Monday, May 09, 2016

Geologist's amended de-licensing bill sent to Governor

The bill to de-license geologists in Arizona, HB2613, was the most monitored piece of legislation in the just completed session. It was the most viewed bill online as well.

The bill was introduced at the request of Governor Ducey. It was opposed by a coalition of geological professional societies, and companies.  It was intensely debated and legislators reported getting more feedback from constituents on this bill than any other.  The following email was sent out by the Arizona Section of the American Institute of Professional Geologists about the results:

While not signed into law, HB 2613 is close enough to it that I feel we can finally send you the final version of the bill that Governor Ducey will shortly sign into law. As you all know, this has been quite a bumpy ride for all Arizona geologists. We started out on February 5 with a bill that deregulated the geologic profession and removed the geologist representation on the Arizona Board of Technical Registration. We quickly moved to retain lobbyists to represent us as the bill was debated and moved from committee to floor vote in the House and then again in the Senate. Your many emails to House and Senate members were instrumental in getting the bill modified while still in the House to retain geology registration and our position on the AZ BTR. However, an amendment was introduced that would have allowed geologists to work in the state in a non-regulated capacity as “Trained Geologists” essentially making geology registration optional. Our lobbyists came up with a sponsored amendment (the Donahue Amendment) that eliminated this language essentially keeping geology registration at status quo. The amendment initially passed on voice vote. The governor did not like this and pressured various Republican Senators. Our lobbyists felt that it was likely that the Governor’s pressure would cause the Donahue Amendment to fail. The Trained Geologist category was problematic and needed qualifications. This was done by modifying the Donahue Amendment in coordination with the Governor’s office such that Trained Geologists could not practice in Arizona if they were convicted felons or had lost their geologist license in another state. It also requires the Trained Geologist to disclose their lack of licensing to a prospective employer/client. A Trained Geologist cannot prepare materials related to any State Law that required professional registration (e.g. Aquifer Protection Permits, UST Permits, etc). A Trained Geologists must also have received a Geology Degree from an accredited university and have at least 4 years of professional experience.
In my view, we achieved about 90 percent of what we wanted. The only thing left that is still not acceptable is that there is no provision for who will monitor Trained Geologists. The AZ BTR [Board of Technical Registration] will not have any records of these individuals, so the onus will be on the buyer of the services of a Trained Geologist to do a background check and make sure the individual is truly qualified. But, considering where we started this process back in February, we achieved a very workable outcome.
The bill was transmitted to the Governor, and is now waiting for his action.

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