April 2014


Legislators now have three weeks of session under their belts. Mostly non-controversial bills made their way through committees of origin over the past couple of weeks. Legislators are awaiting the bill filing deadline of 6pm on April 1st before tackling some of what is expected to be the more controversial issues of the session. Much of the fights this session are expected to involve issues pitting business versus trial lawyers, increasing the state minimum wage, and Common Core curriculum, which very few people seem to understand but everyone seems to love or hate. Legislation  to name Grand Couteau as the Sweet Dough Pie Capital and legalizing  day or night hunting of wild hogs on private property are moving through the process.


Speaking of controversial issues, AIA LA was asked to join forces with a coalition of business and trade groups to pass legislation which would require the Louisiana State Uniform Construction Code Council (LSUCCC) to adopt the International Plumbing Code. In addition to AIA LA, this coalition currently includes Associated Builders and Contractors, Associated General Contractors, Louisiana Home Builders Association, LA Manufactured Housing Association, National Federation of Independent Business, and others. AIA LA has been working closely with House Commerce Committee Chairman Rep. Erich Ponti, R-Baton Rouge, in support of his HB 1048--the legislation designed to create the change in the Plumbing Code. HB 1048 was scheduled (along with Rep. Ponti's HCR 35--a corresponding plumbing code resolution) for hearing in House Commerce Committee on Tuesday , April 1st. The bill reported favorably from committee and flushed onto the House floor. Marcel Wisznia, AIA, testified for the legislation. Once the bill is on the  House floor it will be very important for architects to reach out to your contacts in the legislature to urge them to support HB 1048 and HCR 35.  


AIA LA is monitoring a pair of bills authored by Sen. Robert Adley, R-Benton; those bills are SB 468 and SB 552. The first bill, SB 468, is essentially a rewrite of the public bid law. Architects were involved in a task force charged with developing language for this bill. We will monitor its progress throughout session to ensure that our input remains in tact and that adverse amendments are not added along the way. SB 552 by Sen. Adley is sponsored by American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) and permits the early contractor involvement delivery method in public contracts. Neither of these bills have been scheduled for a hearing in Senate Transportation Committee (chaired by Sen. Adley), but that will change in coming weeks. 



Almost 700 members and component staff attended this year's March 19th - 21st annual Grassroots Leadership Conference in Washington D.C.  AIA leaders in attendance were; Alan Broussard, AIA, Daniel Bruce, Jr, AIA, Jeffery Kudla, AIA, Kathleen Gordon, Assoc. AIA, Kyle Smith, AIA, Lisa Nice, AIA, Lynn Robertson, Mischa Farrell, AIA, Paula Peer, AIA, Ron Martinez, AIA, Steve Maher, AIA. 


The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) committed to timely passage of the National Design Services Act (NDSA), which will give architecture students the same relief from crushing student loan debt, already granted to young lawyers, doctors and others - in return for community service. The bipartisan legislation, H.R. 4205, was introduced by Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) and co-sponsored by Rep. Greg Meeks (D-NY), Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI) and Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL)     "Millions of young people aspire to help their communities build a better future - but a lack of opportunity and the crushing cost of education hold them back," said Lynn Robertson, AIA Louisiana Executive Director.  "As a result, the design and construction industry faces a severe shortage of talent at exactly the moment America needs to rebuild for the future."

"The National Design Services Act will help promote sustainable economic development and jobs by ensuring aspiring architects are able to gain valuable experience while giving back to their communities designing public projects such as schools, health clinics, housing facilities and libraries," said Steve Maher, AIA, Gulf States Regional Director. "In return, the bill will alleviate some of the barriers new students face as they pursue their dreams in architecture."    
Student debt is one of the most critical issues facing the economy - not to mention the next generation of design professionals. Roughly 40 million Americans owe $1.2 trillion in student-loan debt, an amount that surpasses every other type of household debt except mortgage debt. Architecture student graduates come out of school with approximately $40,000 in student loan debt, ranking architecture as one of the disciplines with the highest loan balances in the country.

The NDSA eases this burden by providing loan assistance to architecture students and recent graduates who contribute their design services to underserved areas. The bill would authorize the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to create a program allowing architecture students to work with Community Design Centers in exchange for assistance with their student loans.

As a result, communities will receive a broad range of architecture services that may not have otherwise been available, and architecture graduates will be induced to stay in the profession. For more information on the NDSA and how you can become involved, please visit this link on AIA.org: http://www.aia.org/advocacy/federal/AIAB099522


AIA Louisiana members visited the offices of Louisiana's congressional delegation regarding the NDSA, federal procurement laws on design build projects and promotion of the extension of the Section 179D  energy efficient tax deduction.  The AIA urged Congress to extend the 179D Energy Efficient Commercial Building Tax Deduction, which expired at the end of 2013; and make common sense fixes to make it work better.   Issue Brief 


AIA Louisiana and members urged Congress to update federal laws to improve competition, ensure more businesses can participate and save taxpayers money. Issue Brief


For more information, visit www.aia.org/advocacy


On February 19th, at the Office of the State Fire Marshal in Baton Rouge, design/construction groups and their affiliated licensing boards met to hash out proposed rule changes made by the state Licensing Board for Interior Designers. The board is proposing rule changes that would permit them to oversee extensive interior build out projects without the supervision of an architect.  We advocate the simple position that Louisiana should not allow interior design advocates to put the public welfare in danger by substituting rules for years of rigorous training and education. 


AIA Louisiana was well represented by members of the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Architectural Examiners, as well as, Bill Tudor, AIA, Lisa Nice, AIA and Steve Maher, AIA.  Negotiations are ongoing. Quite simply, interior designers are not trained to be architects, involving knowing how modifying the interior of a building affects the exterior and vice versa.


HB 1048 adopts the International Plumbing Code (IPC) for the commercial construction industry and Part VII-Plumbing of the International Residential Code (IRC) for the home construction industry.

The legislation also transfers the rule and regulation authority from the Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) to Louisiana State Uniform Construction Code Council (LSUCCC).  

to Ken Tipton, AIA, of Tipton Associates for his generous donations to the AIA LA PAC!