Monday, May 23, 2011

Week 18: Advocacy Update

Yvonne Castillo
TSA General Counsel

Last week we activated our grassroots efforts twice on (1) a proposal that would have consolidated the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners with the Texas Board of Professional Engineers and (2) another proposal that would have created a statewide stock school plans program. Thanks to those of you who participated in our grassroots alert! You voice made a difference and helped us defeat both…at least for now. There’s a week left in the Session and anything could happen.

On another note, we’ve been successful in getting some favorable language added to three separate bills that will help design professionals who choose to pursue federal tax deduction opportunities that were authorized by the Energy Policy Act of 2005. One of which, I’ll admit, surprised me – House Bill 51 – the sustainable design bill. I personally didn’t think that the bill had a chance this Session because of past fiscal concerns and the dire economic budget climate, but indeed the bill has passed the House and the Senate Committee and is moving to the Senate Floor for the full Senate’s consideration.

Lastly, Senate Committee Substitute for HB 2284 is 91% through the process of passage. This is the bill that has been negotiated between the Texas Society of Architects, Texas Society of Professional Engineers and the Council of Engineering Companies. It was voted out of the Senate Committee on Saturday morning (May 21st) and will likely be passed out of the Senate Local Calendar very soon. This bill attempts to clarify the demarcation between architecture and engineering and creates a one-year window for engineers (licensed as of January 1, 2011) to apply to the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners to be on a list of engineers who are authorized to practice architecture without regulatory oversight of the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners.

For information on any of these bills or issues, don’t hesitate to contact me, David Lancaster (Sr. Manager of Advocacy) or Ted Kozlowski (Administrative Assistant for Advocacy) at 512-478-7386.

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