BRW was well represented at the Capitol for TSA Advocacy Day. One hundred and seventy architects from the 17 state chapters came to Austin to be trained on issues of this legislative session that will impact our profession. The architects were divided into 30 separate geographic teams that spent the afternoon locating the senator and representative offices in the Capitol. Once found, the team members discussed with the legislators or their aides the concerns and issues of our profession and thanked them for representing us in Austin. For those 35 Dallas architects, it was an exhausting but highly educational day, as we travelled in close camaraderie together by ‘coach,’ left in the dark, and returned in the dark. From our 5:00 a.m. start, we were hosted by Henderson Engineers on the trip down, including a CEU Session on MEP Master Planning. Acme Brick provided the entertainment and beverage service on the trip home.
The issues were many of the same as past sessions. To be always cautious, we re-reviewed many of our frequently debated issues. We have learned from experience any prior decision, legislation passed or victory won can easily be reversed by an aspiring, ill-informed legislator. The topics of QBS, stock school plans, margins tax, sales tax, 3P development, sunset activity, and high performance standards were all addressed.
What was interesting about the tiring day is to consider ‘what was the value?’ Out of the 5 offices our team visited, we met with aides in each case except for one instance, in which the representative appeared briefly and asked us questions rather than hearing our concerns; which can be just as effective. He recognized the architects as a resource for information. The aides, on the other hand, varied from being studious and copious note takers of our issues to ones that smiled graciously, empathized courteously and thanked us wholeheartedly before exiting. With that, why go? Why should we spend our time and energy voicing our issues?
By being present and personally visiting (along with a few other similar associations visiting on this day) we presented our position and demonstrated that we understand the legislative process. We are willing to take the time, as the legislators do, to pursue a more effective government. We offered our experience, knowledge and time to improve the process, life and economy of our state. I believe for each of the 170, half of which came two years ago, it is an experience to better understand the democratic processes and the challenges the legislators face as our elected representatives.
Texas architects are now in a better position to have an impact on the session and preserve the current statues regulating our business environment and many of the ideals we believe important.
POSTED BY: CRAIG S. REYNOLDS, FAIA