An Update of Yesterday’s Hearing on HB 2613

— Stephen D. Noel, R.G., Principal Hydrogeologist, Southwest Groundwater Consultants

The vote went as expected — passing the Commerce Committee and heading towards a vote of the House.  The vote was 5:3.  Several of the yes votes had qualifiers indicating they wanted to see and expected amendments to the bill based on concerns of the design professionals.  Our next steps will be to meet with the governor’s office and individual legislatures and come up with amendments that we can work with — if possible.

We want to get as much support as possible from other geologic and design professions who are against this bill.  Would also like to get more details on the states that don’t regulate geologists and the problems associated with deregulation.  I have received some information regarding this already.  Also, requirements from the various state and federal agencies and municipalities that require a geologic seal for specific work conducted in Arizona.  For example — the agency name and the type of work requiring the seal.

From the Capitol Times:

Commerce committee approves bill to deregulate geologists, yoga instructors

An excerpt from the Capitol Times article:

The legislation, however, does not deal with the example Ducey used in his January speech. Instead, it affects some professions where practitioners told lawmakers that ending state oversight will endanger public safety.

So extensive was the testimony that even Petersen conceded the legislation will not become law in the form it cleared the committee. He said it will require extensive changes to get the necessary votes.

Guillen conceded as much, saying that regulation is not “an on-off switch.”

“Government regulation is a dial and licensure is really turning it up to 11,” he told lawmakers. Guillen said Ducey is willing to work with the professions to “dial that back down to find the right level” of government oversight “while alleviating regulatory burdens on the industry.”

There was no testimony in favor of the measure from any industry that hires these professionals. Instead, those who are regulated detailed why lawmakers should not go down that path.

Stephen Noel, a registered geologist, said these are “technical, scientific disciplines” that require qualified people to perform the tasks. In fact, he argued, even state agencies that hire geologists, like the Department of Environmental Quality, require they be state certified.

Petersen said a third of states do not regulate geologists. Noel’s response was “they have problems.”

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