Legislative Action Participation Survey

The Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) is inviting participation in a number of legislatively mandated projects. Each task force and work group leading to a study or report will be conducted prior to the next legislative session. Chief Kidd is looking to identify individuals interested in participating in these projects.  The survey link below provides the opportunity for individuals to express an interest in and willingness to perform the work required for a project. Based upon response levels, each individual who expresses an interest in a particular subject may not be selected due to capacity and coordination issues. We…

Advocacy Update: Relevant Bills

As the 85th legislative  session started, we said, “If nothing other than the budget passes this session, we should consider it a success.” That is still a valid concept because the tenor of the legislature is so very tense, and many of the bills filed have been so contentious, that not only are their chances not good but the advisability of them becoming law are questionable, too. Still, we decided to advocate for several issues, mostly in conjunction with our friends in engineering and contracting. We are well positioned with those jointly sponsored bills, though increasingly nervous about there being…

Advocacy Update: State vs. City

A long-standing political saw seems to be “evolving” in Austin. The old wisdom that the best governing decisions are made closest to home is being challenged with a new twist—that state government protection is needed against local overreach. The apparent “goose v. gander” theoretical inconsistency of applying that same twist to federal-state relations is waved away with: 1) since states had to approve formation of the national government, and created local governments, they rule; and, 2) market stability needs regulatory consistency, which only the state can provide (and the “hodgepodge” of varying local laws and rules only thwarts). As a result, there…

Architects Day Roundup

On February 7, Texas architects descended on the Capitol for a day of legislative action (and snakes!). Uniting behind a slate of priorities, including adequate funding for courthouse preservation, 186 TxA members formed 39 teams to meet with state lawmakers. After a morning briefing at the AT&T Center, architects assembled for a group photo at the Capitol, avoiding a tangle of rattlesnakes in a rotunda in the process. The image launched a thousand quips, and then everyone was off to the races. With packed agendas of meetings, each team met with a few of the Senators and Representatives for their…

This Week in Advocacy— HB 2170: Where Does Implied Warranty Belong?

For 110 years, Texas has relied on the same liability precedent when it comes to assigning responsibility between owners, contractors and architects. This precedent established by a 1907 Texas Supreme Court decision in the Lonergan case, which decided, “In the absence of an express contractual warranty running from the owner to the contractor that the plans were sufficient to construct he building, the contractor bears the risk of all losses arising from defects in the plans and specifications” (Sean M. McChristian, “Moving from Mastec to Metcalf). This decision, however, has been in conflict with a 1918 United States Supreme Court decision in…

Legislative Preview

With a new legislative session just beginning, David Lancaster, Hon. AIA, Senior Advocate, runs down some issues that could impact architects during this year’s Regular Session, which runs through Memorial Day. Big Picture Items Budget: With fewer dollars to spend on governing than two years ago, we could feel the impact, not only on huge, emotional items that have been well covered in the press, like Child Protective Services shortages and reforming public education funding, but also for smaller items like courthouse preservation, one of our priority issues. Who’s Calling the Shots? As big a question as the money is whether or not…

Top 5 Reasons YOU (Yes, You) Should Go to Architects Day

1. You don’t have to know how to lobby. Experts and your colleagues will tell you all you need to know Tuesday morning before we head to the Capitol in teams of four. You will not be alone, and you do not have to speak if you are not comfortable. 2. Elected officials want to hear from “real people,” especially those from their districts. A State Rep or Senator will place more weight on a message that is coming from his or her voters. If the message is shared by a large group of constituents (like our alliance of architects,…

Advocacy Update: Sprint to the Finish

What a week it was, and it was only the start of our “85th Sprint to the Finish!” We had six bills that we consider part of our package heard in committee, and a seventh was posted for a hearing on the following Monday, April 24. Monday’s bill is HB 2343, our “Right to Repair” language that was identified on Architects Day back in February as one of our top three priorities. While time is short, we finally have our shot—and intend to make the most of it. All six bills that were heard had no apparent opposition, which is very important…

Advocacy Update: When We Do The Numbers

There is a primary run-off election on May 24.  VOTE—in the same primary you voted in last month!  (If you did not vote in the March 1 primary election, you can still vote in the run-off, so long as you are registered by April 25.)  After May 24, you can relax until fall.  Looking ahead, there are officially 16 Senate and 150 House seats up for grabs November 8.  A closer look, however, lessens the suspense. We see that only four (4) Senate and 54 House races were not already ultimately decided when a primary winner was chosen.  166 minus…

Webinar: Solar for Independent School Districts

Solar panels – photo by David Monniaux via Wikimedia Commons The Comptroller of Public Accounts State Energy Conservation Office (SECO) will sponsor a webinar hosted by the North Central Texas Council of Governments aimed at providing resources for independent school districts interested in going solar on May 6 at 11:30 a.m.  Architects working with school districts throughout Texas (not just North Central Texas) might benefit from hearing SECO’s solar pitch to local ISDs. According to a release from Comptroller Glenn Hegar, the webinar will cover the following topics: Case studies about two school districts' efforts to go solar National resources available to help…