospital Building Safety Board (HBSB).  In a response, to the Hospital  Building Safety Board, James Jacobs of CCGO contacted other CCGO officers and advisors.  In response to the Hospital Building Safety Board, he noted that "the California Council of Geoscience Organizations (CCGO) represents thousands of geologists in California.  CCGO received a letter from your office regarding the reappointment of Dr. Lou Gilpin on the board in October 2015.  I spoke to Dr. Gilpin, and he verified that he wanted to continue to serve the public on the Hospital Building Safety Board.  From our information, he has done a terrific job on your board and he is highly regarded in the profession as an engineering geologist. After asking our members for comments and recommendations, I have received emails from a variety of geologists from a variety of subdisciplines.  All of those who responded were favoring the reappointment of  Dr. Gilpin to your board."  CCGO supported the renomination of Dr. Gilpin to the Hospital Building Safety Board.  Dr. Gilpin was reappointed for another term.  To see the HBSB membership, push the blue button:




MAJOR CCGO CONCERN: ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEER TITLE ACT PROPOSED:


February 5, 2016 Update:  BPELSG opposed AB 320.  It did not get our to the Senate Appropriations Committee in 2015.

Information About Assembly Bill 320 

February 13, 2015: 

Assembly Bill 320 would authorize licensure of ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERS. This would be a "Title Act" license.  If AB 320 is passed and becomes law, only a licensed ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEER could use the title.  The bill is sponsored by the Professional Engineers in California Government and authored by Assembly Member Jim Wood.  The text of the bill are included at the bottom of this page, or can be seen here:  

Links: AB-320:  
http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/15-16/bill/asm/ab_0301-0350/ab_320_bill_20150213_introduced.htm

PECG: 
http://www.pecg.org/

COMMENTS:  CCGO is very concerned that this may be the start to reduce or eliminate geologist's role in directing, designing, and stamping plans and implementation documents for remediation projects.  

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CCGO Goals for 2016

·         Continue to oppose AB-320 Environmental Engineers Title Act, should it come out of committee in 2016.

·         Develop an appropriate funding mechanism for the organizational members so they can support CCGO, without creating a financial hardship on their groups.  

·         NEW CCGO FUNDING METHOD: The likely new funding method is to allow each committed organizational member to hold ONE annual fund raising meeting for CCGO with the extra proceeds ($10 to $25/person donation) given to CCGO in lieu of annual dues.  Bob Tepel, James Jacobs and others at CCGO are looking into the by-laws to determine how it will be implemented.

·         Monitor legislation that threatens to eliminate licensure in the geosciences profession;

·         Work closely with the BPLEGS as it implements new exam formats for the geosciences licensure examinations;

·         Be a valuable resource for legislators when crafting legislation related to geosciences issues;

·         Provide accurate geosciences information to the media regarding the teaching of earth since (K-12).

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OPPOSED BY BPELSG and CCGO:


BILL NUMBER: AB 320 INTRODUCED

BILL TEXT

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.

BACKGROUND
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:


SECTION 1. The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:  (a) Over the past few decades, the study and practice of environmental engineering has expanded greatly throughout California and the nation. Many colleges in California have accredited environmental engineering programs and thousands of California engineers currently provide essential environmental engineering services to all levels of government, private industry, and the public.  (b) Despite leading the way in environmental protection and global climate change remediation programs, the State of California is an anomaly in that it does not currently offer a pathway for the licensure of environmental engineers. Forty‐eight other states test and provide a licensing path for environmental engineers. Hawaii and California currently do not.  (c) As programs of environmental mitigation and protection continue to expand in scope and complexity for our air, water, and soil testing and certification of environmental engineers is needed to establish benchmarks for competency to protect and safeguard the public.  (d) The Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists (BPELSG) safeguards the life, health, property, and public welfare by regulating the practice of professional engineering. The BPELSG provides this public service by testing and licensing individuals, establishing regulations, enforcing laws and regulations, and providing information so that consumers can make informed decisions.  (e) In the early 1970s, the BPELSG created title acts in the branches of agriculture, control system, corrosion, fire protection, manufacturing, nuclear, quality, safety, and traffic. At that time, the BPELSG did not approve a petition to add an environmental engineer title act. In 1986, the authority to establish new title registration branches returned to the Legislature.  (f) In California, professional engineers are licensed in the three practice act categories of civil, electrical, and mechanical engineering, and licensed in the 10 title act categories of agricultural, chemical, control system, fire protection, industrial, manufacturing, metallurgical, nuclear, petroleum, and traffic engineering. (g) Environmental engineering is the branch of engineering that understands and applies engineering principles in the areas of solid waste management, water supply and treatment, wastewater treatment, air pollution management, hazardous waste management, and related environmental and public health impact, assessment, and mitigation including the physical, chemical, and biological processes by which pollutants form, release, disperse, react, or neutralize in air, water, or soil.  (h) Given the proliferation of the practice of environmental engineering in the public and private sectors in California, it is now necessary to create an environmental engineering title act within the Professional Engineers Act to safeguard life, health, property, and the public welfare and regulating this profession.  (i) It is the intent of the Legislature that the BPELSG will be responsible for defining "environmental engineering" through rulemaking, adding to the definitions found in Section 404 of Title 16 of the California Code of Regulations, and using the same process used to define the other title acts. It is the intent of the Legislature that the BPELSG will also adopt national standardized examination materials applicable to environmental engineering, similar to testing for other branches of engineering. (j) Creating a new environmental engineering title act does not require the expenditure of state funds. Just as is the case with other practice and title act licensees, it is the intent of the Legislature that applicant fees will cover the cost of license and registration.

 SECTION 2. Section 6732 of the Business and Professions Code is amended to read: 6732. It is unlawful for anyone other than a professional engineer licensed under this chapter to stamp or seal any plans, specifications, plats, reports, or other documents with the seal or stamp of a professional engineer, or in any manner, use the title "professional engineer," "licensed engineer," "registered engineer," or "consulting engineer," or any of the following branch titles: "agricultural engineer," "chemical engineer," "civil engineer," "control system engineer," "electrical engineer," "environmental engineer," "fire protection engineer," "industrial engineer," "mechanical engineer," "metallurgical engineer," "nuclear engineer," "petroleum engineer," or "traffic engineer," or any combination of these words and phrases or abbreviations thereof unless licensed under this chapter.

SECTION 3. No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.


2014

CONTRACTS ARE REQUIRED BY GEOLOGISTS AND GEOPHYSICISTS - SB 125 EFFECTIVE January 1, 2014 


(Excerpted from the BPELSG website):  


Professional Geologist and Geophysicist Written Contracts Requirement

Senate Bill 152, which becomes effective on January 1, 2014, adds Business and Professions Code section 7839.2 to the Geologist and Geophysicist Act. This section requires a written contract to be used by a Professional Geologist or Geophysicist when contracting to provide professional services to a client. The use of a written contract helps to eliminate miscommunications, which oftentimes arise when using an oral contract. A written contract may be in electronic form. The following is an overview of the new section.
Requirements:  Before the Professional Geologist or Geophysicist begins work, they must sign a written contract with their client, or his or her representative; however, there are exemptions. The written contract must include, but not be limited to, all of the following:

A description of the services to be provided by the Professional Geologist or Geophysicist;
A description of any basis of compensation applicable to the contract, and method of payment agreed upon by the parties;
The name, address, and license or certificate number of the Professional Geologist or Geophysicist, and the name and address of the client;
A description of the procedure that the Professional Geologist or Geophysicist and the client will use to accommodate additional services; and
A description of the procedure to be used by any party to terminate the contract.

Exemptions:  A written contract is not required under the following circumstances:

The client will not be compensating the Professional Geologist or Geophysicist for their services.
The Professional Geologist or Geophysicist has a current or prior contractual relationship with the client to provide professional services, and the client has paid the Professional Geologist or Geophysicist all of the fees that are due under that contract.
The client knowingly states in writing, after full disclosure of this requirement, that a written contract need not be used.
Professional services are rendered by a Professional Geologist or Geophysicist to another Professional Geologist or Geophysicist; a licensed engineer; a licensed land surveyor; a licensed architect; a licensed contractor; or a public agency.

For additional information, please contact the Enforcement Unit at (916) 263-2284 or call James Jacobs of CCGO at 510-590-1098.









Paleocene Turbidites, Point Lobos State Reserve, CA.  Photo by John Karachewski.