More than 130 members of the Florida Engineering Society (FES) and the American Council of Engineering Companies of Florida (ACEC Florida) gathered at the Florida Capitol on March 22, 2023, as a part of Professional Engineers Days, to meet with state lawmakers as they consider legislation that directly impacts the state’s engineering industry.
The group included 40 members of the Florida Engineering Leadership Institute (FELI) Class of 2023. FELI is a leadership program that puts training into practice and was created to transition engineering professionals into community professionals and leaders within our societies, communities, and workplaces. The program consists of six sessions held in key cities throughout Florida, and the third session coincided with Professional Engineers Legislative Days in Tallahassee.
Joined by 20 PE’s in training from the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), the FES and ACEC Florida members attended over 60 meetings with legislators and legislative staff to discuss issues ranging from transportation, water resources, structural, and the recent attempt to exempt public universities from the Consultants Competitive Negotiation Act (CCNA).
The language exempting the state’s universities was introduced the day before as part of the Senate’s budget package, meaning the language could become law without being heard in a single committee in the House of Representatives.
Members also examined fully funding FDOT’s Moving Florida Forward program, authorizing FDOT to utilize Phased Design-Build as a method of procurement, and changes to last year’s legislation requiring milestone inspections of condominium buildings, all supported by FES and ACEC Florida.
Additional topics members discussed with legislators and their staff were a possible attempt to ratify a proposed Florida Department of Environmental Protection rule requiring unreasonable reductions in stormwater nutrients and the increase of statutory limits on liability for tort claims against state and local government agencies from $300,000 to $5,000,000.
The day concluded with an evening reception in the Old Capitol Museum, with many Florida House and Senate legislators attending, followed by a social hosted by the FES Big Bend Chapter at Harry’s Seafood Bar and Grille.
This annual event is a vital component of the FES and ACEC Florida legislative program, and the leadership and staff of both organizations sincerely appreciate the efforts of those members who participated this year.