Government Affairs

2021 Probable Targets/Initiatives

National

  • Have representatives attend the virtual AIA Grassroots Conference (Feb. 16-19)
  • Primary issues of AIA National:
    • Climate Action
    • Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion
    • Infrastructure
    • Immigration & Visa Restrictions
    • Licensure
    • School design and student safety
    • Sexual Harassment
    • Sustainability
  • Other Issues
    • Building Codes
      • Help communities prepare for natural disasters
      • “Resilience”
      • Promote form-based codes
      • IGCC
      • Model permit review processes
    • Business of Architecture:
      • Help small firms thrive
      • Promote preservation of public buildings and spaces
      • Promote financing for energy efficient buildings
      • Protect businesses from tax increases
    • Career Issues:
      • Relieving student loan debt (National Design Services Act)
      • Resisting encroachment into the practice of architecture
    • Communities:
      • Invest in our nation’s infrastructure
      • Promote livable communities
    • Design Matters:
      • Oppose the use of “stock” or standardized plans for schools
    • Global Practice:
      • Promote American architects abroad
    • Procurement & Project Delivery:
      • Reform procurement laws that stifle competition
    • Sustainability:
      • Oppose Federal repeal of energy-saving goals
      • Promote financing of energy-efficient buildings

State

  • AIA will monitor bills / initiatives surrounding the following topics during 2021.
    • Supporting the “Indemnification and Duty to Defend Bill”
    • Oppose issues from past years such as:
      • The “Certificate of Merit” bill
      • CM at Risk and/or Design/Build bill
      • The “Townhouse” bill

Local

  • Birmingham’s proposed “Character-Based Zoning Ordinance”
    • Review and consideration of this Ordinance via a public ‘committee’ began again in late 2017.
    • The City put this into the forefront on 11/30/2020 during an online informational presentation by Calvin Abram of City Hall staff, attended by Edwin Revell and Tim Gambrel. Monitoring this Character-Based Zoning will be wise.
  • Try to strategically approach the Mayor’s office at City Hall, to initiate and grow contact with the administration.
  • Cultivate expanded awareness and involvement via visits to Mayors of surrounding cities.

Government Affairs Team

As much as possible, government affairs initiatives and efforts have utilized many AIA Birmingham members. This gives people an experience (or additional experience) in government affairs while refining the member’s abilities, all while developing leadership in these members. It also identifies persons interested in a more global role in government affairs.

  • Bruce Herrington, Chair – Line Scale Form
  • David Blackmon – Blackmon Rogers Architects
  • Roman Gary – CCR Architecture & Interiors
  • Lauren Gwaltney – Williams Blackstock Architects
  • Nolanda Hatcher – Studio 2H Design
  • Scott Heywood – Ghafari Architects
  • Michael Mann – Turner Batson Architects
  • Ross McCain – Charles Williams & Associates
  • Keith Starnes – Stephen Ward & Associates
  • Robert Thompson – Thompson Architecture, Inc.
  • Rob Walker – Rob Walker Architects

In addition, the following AIA Birmingham members currently serve on the Alabama Board of Architects:

  • Nolanda Hatcher, Studio 2H Design
  • Emily Coe, Thompson Architecture, Inc.

2020 Accomplishments – NATIONAL

  • Chapter was represented at “Grassroots Leadership Conference” in New Orleans, LA in February. Participating were Janine Mwenja, Assoc. AIA, Kyle Stover, Assoc. AIA, Danny Trotter AIA, and Bruce Herrington AIA (4 of the 10 representatives from Alabama).
  • Chapter was represented at the virtual event Architects in Action (online substitute for the State / Local Government Network [SLGN] Conference due to COVID-19) conference on July 14 / 21 / 28. Bruce Herrington AIA co-presented a 3-workshop series with Eric Steva AIA (of AIA KY) on the topic: “Reaching Out to Students and Emerging Professionals”.

2020 Accomplishments – STATE

  • In 2019, AIA Birmingham formally joined a coalition headed by the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) that planned to introduce an “Indemnification and Duty to Defend Bill”. The bill introduced in the 2020 Legislature was sponsored by Senator Clyde Chambliss. There was essentially no action on the bill due to COVID-19.
  • The 2020 Legislative Session was held to only working on essential items of business and bills strongly backed by the Governor. There were no bills that AIA needed to advocate on behalf of.

2020 Accomplishments – LOCAL

  • Association representation. AIA Birmingham continues to be represented in the Birmingham Business Alliance’s ‘Government Affairs Committee’ by Bruce Herrington AIA.

2018 Accomplishments – NATIONAL

  • Chapter was represented at “Grassroots Leadership Conference” in San Diego, CA in March. Participating were Charlie Abrams, Rob Walker, Rhea Williams, and Bruce Herrington.
  • Chapter was represented at the State Government Network (SGN) conference in July. Bruce Herrington participated.
  • In July and August, members visited with Congressmen Palmer (with Legislative Aids), with staff member for Congresswoman Sewell, and with staff member for Senator Shelby. Participating (on 1 or more visits) were Ross McCain, Richard Simonton, Topper Parham, Rhea Williams, and Bruce Herrington.

2018 Accomplishments – STATE

  • Prison Bill. Monitored during Legislative session for bill introduction.  Was ultimately issued as an RFP.
  • Bill Whitaker was appointed by Governor Ivey to represent Alabama’s architects on the Alabama Energy and Residential Codes Board.
  • Nolanda Bearden was appointed by Governor Ivey as a member of the Alabama Board of Architects in the spring.
  • Angela Nash, Emily Coe, and Anne Marie Ellis were nominated by the Birmingham district as candidates for the Alabama Board of Architects in the fall. Emily Coe was appointed by Governor Ivey.

2018 Accomplishments – LOCAL

  • Birmingham’s proposed “Character-Based Zoning Ordinance”. Review and consideration of this Ordinance via a public ‘committee’ began again in late 2017.  One or two meeting s were held, then (to our knowledge) further meetings were not scheduled.
  • Met with Cedric Sparks, Chief of Staff to Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin on April 11. AIA attendees were Charles Williams, Charlie Abram, Ross McCain, Rhea Williams, and Bruce Herrington.
  • Resiliency Stakeholder Summit. Numerous members (10+ ?) attended the City of Birmingham’s Resiliency Stakeholder Summit on August 15.
  • Expanded awareness and involvement. In the past few years, team members have met with Mayors and other leaders of Birmingham’s suburb cities, to inform them of how Birmingham AIA can assist their municipalities. Members reached out to the following cities:
  • Trussville – mayor
    1. We received … “some feedback from him for a follow up with him and one or two members of his staff with our group.”
  • Shelby County – its Manager, Alex Dudchock, and 2 staff members.
    1. He is … “looking into some ideas that he wants to further look into with our group.”
  • Alabaster
    1. When we reached out to him, the Mayor had been “out on vacation and work travel.”
  • Pelham
    1. When we reached out to him, the Mayor had been “out on vacation and work travel.”
    2. Keith Starnes headed up this initiative.
  • Hoover
    1. AIA Birmingham Alicia Pughsley, Danny Trotter, Keith Starnes, Scott Heywood and Rhea Williams met with Mayor Brocato, Sharon Nelson, City Landscape Architect and city planner.
    2. AIA Birmingham will assist with design review criteria.
  • Vestavia
    1. AIA Birmingham Robert Thompson, Rhea Williams and Keith Starnes met with the Mayor and city planner to offer our resources.
  • Mountain Brook
    1. AIA Birmingham Rob Walker, Phil Black, and Rhea Williams met with the mayor and city planner to offer our resources.

Association representation.  Bruce Herrington continues to represent AIA Birmingham in the Birmingham Business Alliance’s ‘Government Affairs Committee’.

AIA Birmingham members meet with Mountain Brook Mayor Stewart Welch.

2017 Accomplishments – NATIONAL

  • Representatives attended “Grassroots Leadership Conference” in Washington DC (March 8-10). Participating were Lauren Gwaltney, Ross McCain, Rob Walker and Bruce Herrington.
  • Ross McCain attended “SpeakUp!” workshop in Denver (July 12-14).
  • Attended the State Government Network (SGN) in Bruce Herrington participated.

2017 Accomplishments – STATE

  • Prison Bill. Monitored bill during Legislative session; proponents did not mount a serious effort for
  • Historic Preservation Tax Actively supported passage of the Historic Tax Credits bill
  • “Anti-LEED” Bill. Monitored any activity on this potential bill; ensured the Birmingham Business Alliance maintained this initiative on its “Monitor Agenda”. Bill was never introduced by allies of the timber industry.

AIA Members meet with Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato.

2017 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 appeared to be overreaching and  too specific; it appeared to dictate design rather than provide parameters for design.  Richard Simonton, Mike Gibson, and Alex Krumdieck attended meetings in the spring to discuss the proposed verbiage. Richard was/is heading up AIA Bham’s official response. The City took a months-long hiatus to modify the proposed changes to be more in keeping with the design & development community’s stated desires. This issue “began again” during the last week of November 2017.
  • Expanded awareness and involvement. Team members met with Mayors and other leaders of the following suburb cities, to inform them of how Birmingham AIA can assist their municipalities:
    • Vestavia – Mayor Ashley Curry, City Manager Jeff Dunn (April)
    • Mountain Brook – Mayor Stewart Welch, City Mgr Sam Gaston, GIS Mgr Hunter Simmons (May)
    • Hoover – Mayor Frank Brocato, City Administrator Allan Rice (June)
    • Meetings with Homewood and Tuscaloosa elected leaders were proposed by AIA Bham; unfortunately meetings did not materialize
  • Association representation. Bruce Herrington continues to represent AIA Birmingham in the Birmingham Business Alliance’s ‘Government Affairs Committee’.
  • Richard Simonton, Marshall Anderson, and Bruce Herrington met with Mayor Bell on 4/12 to review the results of the review of the International Green Construction Code, a joint effort between AIA Birmingham and the City’s Planning, Engineering & Permits
  • Met with Mayor William Bell Sr. (and 2 members of his staff) on April 11. AIA attendees were Lauren Gwaltney (2017 President, AIA Bham), David Blackmon (2017 President, ACFA), Bruce Herrington;  also Rhea Williams and Kathryn Moore.  Meeting held at the ACFA, specifically for Mayor Bell to review the Center’s “Living Small” exhibit.
  • Ecodistricts / Innovation District. In 2016, the “ecodistrict” initiative transformed into an “Innovation District” initiative REVBirmingham headed up an effort known as “Innovate Birmingham”, which actually had a broader target aimed at recruiting innovating companies to Bham.

AIA Advocacy & Relations – 2017 Tax Reform Legislation (1.2.2018)

State Government Network Meeting Notes: 7.11.16

Speak Up: AIA’s Advocacy Converence Notes: 7.13.16

Archi-PAC

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:

Archi PAC Alabama
Post Office 240757
Montgomery, Alabama 36124