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…

The 86th Texas Legislative Recap

The 86th Texas legislative session, which wrapped up officially May 27, proved successful for the Texas Society of Architects and architects across the state. TxA Government Relations, teamed by David Lancaster and Becky Walker, made headway on several issues and saw four priority bills progress to Governor Abbot’s desk. The Governor has until June 16 to sign, veto, or allow bills to become law without signature. Below is a breakdown of bills supported by the Texas Society of Architects and those which were cause for concern or opposed. Supported* SB 11 By Senator Taylor (signed by Governor on June 6):…

Citizen Architect Rawley McCoy, AIA Running for Mayor

Victoria, Texas architect and business leader Rawley McCoy is running for Mayor. Elections will be held Saturday, May 4, 2019. McCoy, who serves on the Government Affairs Committee of the Texas Society of Architects, has a long history of civic leadership. He has served on numerous city boards and commissions and is a founding member of the Victoria Business and Education Coalition. Over the past 35 years, McCoy has worked with his alma mater, Victoria College, by leading Master Plan efforts and serving for seven years on the school board of Trinity Episcopal School.  After working his way through Victoria…

House Bill 4342 Moves Ahead

Following an April 16 hearing, House Bill 4342 was approved by the House Public Education Committee the next day. HB 4342 now advances with the committee’s full support. HB 4342 would add a licensed architect to the Texas School Safety Center (TxSSC) Board of Directors. TxSSC is the official, university-supported research center at Texas State whose mission is to serve schools and communities in creating safe, secure and healthy learning environments. At Tuesday’s hearing Laura Sachtleben, AIA, a nationally recognized education-design architect and 2019 chair of the School Safety Work Group, testified on behalf of the Texas Society of Architects…

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,…