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Legislature Passes Bill Adding Full-Time Investigator for AELS Board

Legislation also modernizes laws to streamline testing for Architects, Engineers & Land Surveyors

JUNEAU-Today, legislation allowing the state’s Board of Architects, Engineers, and Land Surveyors (AELS) to hire a full time inspector, passed the Legislature with final passage in the House.

Senate Bill 16, sponsored by Senator Cathy Giessel, R-Turnagain Arm/North Kenai, allows the Board of Architects, Engineers and Surveyors (AELS Board) to hire a full-time investigator specifically for the Board and updates the law so that licensing exams can be taken by means other than written (such as on the computer).

Under current law, the AELS Board shares a part time investigator with six other boards.  All totaled, those boards oversee over 18,000 licensees.  Of those licensees, 6439 - or 36% - are under the purview of the AELS Board. 

“This additional investigator was needed because the professions are growing,” Sen Giessel said. “In 2012 alone, there were 490 new licensees added to the AELS Board’s purview.  A part time investigator, shared with six other boards, simply can’t keep up with the demand.”

Senator Giessel, who served for many years on the Alaska Board of Nursing, understands the importance of a timely resolution to claims.  “Justice delayed is justice denied” Senator Giessel said, “if a complaint is filed, and an investigator can’t get to it quickly because he or she is stretched thin trying to cover the needs of seven boards, the public and the professional whose conduct is questioned loses.”

Like other Boards, the AELS board insures that the professionals under its jurisdiction are properly licensed and understand Alaska’s unique environment through education, testing and certification.  By doing so, the Board insures the reputation of the professionals is protected and ultimately that Alaska’s public health, safety and welfare are protected too.

Representative Steve Thompson, R-Fairbanks, was instrumental in Senate Bill 2 passing in the House.  He carried the bill on the House Floor and also sponsored a companion bill, House Bill 5.  “Providing a full time investigator for the Board protects Alaskans’ safety and the reputation of these professions,” Representative Thompson said. “We increased the work load of the Board by giving them 15 new engineering branches to oversee, so it’s fair to give them the tools to remain efficient and effective.”

Senate Bill 16 now heads to Governor Parnell for his signature.

For more information, please contact Margaret Dowling in Senator Giessel’s office at (907) 465-4843.

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