Architecture Law Reforms to be Signed Today

SB 5529, modernizing Washington’s architecture licensing laws, will be signed into law by Governor Gregoire today.

It has been 25 years since the architecture law last saw major revisions. A lot has changed in the practice since then. This new law will bring the architecture law into the 21st Century. The bill itself is the product of over 6 years of work. The first drafts and reviews of the law started in 2004, shortly after I first came to work for the AIA|WA. Over the next few years a task force was formed, concepts discussed and the bill drafted. A bill was first introduced in 2008 during that year’s 60 day legislative session. During three legislative session the bill was refined. Remarkably, the final law will look very similar to the bill that was introduced back in 2008. There were a few tweaks here and there, but the core framework remains.

AIA|WA is working on a detailed summary of the new law. An update will be sent to the membership in the coming weeks. Right now, we are focusing on finishing the special legislative session that is ongoing in Olympia.

There are a lot of people who deserve credit for this law. At the risk of not mentioning everyone, we would like to acknowledge a few who did yeoman’s work on the bill.

First, Jeffrey Hamlett, AIA, took the lead early on to work on drafting the bill and leading the discussions. He researched most every state’s laws to find provisions that we should emulate in Washington. In 2005, he led a member workshop on the licensing law during the AIA Northwest & Pacific Region Conference in Seattle. He has remained involved for the duration of the effort.

Second, Peter Rasmussen, FAIA, provided legislative testimony and negotiated changes with other organizations. As a former chair of the state’s licensing board and NCARB officer, his knowledge of licensing laws and practices was invaluable during the process (especially when we ran into roadblocks).

Third, Dave Huotari, AIA, and his colleagues at AIA Spokane did outstanding work in heading off problems that arose from that area of the state. They were able to remove a major roadblock by working a key legislator to garner his support for the bill.

Fourth, the members of the Board for Architects (licensing board), were very supportive and helpful in providing feedback on the needs to be addressed in the legal reforms and input as to the feasibility of implementing its provisions.

Next, there have been many officers and board members cycle through  the AIA|WA in the last few years and members of the AIA|WA Practice Resource Group who have contributed to the ultimate framework and success of this new law. They are too many to mention, but we thank them all for their input, guidance and advocacy efforts.

Finally, AIA|WA thanks the legislative sponsors. Former Senator Fred Jarrett worked very hard for this bill during his tenure. He took another position as Deputy King County Executive this year, but stayed in touch as the bill progressed. When he left the Senate, Senator Curtis King stepped in as the other Senate cosponsor to move the bill through the process.

We had a House companion to this bill, too, HB 1634. Representative Scott White was the prime sponsor there. He worked very hard on this bill over the last two years. We asked him to sponsor a bill that at the time had no opposition and was to be a nice easy bill for a freshman work on. As it turned out, problems kept popping up. He met every challenge and worked tirelessly with us to resolve concerns and keep the bill moving.

And, we also appreciate the work of the other House cosponsors: Jim Jacks, Christine Rolfes, Bruce Chandler, Reuven Carlyle, Marko Liias, Larry Crouse, Hans Dunshee and Steve Conway.

Of course, we should also mention the hundreds of AIA members who responded to our action alerts over the last 3 legislative sessions. Their grassroots support of the bill made it easier to lobby for in Olympia. An association is only as good as its members. We have some great members and their efforts will last for many years in the form of the new law.

Again, thank you to everyone who helped to craft and pass this new law. While this part of the effort will conclude tomorrow, the next phase is beginning. We will start working with the licensing board on the rulemaking necessary to implement the bill. Some of the bill’s provisions will take effect this year, some next year and a few in 2012. Look for a detailed review soon.

1 comment:

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