Appeal from the Order of the State Registration Board for Professional Engineers in the case of Frank Heckert, dated April 1, 1983.
Joseph C. Michetti, Jr., Balducci & Michetti, for petitioner.
Jerome Grossi, Assistant Counsel, with him, David F. Phifer, Chief Counsel, for respondents.
Judges Rogers, MacPhail and Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Rogers.
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Frank Heckert, a licensed professional engineer, has petitioned for review of an order of the State Registration Board for Professional Engineers (board) denying his request for a waiver or extension of a two-year grace period established by the Professional Engineers Registration Law, Act of May 23, 1945, P.L. 913, as amended, 63 P.S. §§ 148-158 (Engineers Law) during which previously licensed professional engineers could receive a professional land surveyor's license without having to meet newly established qualifications to practice land surveying.
Prior to 1979 the Engineer's Law permitted a licensed professional engineer to practice land surveying without a land surveyor's license. The Act of December 13, 1979, P.L. 534, as amended, 63 P.S. § 149(e) (1979 Amendment) amended the Engineer's Law to provide, inter alia, that only persons with a land surveyor's license could practice land surveying. The 1979 Amendment established separate qualifications for eligibility for a land surveyor's license and provided for a two-year grace period during which then licensed professional engineers could apply for and receive a surveyor's license. This grace period expired February 13, 1982.
The petitioner, a licensed professional engineer since 1966, retired from State employment in May, 1978 and began performing land surveys on a part-time basis. In September, 1982 he was engaged to make a survey for a person involved in a boundary dispute and for this reason "double checked" his
[ 82 Pa. Commw. Page 638]
qualifications to perform land surveys. He learned for the first time of the 1979 Amendment and that the two-year grace period had expired. He requested the board to extend or waive the grace period and the board refused.
The petitioner first contends that because he was not given personal notice of the 1979 Amendment prior to the extinguishment of his right to perform land surveys he was deprived of his property without due process of law.
Persons owning property within a state are charged with knowledge of relevant statutory provisions affecting that property. North Laramie Land Co. v. Hoffman, 268 U.S. 276 (1925). When enacting legislation affecting substantial rights, the Legislature need do no more than enact and publish the law, and afford the citizenry a reasonable opportunity to familiarize themselves with its terms and to take action to preserve their rights. See Texaco, Inc. v. Short, 454 U.S. 516 (1982). "In this case, the two year grace period included in the . . . statute forecloses any argument that the statute is invalid because . . . [professional engineers] may not have had an opportunity to become familiar with its terms." Id. at 532.
The petitioner, citing Section 14(n) of the 1979 Amendment, 63 P.S. 151(n), next contends that the board had an implied duty to give personal notice of the 1979 ...