Engineers Day at the General Assembly
week, ACEC and PENC held a very successful Engineer’s Day at the NC General
Assembly. Approximately 50 members
representing both organizations shared breakfast with legislators to discuss
the issues that are important to the engineering industry. (Click here for a copy of the Legislative
Issues that were presented). Four of the
House Representatives who are Engineers also attended – Representatives Dean
Arp, Rick Catlin, Chris Millis and Mike Hager.
Certificate of Merit Protection for
Architects and Engineers
of Merit legislation has been championed by the design community for several
years. COM, if enacted, would require
that before a negligence claim against a licensed professional is filed, a
professional licensed in the same practice area as the defendant must review
the facts and certify that the claim is meritorious and should be
adjudicated. In 2011, the Senate
successfully passed a COM bill but the legislation was never taken up in the House
due to objections from the General Contractors.
PENC and ACEC are working with the Contractors to determine if a compromise can
be reached so that COM legislation can be brought forward this year. While negotiations continue, a placeholder
bill is being filed on our behalf by House Representative Bryan, an attorney
from Charlotte, with co-sponsors Rep. Mike Hager, Rep. Tim Moffitt and Rep.
Mitchell Setzer. All the co-sponsors
hold leadership positions and are, therefore, better able to influence a
positive outcome. The Engineers in the
House – Reps. Arp, Catlin and Millis will also be helping out on the bill but
did not feel it was appropriate to take a lead role as it may appear to be
our work continues on this important reform, we will be gathering information to
strengthen the case for COM legislation.
If you or your company have been forced to defend against a frivolous
lawsuit please share your story with us so that it can be used as an example of
how these lawsuits are hurting your business and ultimately driving up project
Millis, Catlin, will be actively supporting the bill, but could not be listed as
sponsors due to a possible perception of self interest.
Statewide Legislation For Design-Build
and Public/Private Partnerships for Facility Construction
Engineers and Architects are seeking statewide legislation that would allow all
government entities to select two new construction delivery models when
appropriate – Design Build and Public/Private partnerships. Presently, public
owners can only use these methods if they either go to the State Building
Commission for authorization or have a local bill introduced to exempt their jurisdiction
from the provisions of the public contracting laws under current statute. A statewide law would give localities
blanket authority to use these methods and would eliminate the need for many
local bills currently being circulated in the legislature.
the heart of this proposal is the need to strengthen Quality Based Selection
for the design community. Both delivery
methods would ensure that the QBS process is used in the selection of the
design team. Further, and most
importantly, the proposal would eliminate the local government exemption
loophole in current law which many cities and counties use
Arp will be the lead sponsor on this bill which is currently in draft.
Streamline Permit Review
are currently several fast track permitting reviews already established within
NCDENR that could be further expanded.
Revisions to the stormwater permitting process will be introduced in
legislation being prepared by Rep. Chris Millis, an environmental Engineer from
Pender County. This particular
legislation would establish Minimum Design Criteria that all PEs would be
required to follow providing more regulatory certainty and permitting
efficiency thus reducing the need for technical staff review.
Bill Review from Last Week
SB 363 (Brock) - AN ACT to reduce and
simplify business taxes and to tax all business entities with limited liability
protection the same. (see discussion below)
action was taken on this bill in the Senate Finance committee.
HB 301 (Arp) - AN ACT to make
clarifying changes to the laws regulating engineers and land surveyors.
bill was given a favorable report in the House Regulatory Reform committee and
referred to the House Finance Committee.
HB 89 (McGrady, Samuelson, McElraft) -
AN ACT to require the department of environment and natural resources to
support the application of a regional water supply system for all required
federal approvals, as recommended by the environmental review commission.
bill was given a favorable report in the House Environment committee and has
been placed on the House calendar for tomorrow.
HB 135 (McGrady, Samuelson, McElraft)
- AN ACT to make adjustments to the fee schedule for permits for sanitary
landfills and transfer stations to reflect extension of the duration of these
permits as directed by S.l. 2012 187, as recommended by the environmental
bill was given a favorable report in the House Environment committee and has
been referred to House Finance.
HB 193 (Samuelson) - AN ACT to expand
the permissible uses of the Local Mecklenburg county and city of charlotte
bill passed the House but not without a lot of conflict. At issue is the use of local tax revenue to
pay for renovations to the Panthers stadium.
The bill has been referred to the committee on State and Local
Government in the Senate.
PENC Seeking Nominations for State
Commission of Public Health
is seeking a qualified candidate to serve in the Professional Engineer slot on
the Commission of Public Health. The
qualifications for this position are: "a registered engineer experienced
in sanitary engineering or a soil scientist". The appointed person will be
replacing George Sweet Jr. who was appointed in December 2012 to fill the
unexpired term of Rick Catlin who was elected to the House. Representative Catlin had these comments to
offer on the candidate eventually selected:
is appointed will eventually become the subcommittee chair of on site waste
water disposal issues as well as well water testing and land disposal of some
wastes. The candidate needs to be well versed in these subjects and have some
past public service knowledge and some leadership/chairmanship experience.
There is only one engineer on the commission and many of the issues need their
input. The board needs and appreciates a thoughtful and knowledgeable
candidates should submit a qualifications letter, resume and one reference
letter to Betsy Bailey, email@example.com by Friday, April 5th. The PENC
Executive Committee will review all candidate qualifications and make a final
recommendation to the Governor’s office next week.
all the talk, a legislative committee has finally begun taking up tax reform.
The modest bill, though, appears to be generating more questions than answers.
The Senate Finance Committee, for an hour on Wednesday, chewed over the bill,
filed by Sen. Andrew Brock, R-Davie, which would repeal the existing corporate
franchise tax and place it with a more broadly-applied "business privilege
tax." Brock and the primary driver of tax reform in the Senate, committee
co-chair Bob Rucho, said the legislation is just one piece of larger tax reform
that will come later. Still, the piecemeal approach caused several committee
members to question how larger tax reform would balance out what appeared to be
an unbalanced result under the single bill, with cities and towns potentially
losing $75 million in annual revenue when local privilege taxes are eliminated.
Sen. Clark Jenkins, D-Edgecombe, said the legislation -- by imposing a new tax
on limited liability companies and then capping that tax -- also appeared as if
it "helps the big guy and hurts the little guy." Rucho,
R-Mecklenburg, said that a larger tax reform bill would mitigate those worries
with income tax cuts. Added Brock, "There will be a lot of happy people
when the total package comes out." Brock also contended that businesses
would save money because the tax is more simple. It would apply only to a business'
adjusted net worth, while the current franchise tax can be applied through
three separate means. The rate would fall from $1.50 per $1,000 to $1.35 per
$1,000. LLCs would pay a minimum of $500 and a maximum of $5,000. The cap would
not apply to corporations. Sen. Austin Allran, R-Catawba, said he wanted to see
more information about how cities would be held harmless. Several committee
members also wondered how the changes would affect the various ways that
businesses organize, include those that use holding companies to own subsidiary
LLCs. One speaker who addressed the committee, Raleigh lawyer Mark Prak, said
he looked forward to seeing local privilege taxes eliminated. Prak said some
cities are increasingly using the tax inequitably, as a gross receipts income
tax and not as a means of tracking who is conducting business within a city's
corporate limits. A separate, bipartisan tax reform bill has also been filed in
the Senate. It would lower corporate and personal income tax rates, slightly
lower the sale tax, expand the sales tax base to cover services, and make
changes similar to those in Brock's bill.(Scott Mooneyham, THE INSIDER,
Carolina House members agreed Wednesday the city of Charlotte can spread around
local hotel and prepared food and beverage tax revenues to pay for upgrades
sought by the Carolina Panthers to its downtown stadium. The full House voted
Wednesday in favor of the measure that expands how the city can use its share
of particular Mecklenburg County revenues beyond paying for the Charlotte
Convention Center to help with renovations to Bank of America Stadium. The bill
doesn't raise the prepared food and beverage tax as city leaders originally
wanted and generates $34 million less than the team sought from the city. The
Panthers want to begin stadium renovations of up to $300 million after next
season. Republicans have also said no new state funds should be expected to
help with the upgrades. The tax revenues could now be used for the stadium and
for amateur sports venues. "There are no new taxes on this bill. There is
no new revenue on this bill, state or local," Rep. Ruth Samuelson,
R-Mecklenburg, a primary bill sponsor, told colleagues. "There are just
two new options for the Charlotte City Council" to consider with money
they already receive, she said. The bill was thoroughly debated this month in
three committee meetings, where both Republicans and Democrats questioned
helping what they labeled a profitable NFL team. On Wednesday, Rep. Paul
Luebke, D-Durham, called the bill "corporate welfare." "This is
welfare for the Carolina Panthers at a time when we cannot afford as a General
Assembly to be doing this sort of thing," he said. The measure was
approved on a voice vote because it's considered a local issue. The bill now
goes to the Senate.(THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, 3/27/13).
state should not be required to build three toll-road projects, Secretary of
Transportation Tony Tata says. A House bill would mandate those projects in
Gaston County, the Outer Banks and near Wilmington. But Senate changes to the
measure would delete the provisions requiring the building. Tata has told
legislative leaders that his department supports the Senate changes. He said
last week that projects should be funded through a competitive state
process.(THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, 3/26/13).
state environmental agency is seeking a court injunction against a Duke Energy
subsidiary over groundwater that may have been contaminated by coal ash at an
Asheville power plant. Friday's filing the N.C. Division of Water Quality has
taken legal action against a utility over its handling of ash. Contamination
has been found near ash lagoons at 14 Duke plants in North Carolina, but
natural sources could be responsible for much of it. The water agency said high
levels of thallium were found in three wells near an ash lagoon at Progress
Energy Carolinas' Asheville plant. Thallium is a metal that can cause nervous
system problems. Duke said in a statement it's reviewing the filing and
believes it's complied with the plant's environmental permit.(THE CHARLOTTE
NC Construction Jobs Trending Up
signaling the start of a recovery, employment in the state’s construction
industry rose by 1,500 jobs, or 0.9 percent, between December and February, a
new report shows. Read More Here.
Raleigh is America’s Fastest Growing
Raleigh metro area is the fastest-growing city in the country since 2000, according
to census data. Read More Here.
Solar Industry Sees Bright Future in
Sunlight Partners is in a rush to get into North Carolina’s solar market. Read
Group Opposes Abrupt End to NC Energy
N.C. Sustainable Energy Association hopes to persuade North Carolina
legislators to allow the state’s 35% renewable-energy tax credit go remain on
the books through the end of 2015. Read More Here.
A New Evacuation Plan for Charlotte’s
Mecklenburg Police will soon launch an outreach campaign to uptown businesses
and residents on a newly revised evacuation plan for the center city. Read More
EPAC Update from the Chair – Henry
Liles, PE, HNTB
February 25, Over 50 members of ACEC and PENC gathered for the first E-PAC
Luncheon of 2013. Our guest speaker was Rep. Ruth Samuelson, Republican
Conference Leader at the NC House of Representatives. Rep. Samuelson is a
rising star in state politics and discussed many of the issues faced by the
current state legislature. Ruth is a self-described “Environmental Republican”
and has taken a keen interest in water issues throughout her career. She
brought EPAC members up-to-date regarding potential legislative changes in
environmental regulations. We also had
the opportunity to brief Ruth about the advantages of the “Certificate of
Merit” legislation that we are proposing to decrease the frequency of frivolous
lawsuits against engineers.
E-PAC Luncheon speakers will be announced in the coming weeks. Be on the
look-out for the 2013 membership invoices in the next couple of weeks. Return
them as soon as you can and with a little increase in the amount of your
contribution if you see fit in order to help E-PAC continue its vital advocacy
work on behalf of the engineering community.
are making incredible headway with our impact in the General Assembly. We can
have even more impact with your continued support. Our on-going lobby activity
this session is directed toward regulatory reform, infrastructure investment,
continued government outsourcing to engineers, tort reform (Certificate of
Merit), and appointments of engineers to key Board and Commissions.
City of Hendersonville, North Carolina is interested in entering a contract
with a firm
to provide professional engineering design and grant administration services
for a water
line extension project along Academy Road located in the Dana community of eastern
Henderson County. Residents in this area have experienced contamination of Dieldrin
and other pesticides in their drinking water wells and are in great need of a clean
drinking water supply.
will consist of, but is not limited to, the installation of approximately 500
of 12-inch water main, 4,300 linear feet of 8-inch water main, 2,300 linear
feet of 6-inch
water main, 1,800 linear feet of 2-inch water main, 60 water services and
on Academy Rd., E. Hill Dr., Jade Walker Dr., Emerald Ln., Largo Ln. and the east
end of Meadow Woods Dr. Please see the location map provided with this RFQ. For
more information please click here.
Notice No: FA4803-13-R-0005
Synopsis for Competitive 8(a) bid-build/design build Indefinite Delivery
Indefinite Quantity Multiple Award Construction Contract Posted/Issue Date:
March 22, 2013 Response/Closing Date: TBD Program Preference: Competitive 8(a)The
Department of the Air Force, Air Combat Command, 20 CONS has posted a
Presolicitation Notice on Federal Business Opportunities (FBO).
20th Contracting Squadron is soliciting a competitive 8(a)
bid-build/design-build Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) Multiple
Award Construction Contract (MACC).
intent is to award no more than eight contracts as a result of this
under these IDIQ contracts will consist of construction work based on a general
statement of work further defined within each individual task order. Work to be
performed under the MACCs will be within the preponderance of the North
American Industry Classification System (NAICS) 236220, Commercial and
Institutional Building Construction with a Size Standard of $33.5M. Work is to
be performed in the general construction category to include maintenance,
repair, alteration, mechanical, electrical, heating/air conditioning,
demolition, painting, paving, earthwork and waterfront work in both family
housing and industrial/office buildings. Work may involve design/build projects
as well as new construction of buildings or facilities to include some or all
of the above elements of work.
scope includes work at Shaw AFB, SC and Pointsette Range, SC.
more information please click here.