Advocacy Update: SAC Meeting Report

Happy 2013…and best wishes for a prosperous, successful year!

This is the first of two reports regarding the latest news from the Sunset Advisory Commission (SAC). At its last meeting of the year, which took place on December 19, the 12-member panel took final action on staff recommendations for the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners (TBAE) and considered staff proposals for the Texas Facilities Commission (TFC).

The Society took exception with only one TBAE-related item: the length of time until the next SAC review. Staff had recommended that it be done in six years, just prior to the 2019 legislative session — half the usual 12-year period between reviews. We urged the Commission to keep it in 2024, which they voted to do. In addition, there will continue to be much more debate regarding whether the State should regulate interior designers, as it has done since 1991. More than five hours of public discussion on this topic took place during the November 13 and December 19 SAC hearings on TBAE — an amazing amount when one realizes that the entire Texas Education Agency debate took less than 45 minutes.

National AIA policy is that only architects and engineers should be considered Registered Design Professionals. At the recommendation of numerous members and volunteer leaders, as well as at the request of several TBAE appointees, we expressed no formal position on the continued regulation of either interior designers or landscape architects.

Of greater interest to the Society was the review of the Facilities Commission, particularly the staff recommendations dealing with public-private partnerships (P3) procurement methods and rules, and with general guidelines concerning TFC procurement and contracting procedures. Our next report will deal with the SAC decisions that will be made at its final pre-83rd Regular Legislative Session hearing next Wednesday, January 9. A copy of the Society’s formal response to SAC staff recommendations submitted prior to the December 19 hearing is attached below or more information. See also the SAC's December 2012 Staff Report (link below).

If you have any questions or comments regarding the Society’s position on the two bills that will result from the SAC’s decisions, please do not hesitate to contact Executive Vice President/CEO James T. Perry, or me.