Friday, February 18, 2011

Advocacy Update: Week 5

David Lancaster, Hon. AIA
TSA Senior Director of Advocacy

Unless the Governor has declared them an “emergency,” measures can’t be passed during the first 60 days of a session. So far, with the exception of eminent domain, none of Governor Perry’s emergencies have a direct impact on professional practice. (Please note the distinction, however: anything and everything can be considered during the first 60 days, it just can’t be passed unless it’s an emergency.)

While committees have been named in both chambers, and bills are now being referred and hearings scheduled on a variety of topics (our tracking list is up to 132 bills), the emphasis is still clearly on the budget. Legislative leaders have committed to balancing the budget through cuts rather than increased revenues, which is hopeful news when it comes to taxes affecting the profession.

That could change soon, however, because the first draft of census numbers was released this week, so the difficulties of political self-preservation are quickly coming into sharper focus. Legislators not only heard first-hand how painful many of the proposed budget cuts will be to constituents when they went home last weekend, they’re now seeing how many new constituents they will likely have due to both population growth and where that growth occurred.

What does that mean for you? It means the “legislative attention span” has been compressed even more than before…so the importance of your participation—making your voice clearly heard—is greater. Each week from now until May 30, legislative intensity will increase, and so will the number of specific bills that impact the way you practice. Please be ready to make your voice heard—clearly and personally. Future posts here will list details of the who, how and when to do that.

This week, staff dropped by legislative offices to offer proposed amendments for HB 628, our Alternative Project Delivery (APD) bill, and a liability protection bill, HB 958. We also discussed A/E overlap concerns, the benefits of “life-cycle costing” over “first-dollar expense” in analyzing public building costs, and why investing in design is far more economical than making changes during construction.

No comments: