AIA Grassroots Leadership & Legislative Conference a huge success…despite the snow!

Submitted by Justin A. Mihalik, AIA, 2015 ArchiPAC Steering Committee Member

grassroots2015_archiThe Grassroots Leadership & Legislative Conference over the years has moved its focus from Leadership to Advocacy and Legislative efforts, and this year was no exception.  More than 800 AIA members attended the Conference and were trained on this year’s Legislative Agenda.  In addition, AIA Leaders raised $57,000 for ArchiPAC, exceeding the goals for the Conference!  If you have not donated, it is never too late, click here! Thank you to all those AIANJ members who did contribute as we are in full swing to exceed our goals for this Legislative season.

Here is a synopsis of the Talking Points for the Capitol Hill visits.  The full version can be downloaded here

Issue 1: Promote the Preservation of Historic Buildings and Spaces

  • On average, the credit leverages 5 dollars of private investment for every 1 dollar in federal funding, creating highly effective public-private partnerships.
  • A number of Senators and House members, led by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) and
  • Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), are working on legislation to improve the historic tax credit.  We need to urge our Legislators to work with them.

Issue 2: Help Communities Prepare to Withstand Natural Disasters and other Hazards

  • Strong building codes are the first line of defense, protecting human life and reducing property damage when disasters strike.
  • The Safe Building Codes Incentive Act, H.R. 1878/S924, introduced in the previous Congress, would increase federal contributions following a major disaster to states that adopt and enforce the most recent version of a nationally recognized model building code.

Issue 3: Invest in the Next Generation of Leaders

  • A 2012 survey by the American Institute of Architecture Students showed that graduating architecture students carry much higher undergraduate student debt- $40,000 on average- than graduates in many other professions.  If these graduates cannot find work, they will leave the profession.
  • The AIA is working with Rep. Perlmutter’s office to reintroduce a bipartisan bill, the National Design Services Act, to extend to architecture graduates student debt relief in exchange for work underserved communities.  This bill was introduced in the previous Congress as H.R. 4205.  We urge our Legislators to support this bill upon its reintroduction

Issue 4: Oppose the Repeal of Federal Energy-Saving Goals

  • Architects support consensus energy efficiency legislation that will make meaningful improvements to current law.
  • Last year, nearly a thousand companies and organizations signed a letter to Congress opposing repeal of Sec. 433.
  • AIA urges Senators to oppose the repeal of the federal 2030 targets in the upcoming Portman-Shaheen energy efficiency bill.

AIA Leaders from across the nation took to Capitol Hill, even some when Federal offices were closed, to meet with their Representatives to urge them to support these important issues.  Due to the closing of Federal offices, AIANJ members were not able to meet with all of our Representatives so we will working on an Advocacy day here in NJ.  If you are interested in being an Advocate, please join the Advocacy Network by clicking here!  If you have any questions please contact Justin Mihalik, AIA at [email protected].

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