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Engineering-degree plan pulled

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Gov. Mike Leavitt may be a big proponent of increased university focus on engineering degrees in Utah, but in at least one arena that enthusiasm is not shared by some state lawmakers.

Conservative Senate Republicans are set to kill SB79, which would require land surveyors to have four-year engineering degrees to demonstrate they have mastered the increasingly technical field of land surveying, which now involves satellites and computers. The Utah Society of Engineers supports the bill as a way to weed out shoddy surveyors who don't know what they are doing and whose work often results in lawsuits.

Rural senators balked at that.

"I have a problem when we start narrowing the field to where you must have a bachelor's degree" to perform a government function, said Sen. Bill Hickman, R-St. George.

Sen. Beverly Evans, R-Altamont, was concerned the requirement would create a shortage of surveyors in rural areas.

As a growing number of Republican senators rose to oppose the legislation, bill sponsor Sen. Gene Davis, D-Salt Lake, quickly pulled the bill from debate.