He Is An Engineer.

After a two-year legal gauntlet, Mats Jarlstrom is given his due

Not only has engineer Mats Jarlstrom won his case, but he’s now officially changed a law that was admittedly…ridiculous. “I am an engineer” can now be said in the state of Oregon by anyone who considers themselves one.

We reported on Jarlstrom first back in May 2017; but our most recent update was in December ’17, when a Portland city court found Mr. Jarlstrom correct in claiming that the Oregon State Board of Examiners for Engineering and Land Surveying was unlawful in penalizing him for practicing engineering without a license and stating he was an engineer. His lawsuit was successful, and the fine was revoked. The case is now complete beyond just negation of the fine, however; it has forced the state’s wording to be changed by finding it unconstitutional. The legal battle stems from a 2013 traffic violation. So he’s essentially just won a five-year struggle over $500–and the right to practice engineering without a license. Not the video below from a local Oregon news station highlighting the dark, abstract nature of the case is from a year ago–when Jarlstrom was in the thick of his court proceedings after officially challenging that the State of Oregon “doesn’t own the word ‘engineer'”.

As VICE’s Motherboard channel detailed this week, Jarlstrom wisely turned the case into a free speech issue by challenging the law that punished specific wording. “I am an engineer”, written in his initial e-mail combatting his wife’s fine and offering mathematical solutions to Beaverton’s yellow light timetables, he argued, is not something that warrants fine by law. By noticing, and later emphasizing, the First Amendment aspects of the case as it developed, Jarlstrom shed light on the partial absurdity of the state’s nomenclature: only those who were board certified professional engineers by the state of Oregon could legally call themselves “engineers” in the state of Oregon? C’mon. Jarlstrom has a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. A bulk of his career involves electronics associated industries. Just because these took place in Sweden and he isn’t board certified in Oregon, does that make him less of an engineer? More importantly, is he really not allowed to make that simple statement without getting fined by the state?

He sued the state’s engineering board and, last week, a US District Court judge for the District of Oregon ruled that the state’s law is unconstitutional.

One Response to “He Is An Engineer.”

  1. Well done Mats. Congratulations. I hope you have been well.

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