Posts

Advocacy Update: 2016 Election — Who We Are Supporting

​ Most elections these days are effectively decided in the primaries; more legislative races are over once the primary winners are determined in the spring than in the November general election. When did this become the case — and why? In Texas, two watershed, off-cycle (non-presidential) elections in 2002 and 2010 confirmed in the House of Representatives what was already evident in the Senate and statewide offices — Texas is now solidly (if not overwhelmingly) Republican. Those Republican landslide elections made the party margins in both chambers about 2-to-1 Republican over Democrat.  ​Texas State Capitol building – photo by istockphoto Both…

Advocacy Update: Getting “Trump-ed” by Negative Politics? Don’t Let It Get You Down.

​ At the most basic level, being an active citizen is really easy — just register and vote.  This year to vote in the Texas primary election you must be registered to vote by next Monday, February 1. Your Texas Primary Election Day is March 1, and early voting begins February 16th through February 26th. You can vote for a candidate, party, or political philosophy — or you can vote against overblown, nasty rhetoric, and bombastic non-responses by those who seek your support without really doing anything to earn it. But since most candidates are effectively elected in party primaries rather…

Advocacy Update: Understanding Texas’ Political Climate

As many of you know, the Texas Society of Architects (TxA) maintains an active government relations presence through our involvement in the Texas Architects Committee (TAC) and several additional advocacy-charged committees. In my latest meeting with the Government Affairs Steering Committee (GASCOM), Kathy Grant, one of TxA’s contract lobbyists, shared several interesting documents outlining the Texas political landscape. Whether at the state or local level, an understanding of the Texas politics and electoral results is crucial. Those who are elected and hold office determine budget allocations and taxes for the next legislative session. These decision makers dictate regulatory practice, which…

Advocacy Update: The New World of Texas Politics — What It Means for You

About a week after the March 4th primary election, I addressed AIA Dallas’ Emerging Professionals leadership class where I asked them how many had voted. Of the 30 people in the room, only two hands went up — and one of those was mine! That’s about a 6.6% participation rate — abysmal, though unfortunately not that far off the statewide percentage. To make matters worse, three Dallas-area legislators — all genuine supporters of the profession with numerous architect friends and truly qualified, intelligent solons — lost their races by a margin of less than 1%. As if it isn’t obvious already, the…

Advocacy Update: Robinson Wins!

David W. Robinson, AIA, was elected to the Houston City Council, At-Large #2 post in last Saturday’s (December 14) run-off. As expected, it was a close race with only three percent (3%), or 33,000 voters, returning to the polls. Various Get-Out-The-Vote (GOTV) efforts made the difference: Robinson beat the incumbent, Andrew Burks, by roughly 500 votes. The position is a two-year term, so we have a duly-elected Citizen Architect helping to lead the nation’s fourth largest city for at least that long. Congratulations, David! You’ve done all those architects who voted for you proud, and we know you’ll do a great job as a…

Advocacy Update: SAC Fingerprinting Requirements

The Society's Senior Advocate David Lancaster, Hon. AIA, shares the Society's position on the Sunset Advisory Commission's fingerprinting requirement passed during the 83rd Legislative Session. The recommendation was part of the TBAE Sunset review bill. Pardon the pun, but the 2013 legislative issue that has left the biggest imprint on AIA members has unquestionably been fingerprinting. We’ve heard more from members on that requirement, which is a Sunset Advisory Commission “boiler-plate” recommendation for every licensing agency going through its routine periodic Sunset review, than we have any other practice-related issue. Important details to remember about this new requirement: 1) it doesn’t…

Advocacy Update: Eight Weeks To Go!

Advocacy updates are provided by Texas Architects Senior Advocate David Lancaster, Hon. AIA Capitol Complex – courtesy State Preservation Board As usual, activity at the Texas Capitol speeds up greatly in late March and April.  So far, the Society’s focus has been in three general areas: Sunset bills, especially HB 1717 relating to the Board of Architectural Examiners (TBAE), and HB 2107, relating to the Facilities Commission (TFC); Bills aimed at improving the Public Private Partnership (P3) law and ensuring a Master Plan with appropriate design standards for the Capitol Complex, with particular attention on SB 507 A plethora of…

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…