More than 5,500 state lawmakers and legislative staff from the U.S. and beyond attended the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) annual Legislative Summit in Nashville, Tennessee. The meeting provides a platform for lawmakers, staff, and other public policy professionals to learn from experts, as well as each other, about solutions to the country’s most pressing state issues. ASCE participates in the summit programming each year to encourage a legislative focus on issues of priority to our members.
ASCE enlisted members from the Tennessee Section to staff ASCE’s exhibit booth. Conversations between ASCE and lawmakers focused on State Report Card findings and recommendations and the value of licensing. ASCE members volunteering at the booth were Janey Camp, Ph.D.,P.E.,M.ASCE, Chris Gwaltney, P.E.,M.ASCE, Dustin Scruggs, P.E.,M.ASCE, Monica Sartain, P.E.,M.ASCE, Suzanne Herron, P.E.,M.ASCE, and Justin Corbitt, P.E., M.ASCE.
Sessions of note at the Policy Summit included “Transportation Infrastructure for the 21st Century” and “Addressing America’s Growing Water Quality Crisis.” The transportation session examined whether a changing transportation environment will require a more complete rethink of how we fund our roads, bridges, and transit systems. The programming featured remarks from former House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster, now of Squire Patton Boggs. The session on water quality examined whether federal government and state legislatures were making progress funding clean water infrastructure. Speakers acknowledged that despite limited funding, challenges including lead in pipes and nutrient pollution are significant.
Prior to the Policy Summit, ASCE sponsored and participated in NCSL’s Public Private Partnership on Disaster Mitigation and Recovery summer meeting. Conversations took place between all levels of government and the private sector about how to strengthen response and recovery efforts around the country. The 18-month task force is chaired by Rep. Gregg Takayama, Chair of the Hawaii House Public Safety Committee and Rep. Holly Raschein, member of Florida’s Select Committee on Hurricane Response and Preparedness and Chair of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee. Lawmakers heard how ASCE 7 design requirements can help their built infrastructure better withstand major storms and facilitate recovery efforts after a major incident. Other meeting participants included Mark Harvey, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Resiliency Policy at the National Security Council and Troy Ritter, U.S. Public Health Service Commander at the Center for Disease Control.