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JANUARY 2021, Volume 70, No. 1
ASCE COVID-19 Resources
The world has changed but civil engineering work doesn't stop. During these difficult times, ASCE is committed to supporting the entire civil engineering community and has a dedicated online resource offering ways to stay informed and stay connected in these unprecedented times.
Visit ASCE Collaborate to hear from colleagues about how they are handling their new surroundings.

by Richard Markuson, Region 9 Legislative Advocate
The Legislature has adjourned until Monday, December 7, 2020. On the 7th they will convene the 2021-22 Regular Session and adopt rules of the session and pick their leaders. They will then recess until January 4, 2021. At this point – it is unclear if 2021 will look like the 2020 Coronavirus session or look more like a normal year.

One thing that will look different is the swearing in ceremony.

According to Politico, Legislative leaders decided, “the Senate and the Assembly are taking different approaches: the upper house will convene in chambers while the Assembly will gather at Sacramento’s Golden 1 Center, the city's NBA arena blocks from the Capitol. Legislative leaders took different approaches to conducting business during the pandemic last year. Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins allowed for remote voting after concluding it was constitutionally sound — a decision that proved critical when Sen. Brian Jones (R-Santee) tested positive in the 2020 session’s final days, forcing Senate Republicans to participate virtually in the critical final stretch. Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, by contrast, believed remote voting was legally suspect and declined to allow it. Atkins said in a statement that the Senate’s distancing protocol — which includes a no-guest mandate — and its air filtration system would allow for a slimmed-down gathering in Senate chambers. ‘When Californians are changing holiday traditions and putting off graduations, weddings, and other important events, the Senate wants to make sure that we are conducting this essential public business in a way that reflects the seriousness of the times and respects the sacrifices Californians are making.’ Rendon said in a statement that moving the event out of Assembly chambers and barring guests were “difficult decisions to make” but argued they were necessary. ‘Given the circumstances of rapidly-growing COVID-19 rates across the state, we need to do everything we can to keep Members, their families, staff, and the public safe.’”

So far, no word from either house on committee hearing protocols.


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Trina Lai
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by Trina Lai and Tonia Wang, Co-Chairs

During this past year, the Los Angeles Section – Sustainability Committee (LASSC) has been revitalized under the leadership of Trina Lai and Tonia Wang. They have held monthly meeting (every third Wednesday at 11:30am-12:15pm) to establish direction, hosted speakers and provide value to members. 
CSUN’s Sustainability Center

Before the state was on lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, LASSC went on a tour of the California State University Northridge’s Sustainability Center, which opened in September 2017. The center is a multi-functional space, serving primarily as an expanded central collections location for the campus recyclables. It serves as the public face and administrative hub of the Center for its program and services; as the home of the administrative offices of the Institute for Sustainability; and as a focal point for the University community for educational programs, services and issues related to the environment and sustainability. Some of the key highlights from the tour are the use of daylight harvesting to reduce overhead lighting, operable windows to allow for natural ventilation and connection with fresh air, greywater collection for irrigation, low impact development landscaping, solar panels and vacuum composting toilets. It provided members with an opportunity to see numerous ways to integrate low impact development. 

by Eugene Bass

The California Business and Professions code provides that all civil engineering plans, calculations, specifications, and reports, including documents for structural and geotechnical work, must be prepared by, or under the responsible charge of, a registered civil engineer. The term “responsible charge” directly relates to the degree of control a professional engineer is required to maintain while exercising independent control and direction of engineering work, and to the engineering professional decisions which can be made only by a professional engineer.

Engineering decisions which must be made by and are the responsibility of the engineer in “responsible charge” are those decisions concerning permanent or temporary works which would create a hazard to life, health, property or public welfare, and may include the selection of engineering alternatives to be investigated and the comparison of alternatives for engineering works, the selection or development of design standards or methods, and materials to be used, the selection or development of techniques or methods of testing to be used in evaluating materials or completed works, either new or existing, the review and evaluation of manufacturing, fabrication or construction methods or controls to be used and the evaluation of test results, materials and workmanship insofar as they affect the character and integrity of the completed work, and the development and control of operating and maintenance procedures. The engineer must also judge the qualifications of technical specialists and the validity and applicability of their recommendations before such recommendations are incorporated in the work.


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