Archive/Subscribe | April 9, 2013

ASHRAE Government Affairs Update

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Green Mountain State Battleground for Licensure Fight?

In the February 22 edition of the Update, we mentioned the possibility that the “master’s-or-equivalent” (MOE/bachelor’s-plus-30 (BS+30) licensure issue was heating up in Vermont and West Virginia. Concerns in West Virginia have subsided, but in Vermont, ASHRAE’s Champlain Valley Chapter (CVC) – along with ASHRAE’s partners in the Licensing That Works Coalition – is ramping up efforts to make sure that no negative measures gain traction there. Here are some of the recent developments:

The chair of the licensure board is an ASHRAE member and can participate in board discussions about MOE proposals, but is likely to recuse himself from voting on any MOE proposals that come before the board because of his affiliation with ASHRAE and our long-standing opposition to MOE (see Rules of the Board, Section, for the official Board of Directors position on this issue). Consequently, it is unclear how the board might vote if such a proposal were to be presented to it. 

A state representative who is a past president of the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES), the national organization made up of U.S. engineering licensing bodies (and the developer of the model law requiring MOE by 2020), has indicated that he may propose an amendment to a professional regulation bill (covering many professions other than engineering) pending before the legislature or introduce a standalone bill to require MOE in his state. If such a measure were to be enacted, the Green Mountain State would be the first in the U.S. to adopt this controversial mandate. 

At its most recent chapter meeting, the CVC hosted a point/counterpoint discussion about MOE, at which a surrogate for the state representative and an ASME member who teaches engineering at Norwich University presented opposite sides of the issue. After the discussion, a vast majority of chapter members indicated their continued opposition to MOE. 

Also, the CVC will be sending letters and other materials to key legislators and to members of the licensure board reiterating their opposition to MOE and offering technical and policy support to those policymakers if they have questions about the issue. 

Although no state has adopted an MOE requirement yet, ASHRAE chapters, sections, and members must remain vigilant on this issue and keep their respective Grassroots Government Activities Committee (GGAC) Regional Vice Chairs – as well as their GGAC chapter chairs – in the loop if even the chance of an MOE proposal comes up. To get connected with your RVC and to keep the lines of communication from the Society level on down, please contact Mark Wills, ASHRAE’s Manager of State and Local Government Affairs, at or “like” the GGAC Facebook page and post a comment.

As an aside, the Facebook page will provide frequent updates about issues important to ASHRAE members in the U.S. and abroad. Moving forward, as notable activities at the chapter and regional level arise, the committee will post about public policy successes and challenges members face in their communities. If your chapter is engaged in government activities at the jurisdictional level, please let the committee know by commenting on the page or contacting Mark Wills at the above email address so the message can be appropriately passed on, discussed, and recognized.

President Obama to Release Budget Request

President Barack Obama will release his much-anticipated budget request to Congress for fiscal year 2014 on Wednesday, April 10. The President typically submits his request in February, but held back this year because negotiations were occurring throughout February and most of March on how to address the $85 billion in automatic across-the-board federal funding cuts, commonly referred to as “sequestration”, which took effect in March as a result of the Budget Control Act. For additional information on the sequester, see the March 8 edition of the Government Affairs Update.

The President’s budget request serves as a vehicle for conveying his policy priorities to Congress and the American people, and while it often has little actual impact on funding decisions, it does provide useful and interesting insights into the priorities of federal agencies and the activities that may be scaled up, downsized, or kept the same. Next week, agencies will hold public briefings during which in-depth information will be provided on the basis for their funding requests.

For details, contact Mark Ames, ASHRAE’s Senior Manager of Federal Government Affairs, at

U.S. House Committee to Hold Hearing on STEM Education

The U.S. House Education and Workforce Committee will hold a hearing on April 10 that examines the importance of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education in America’s K-12 schools. In particular, the hearing will focus on the issue of overlap and duplication in federal STEM education programs. A reason for this hearing is a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report which found that there are 209 federal STEM education programs spread across 13 agencies. These programs carried a combined price tag of $3 billion in 2010.

The hearing will be available via live webcast at 10:00 a.m. on April 10, and will be later archived here.

For details, contact Mark Ames, ASHRAE’s Senior Manager of Federal Government Affairs, at


ASHRAE's Government Affairs Updates detail information on government affairs-related activities of interest to ASHRAE members and others interested in the built environment. Archives of previous updates are available from the Government Affairs website.






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