The Voice for Texas Architecture

Advocacy Updates

Follow for updates on TxA’s activities in advocating for the profession.

Advocacy Updates

Follow for updates on TxA’s activities in advocating for the profession, during and outside of legislative sessions.

December 1, 2022

2023 Legislative Agenda

Texas Society of Architects established priorities for the upcoming 88th Legislative Session, beginning January 10, 2023. These advocacy priorities reflect the organization’s commitment to creating safe, beautiful, sustainable environments for all Texans. Review our agenda here. 

November 17, 2022

TEA Proposes Rules on School Safety

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) recently posted proposed changes to school safety standards, on Friday, November 11. These proposed rules are in response to a directive from Governor Abbott requesting that TEA immediately prepare additional rules to “ensure that existing school facilities are also held to heightened safety standards” following the May 24 school shooting in Uvalde, Texas earlier this year.

The proposal includes new language on facility operations requirements on access control, communications, exterior door numbering, and visitor management – which would apply to all facilities immediately, rather than being contingent on new construction or renovation. Read the full proposed rules here.

TxA’s School Safety Subcommittee and Government Affairs Steering Committee are currently reviewing the proposed changes and welcome your involvement. The public comment period is open through December 11, 2022. Please share your feedback with our Director of Government Affairs & Advocacy, Becky Walker.

June 23, 2022

School Safety Update

Following the tragic events at Uvalde’s Robb Elementary School, we would like to update our members on TxA’s continuing school safety advocacy. We know as architects, you are experts on the built environment, including schools, and can serve as an important resource for state policymakers. Through our School Safety and Government Affairs Steering Committees, TxA continues to amplify the profession’s voice on this important issue. TxA is committed to continuing to work on education and outreach opportunities for the profession and school districts.

Developments and directives from state leadership following the Uvalde tragedy and TxA’s response included the following:

  • Governor Abbott instructed the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to immediately prepare additional rules to “ensure that existing school facilities are also held to heightened safety standards.” Members with an expertise in this area, including the School Safety Committee, worked to provide recommendations to TEA. This included proposed new language on facility operations requirements on access control, communications, exterior door numbering, and visitor management – which would apply to all facilities immediately, rather than being contingent on new construction or renovation. The agency is currently considering these recommendations and gathering input from other stakeholders before publishing a proposed new rule for public comment later this summer.
  • The Governor directed the Texas School Safety and Security Center to compile a report of campus procedures, including access control procedures, such as single access points, locked instruction room doors, visitor check-in procedures, exterior door locks, etc. TxA has a member representing the profession on that board, and an update on the Governor’s directives was presented at their June 20th meeting.
  • In 2019, TxA researched and published an “Order of Magnitude” document containing key resources on cost estimates and best practices for the legislature. The School Safety Committee is currently working on updates to this document as policymakers consider facilities updates and possible emergency appropriations.
  • Lieutenant Governor Patrick and Speaker Phelan created select committees at the urging of the Governor and have begun holding hearings in both chambers. Earlier this week, the Senate Special Committee to Protect All Texans conducted two days of hearings covering school safety, police training, social media, mental health, and firearm safety. The House Select Committee on Youth Health & Safety is meeting jointly with the Committee on Homeland Security & Public Safety today. TxA provided written testimony to both the Senate and House committees that focused on school safety improvements related to design, construction and renovation of school facilities.

 

Becky Walker | Director of Government Affairs & Advocacy