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AIA Florida Legislative Day
EVENT RECAP
January 25th, 2022

Tallahassee

2022 Legislative Days Recap

AIA Florida Legislative Days took place on January 25 in Tallahassee’s Capitol complex. The face-to-face meetings with Florida Legislators were back this year, albeit with optional mask protection. This year’s business-as-usual meeting opportunities were much welcomed following last year’s virtual sessions. Despite the ongoing challenges of the current pandemic, we are grateful that our lawmakers made their offices available to us. We are thankful to still have the opportunity to engage with the legislators to advocate for our profession. Perhaps next year, we’ll be represented with a larger AIA Orlando contingent in a return to the Bus trip to the Capitol.

 

Take a look at this year’s AIA Florida’s Poster titled “Empower & Elevate” that celebrates Florida’s built environment as the foundation on which our future grows. Artistic linework depicts the iconic buildings representing each of the 13 AIA Florida components including Flagler College, Tampa’s Plant Hall, Century tower at UF, NASA’s VAB, and of course the Magic Kingdom’s Cinderella Castle.

 

Take note of the highlighted Legislative Issues. These are the topics we discussed with the legislators.

 

  • Architect Education Minority Assistance Program – Minorities are underrepresented in the architectural profession amidst high cost of education and long rigorous path toward professional licensure. AIA Florida supports the bills establishing scholarships for minority architecture students. This program is modeled after the Clay Ford Scholarships for CPAs. The funding for this scholarship program would come from existing license fees already paid by architects, and is not seeking any new funds. This program would encourage minority students to complete their degree and licensure process.

 

  • Consultants’ Competitive Negotiation Act – A proposed bill removes language requiring that an agency ensure equitable distribution of contracts among qualified firms. CCNA ensures the best overall project delivery, cost management and owner satisfaction. Public entities that use qualifications-based procurement methods for these services are better able to control construction costs and achieve a consistently higher degree of project satisfaction. Enacted by the Florida Legislature in 1973, the CCNA is the gold standard across the country and adopted by other states. AIA Florida opposes the proposed bills and any legislation that may seek to weaken this QBS procurement process.

 

  • Existing Building Inspections – In the aftermath of the tragedy at the Champlain towers in Surfside, several bills are proposed to establish a uniform inspection standard for existing buildings. The bills propose inspection time periods and types of building required to be inspected. AIA Florida supports the adoption of a statewide building inspection standard to prevent future tragedies by ensuring structures are well maintained. The inspection standard should consider the whole structure, including the building envelope.

 

  • Resiliency – A bill proposes to create statewide Office of Resiliency in the Executive Office of the Governor. Florida is uniquely vulnerable to the ever-increasing threats from water – storm surge, rainfall, urban runoff, seasonal high groundwater, tidal floods and sea level rise. The Resilient Florida Grant program is available to counties, municipalities, and other districts to analyze and plan for the climate related impacts. AIA Florida supports the adoption of this bill, as architects are uniquely qualified as multidisciplinary thinkers and designers of the built environment to advise on the impacts and offer creative solutions to Florida’s climate crisis.

 

  • Fairness in Liability – a House bill was proposed which would repeal Chapter 558 of Florida Statutes addressing construction defects, including 558.0035 which provides personal liability protections for design professionals employed by a business entity. This statute section was adopted years ago to reinstate fairness in liability allowing firm owners to negotiate a limitation of liability for professional employees by including specified language in their contracts. Prior to this adoption, case law precedent allowed for individual employees to be sued individually and held personally liable. Under current statute, firms and owners may agree to exclude firm employees from individual liability for negligence for professional services. AIA Florida opposes the repeal of 558.0035.

 

 

 

If you want to do your part and step up to address social equity, think about supporting the Minority Assistance program. Note that only 2% of licensed architects are African-American, well underrepresented. Even less, only 0.3% licensed architects are African-American women…just above 500 have been licensed in American history. If you or your firm pursue public projects, please familiarize yourself with CCNA. For nearly 50 years, this Florida Legislative Act is the gold standard of qualifications and procurement of public projects that other states have copied and modeled after. If you believe in Resiliency in our built environment and all the infrastructure that could be severely impacted, think about drinking water, HVAC, agriculture, and the rebuilding challenge that follows. If you care about professional license and fairness in liability, think about your professional and personal exposure to litigation. If you want to support or oppose legislative issues, think about being an advocate. JOIN the Government Affairs Committee. Help us help you. Let’s make every day, a day of advocacy.

 

Standard Event Information: 

AIA members from across the state of Florida will be meeting with Florida legislators on Tuesday, January 25, 2022.  AIA Florida is monitoring several bills and key issues, available for your review at 2022 Legislative Issues (aiafla.org) , and AIA Orlando representatives will meet with our legislators in Tallahassee this month.  We are interested in your input into this process, and to that end, we would like to know your opinion as to the key architecture-related issues our representatives should discuss with our legislators.  Please tell us in very specific terms, and include any relevant background information here..(form link)

 

Do you want to be more involved in shaping or influencing legislation that impacts architecture, architects and the public? Opportunities abound!  

 

 

  • Next, join us and your colleagues from around the state at AIA Florida’s Legislative Day for Architecture in Tallahassee on January 25th. You can register and make your hotel reservations at Legislative Day (aiafla.org), and you will be automatically connected with an AIA Orlando team that meets directly with our state legislators. You may arrange your own transportation or car pool to and from Tallahassee.

 

  • Finally, even if you cannot make the trip to Tallahassee, we may have the ability to Zoom you in for select legislative meetings. Please let us know if you are interested in participating this way and tell us about your availability on January 25th by completing this form (form link). Otherwise, we may be able to provide you with video of select legislative meetings after they have taken place.

 

Whatever form your personal advocacy takes, rest assured that AIA Orlando is committed to architecture, the professionals, and the public good. We encourage you to join us in this vital advocacy!

All attendees are responsible for their own hotel accommodations.

 

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