Government Affairs

State Government Network Meeting Notes: 7.11.16

Speak Up: AIA’s Advocacy Converence Notes: 7.13.16

group photo2016 accomplishments – NATIONAL

  • Representatives attended “Grassroots Leadership Conference” in Detroit, Michigan in February. Participating were Bill Segrest, Rob Walker, Bruce Herrington, and Renee Kemp Rotan. Birmingham Mayor William Bell was a panel member at the Conference.
  • Attended inaugural “SpeakUp!” workshop in Washington, DC in July. Participating were Lauren Gwaltney, Rob Walker, and Bruce Herrington. Rob and Bruce visited with members of Congressman Palmer’s staff and Senator Sessions’ staff.
  • Attended the State Government Network (SGN) in July. Bruce Herrington participated.

2016 accomplishments – STATE

  • Prison Bill. A bill to authorize an $800m bond issuance to fund design/construction of 4 prisons was introduced. These included authorization for “alternative delivery” (CMR or D/B) for these structures. Phil Black, Don Brown, and Bruce Herrington – along with Rob Walker – successfully modified the ‘alternative delivery’ language in the final version of the bill. The bill was ultimately not passed.
  • Historic Preservation Tax Credits. Although AIA Birmingham’s efforts and collaboration with numerous other organizations, the Tax Credits were not reauthorized. Word on the street is that they will be reauthorized during the 2017 Legislative session.
  • “Anti-LEED” Bill.
    • Governor Bentley rescinded his Executive Order in January, a few days prior to the Legislative Session. There was no bill related to this during the legislative session.
    • LEED v4 offers alternative means of getting points/credits for non-FSC-timber. This has effectively curtailed the timber industry’s dissatisfaction. The timber industry was a 2016 sponsor of GreenBuild.
    • AIA Birmingham ensured the Birmingham Business Alliance maintained this issue on its ”Monitor” Agenda, in case the timber industry brings it up again.
  • “Construction Manager at Risk” (CMR) and “Design/Build” bill
    • A bill dedicated to CMR or Design/Build – to authorize their use on public projects in Alabama – was not introduced in the Legislature this year.
    • See “Prison Bill” below.

2016 accomplishments – LOCAL

  • Birmingham’s proposed “Character-Based Zoning Ordinance.” The City has established a public comment period for the proposed Ordinance changes/additions, and is holding scheduled meeting approx every 2 weeks for review. The Character-Based Ordinance appears to be overreaching and too  specific; it appears to dictate design rather than providing parameters for design. Richard Simonton, Mike Gibson, Alex Krumdieck, and Bruce Herrington have attended meetings last fall to review and discussed the proposed additions to the Zoning Ordiance. Richard is heading up AIA Birmingham’s official response, which could be lengthy.
  •  Expanded awareness and involvement. Team members met with Mayor Zaragosa and City Manager Jeff Dunn (Vestavia) to inform them of how AIA Birmingham can assist their municipalitiies.  (Team members are scheduling meeting with mayors of Vestavia, Mountain Brook, Hoover, Homewood, Trussville, and possibly others.  A meeting with Mayor Maddox of Tuscaloosa should also be held.)  Keith Starnes is heading up the scheduling of these meetings for January and February.
  • Association representation. Bruce Herrington continues to represent AIA Birmingham in the Birmingham Business Alliance’s ‘Government Affairs Committee’.
  • During a meeting with Mayor Bell in May 2016, he asked AIA Birmingham to focus its efforts on the following items/issues, which continue to be moved forward:
    • Moving the “Green Birmingham Award” forward toward passage as an ordiance.
    • Reconvening the IgCC review team with City representatives.
    • Investigation into creating ecodistrict(s) in Birmingham.
      See below for outcomes/progress.
  •  Green Birmingham Award (GBA).
    • In 2014, the Award was divided into 2 initiatives – a “recognition award ordinance” for buildings that have been sustainably designed and constructed; and a “financial incentives ordinance” for buildings that meet sustainable design/construction milestones.
    • A portion of the Green Birmingham Award was included in the City’s modified Zoning Ordinance, passed in November.
    • Team members include Roman Gary and Bruce Herrington.


    • The “ecodistrict” initiative within the City has transformed into more of an Innovation District initiative. REVBirmingham was asked to head up the effort. Unusually, this appears to have been done without knowledge of some of the City staff.
    • Bruce Katz (Brookings Institution) spoke at the BBA’s ‘President’s Luncheon’ on 12/6. BBA President Ray Watts MD formally announced the planning for Birmingham’s Innovation District but did not reveal details.
  • International Green Construction Code (IgCC) review. Marshall Anderson and his “review team” completed its IgCC review in summer 2016. AIA Birmingham needs to determine a way to confirm and “assent” to the review team’s recommendations.

2017 probable targets/initiatives

  • National
    • Attend Grassroots Conference / Washington
    • Attend SpeakUp! in Denver in July.
    • Monitoring the need for involvement in the Anti-LEED issue(s).
    • No other known “threats” at the National
    • Issues on the AIA National website:
      1. Procurement and project delivery – Reform procurement laws that stifle competition
      2. Business of architecture – Help small firms thrive; Promote preservation of public buildings and spaces; Promote financing for energy efficient buildings: et al
      3. Global practice – Promoting American architects abroad
      4. Career issues – Relieving student debt
      5. Sustainability – Oppose Federal repeal of Energy-saving goals, et al
      6. Communities – Invest in our nation’s infrastructure
      7. Design – Oppose the use of stock plans for schools
      8. Building codes – Help communities prepare for natural disasters
  • State. The following bills / initiatives will be monitored during 2017.  Note that Don Brown and Gary Greenshields are very involved in Legislative Affairs at the State level.  Larry Vinson (Executive Director of the Alabama Council AIA) continues to assist also.
    • Historic Preservation Tax Credit Bill (support)
    • Prison Bill (ensure the best alternative delivery language is included)
    • CM at Risk and/or Design/Build
    • Any “Anti-LEED” bill(s). Regardless of the recent moderation of the timber industry’s actions, it may re-tool its bill and propose that third-party rating systems be consensus-based and ANSI
    • Certificate of Merit
    • Mechanics Lien Law
    • Tax Credits for Businesses that fund apprenticeships.
  • Local. Continue with the above-described initiatives:
    • Continue participation in review/response to Birmingham’s Character-Based Zoning Ordiance.
    • Expanded awareness and involvement via visits to mayors of surrounding cities.
    • IgCC review (will probably utilize this as a message to take to the Mayors on a follow-up visit.)
    • IECC (International Energy Conservation Code), which works hand-in-glove with the IgCC.
    • Green Birmingham Award
    • Innovation District / Ecodistrict


Archi-PAC was established to strengthen the collective voice of architects in Alabama, the political action committee for members. Contributions to Archi-PAC are strictly voluntary and funds collected through the PAC are earmarked for financial support for those candidates who are supportive of the design and construction industry in Alabama.

Support your profession by contributing to Archi-PAC Alabama. To make a contribution contact Larry Vinson at 1-800-239-5545, or mail your check payable to:

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