2015 State Government Network Conference Report
By Bob Fincham, AIA
The AIA State Government Network (SGN) Annual Conference was held June 25th and 26th in Teton Village (Jackson Hole area), Wyoming. Both Terry Humphrey and I were able to represent AIA Kansas at the conference.
SGN was established in 1991 and thus in 2015 this organization is celebrating its 25th year of service. The purpose of SGN is to give state components resources and materials necessary to advocate effectively within state government and to encourage communication between components. The National AIA Government Advocacy Staff works continuously to develop policies, procedures and models to help state and local components to better advocate in their government affairs. Through its online network, SGN also provides for the sharing of information by individual AIA components.
- Proposed changes to AIA Public Policies and Position Statements were reviewed and discussed including:
- Mandatory Continuing Education as a non-requirement for emeritus architects
- Licensure of Interior Designers
- Use of the title Architects and its derivatives such as “intern architect”
- Project delivery methods
- Panel discussion on Public Procurement:
- Mississippi was able to defeat potential legislation that would have turned positive A/E selection reform into competitive bidding for A/E services.
- Tennessee kept legislation that provides for cooperative purchasing from eliminating the State’s procedures for QBS of A/E services.
- Alaska works to keep design competitions for large State projects as an equitable process for selecting A/E firms.
- A brief discussion was held on P3 (Public Private Partnerships) as a procurement method that utilizes private development funding for public projects. This procurement method seems to be gaining momentum, especially given the current economic shortfalls occurring across the nation.
- Presentation and panel discussion on NCARB updates and licensing trends
- NCARB is working to provide a more integrated path to licensure regarding education, experience and examination. After many years, use the special design program for the design examination will be eliminated. The continuing education requirements will be standardized, which will benefit architects licensed in multiple states. IDP is being modified to have six practice based experience areas so as to align with the ARE.
- Case studies were presented and discussed regarding licensure successes in several states, including defeat of interior design licensure.
- Several National Government Advocacy Staff members turned a presentation on sustainability, codes and disaster assessment into a game of “Jeopardy”.
- Horse drawn wagons then took us to a “chuck wagon” dinner complete with local musicians and a participatory ax throwing demonstration.
- Day two began with a presentation by Andrew Goldberg on how to build a “Culture of Advocacy” in our local government advocacy programs.
- Christina Mason presented ideas on how state and national advocacy programs can work cooperate for the mutual benefit of advancing our advocacy objectives and goals.
- Cindy Schwartz presented ideas on how to build legislative capacity by sharing ideas between AIA National and state components.
- The final session was by Dr. Steve Billet on the Nationalization of US Campaign Finance laws. Reforms to campaign finance laws allow for the creation of Super PACs. The laws vary from state to state but in many cases Super PACs allow for contributions by both individuals, as well as, corporations with varying contribution limits or required reporting. AIA components could create Super PACS, either on their own, or with other organizations.
Overall this was a very good conference in a beautiful setting. All participants came away from the conference with more knowledge about government advocacy. For more information on SGN and the 2015 Conference follow this link: http://www.aia.org/advocacy/state/index.htm