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Photo by Elizabeth Hackler

Architects Plan Advocacy Day at Capitol For Grass-Roots Lobbying of Legislators a u s t i n On Jan. 25, the Texas Society of Architects/AIA will sponsor its first Advocates for Architecture Day at the State Capitol, an event that is expected to attract 200 architects for individual constituent-legislator conferences. With the event taking place during the first weeks of the biannual Texas Legislature, the agenda calls for the architects to meet with elected officials to advocate for their support of measures intended to enhance the built environment and maintain the integrity of the architectural profession. A training session that morning will prepare the architects with information to bolster their presentations, focusing on the overall value of architectural services for public projects such as schools and other taxpayer-financed facilities. They also will be briefed on an expected state budget shortfall and its potential impact on the architectural profession. Estimates of the anticipated shortfall range as high as $25 billion, a historic figure that is likely to prompt lawmakers to look at every conceivable means for cutting expenses and raising revenues. “The 2011 legislative session will be a tough one,” says Yvonne Castillo, general counsel for the state’s AIA component, in explaining the rationale behind the grass-roots lobbying effort. “TSA expects proposals to tax professional services, weaken qualifications-based selection in procuring architectural and engineering services, and a host of other measures that purport cost savings to the state.” “We have issues to advocate,” Castillo explains. “We want passage of at least three important bills: first, our alternative project delivery bill that will provide consistency in project delivery methods and will address current misuses of the law; second, our high-performance building standards bill that requires state buildings, and perhaps other public buildings, to be designed and constructed to be more energy-efficient and economical to operate; and third, supporting any and all bills that maintain the small business tax exemption at $1 million.” The overall goal for hosting Advocates for Architecture Day is to demonstrate to lawmakers that architects are relevant to the Legislature’s policy-making process. “As stewards of the built environment,” Castillo notes, “it is incumbent on the profession to participate.

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The halls of the State Capitol will resound with the footsteps of 200 architects on Jan. 25 during the opening weeks of the 82nd Texas Legislature. Sponsored by the Texas Society of Architects/AIA, Advocates for Architecture Day will educate state lawmakers on issues relative to the profession.

Engineers, interior designers, landscape architects, and a number of contractor groups host their own lobby days and have been doing so for quite some time. It’s time for architects to do the same and if architects fail to participate in the legislative process, other industries will happily jump at the opportunity to make important decisions for us,” Castillo states. A s of m id-Decem ber, more t h a n 200 architects had registered for the Jan. 25 event.

Many will travel alone to Austin from around the state, while at least two groups – from AIA Dallas and AIA Houston – will make the trip on a chartered bus. To participate in Advocates for Architecture Day, contact TSA’s Ted Kozlowski at (512) 478-7386 or govaffairs@texasarchitect. org. Access more information at T A

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Texas Architect 2011 Jan/Feb: Education  

Texas Architect is the official publication of the Texas Society of Architects, each edition features recently completed projects and other...

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