Monday, April 11, 2011

Advocacy Update: Week 12

Yvonne Castillo
TSA General Counsel

This week ran the gamut of issues. Here are the highlights of bills heard in Committee:  

• a bill exempting buildings owned by religious organizations from accessibility standards,

• a negotiated bill between Texas Society of Architects and the Texas Society of Professional Engineers. Dan Hart and the President of the Texas Society of Professional Engineers appeared side-by-side at the podium to explain what the bill does. This has been a difficult negotiation on the AE overlap issue with a 20+-year history and both organizations have reached agreement. While the bill was left pending and we expect it to be voted out within days, the bill appears to be headed for the Local and Consent calendar, which is “Leg (as in Legislative) talk” for “it’s going to move quickly out of the House and on to the Senate,”

• several bills were heard that would give architects, as the prevailing party, the ability to recover attorneys fees,

• preservation funding bills,

• economic development and a slew of generally captioned “fiscal matters” bills that are ripe to be vehicles for potential increased occupation fees or other business-impacting concerns,

• a bill that would repeal the “interior design title act” from a “government efficiency standpoint.”

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