October 4, 2018
PHOTO: Photo: Will Wright

From the desk of Will Wright, Hon. AIA|LA
Director of Government & Public Affairs


Are you ready to vote on November 6th?

In less than four weeks we will have the chance to vote on several statewide ballot initiatives that will directly impact the built & natural environment, our communities & neighborhoods and relate quite deeply to the architecture profession as a whole.

As architects and designers, here is your chance to become more familiar with the prospective merits and detriments of each of these ballot measures and to share your perspective with both AIA Los Angeles and AIA California Council.

I look forward to further engaging the profession to become stronger advocates with regards to these ballot measures so that we will have more impact on the outcome of each.

Proposition 1 – Veterans & Affordable Housing Bond Act: Issues $4 billion in bonds for housing programs and veterans’ home loans

Proposition 2 – No Place Like Home Act: Authorizes state to use revenue from millionaire’s tax for $2 billion in bonds for homelessness prevention housing

Proposition 3 – Water Infrastructure and Watershed Conservation Bond Initiative: Issues $8.877 billion in bonds for water-related infrastructure and environmental projects

Proposition 4 – Children’s Hospitals Construction Bond Act: Issues $1.5 billion in bonds for children’s hospitals

Proposition 5 – Property Tax Transfer Initiative: Revises process for homebuyers who are age 55 or older or severely disabled to transfer their tax assessments

Proposition 6 – Eliminates Recently Enacted Road Repair and Transportation Funding: Repeals 2017’s fuel tax and vehicle fee increases and requires public vote on future increases. FYI, the current fuel tax, which was established by the Road Repair & Accountability Act of 2017, is contributing $5.2 billion annually to fix roads, bridges and transit projects throughout the State.

Proposition 10 – Expands Local Government’s Authority to Enact Rent Control on Residential Property: Allows local governments to regulate rent by repealing the 1995 Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act.

Each of these ballot measures has the potential to directly impact the architecture profession.

If you would like to express your perspective on any of these ballot initiatives, please contact me at will[@]aialosangeles.org

We can feature your insight and perspective has editorials on our website.

Over the course of the next few weeks, I will also be sharing my personal observations on the potential impact each of these ballot measures will have on AIA members and the architecture profession.

There are also several city and County of LA initiatives that I will be sharing more insight about, as well.

No matter how you may personally feel about these ballot measures, one thing is clear – it’s vital that architects & designers vote on November 6th.



From AIA California Council:

The 2017-18 Legislative Session has ended and Governor Brown has signed or vetoed the last of the bills sitting on his desk.

With this update we will talk about some of the important issues considered by the Legislature this year, and by the Governor during the last month. We will also update you on the development of our legislative agenda for 2019, and some of the other programs we are working on that will be “up and running” in 2019.

2018 Legislative Update

Governor Signs AB 565
Ric. Abramson, FAIA has done it again. For the second time he has come up with a good idea on how to improve state law. In 2013 Ric. developed an idea to better protect both an architect’s Instrument of Services and the architect. With the help of the AIACC, that idea became a bill that was signed into law.

This year Ric., based on his experience designing and developing a live/work unit, realized that the building standards code needed improved definitions of live/work. Ric.’s proposal was introduced as AB 565 and was signed into law by Governor Brown on Sept. 20.

Sunset Date for Limited Liability Partnerships Extended.
The AIACC and ACEC California jointly sponsored legislation this year to extend the sunset date on the law that allows architectural, engineering, and land surveying firms to organize as Limited Liability Partnerships. Absent our effort A/E/LS firms would have had to reorganize their business structure. Governor Brown signed SB 920 into law in July, extending that sunset date by seven years.

Sales Tax on Services
Once again legislation was introduced to impose a sales tax on services, including architectural services. The AIACC was an active member of the coalition opposing SB 993. And once again, this proposal was not brought up for a vote. SB 993 was presented and heard in Committee, but no vote was taken. We believe there is a good chance this proposal could come back next year. Again.

Planning for 2019

The AIACC Advocacy Advisory Committee (AAC) is meeting on Monday, Oct. 8 to develop a proposed 2019 advocacy agenda for consideration by the AIACC Board of Directors. The AAC will review the results of the AIACC advocacy survey for ideas, and consider proposals submitted by Members.

Last year’s Board of Directors did approve two proposals that we are working on for 2019.

Conflict of Interest (Government Code Section 1090)
The Fair Political Practices Commission recently opined that an architectural firm that provides scoping/planning work for a public client is not eligible for any follow-on contract for projects that result from the scoping/planning work. The FPPC opines that such a follow-on contract is a conflict of interest pursuant to Government Code Section 1090.

Worse, according to Government Code Section 1097.3, any firm that currently is providing services under a follow-on contract (now considered a conflict of interest) may be subjected to a civil penalty up to “three times the value of the financial benefit received.”

The AIACC is working with ACEC California to develop language and build a coalition that includes public sector entities for legislation in 2019 to once again allow follow-on contracts.

Department of Industrial Relations Registration
The AIACC will seek a legislative remedy to the new requirement that all parties competing to work on a public works project register with the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR).

The state enacted a law in 2014 that requires entities working on public works projects, and that are required to pay a prevailing wage, to register with the DIR. That registration includes a fee (now $400 per year) that is used to fund the DIR program to oversee and administer the prevailing wage laws in California.

The law was always understood to require only those whose contract included work subject to a wage order (prevailing wage requirement) to register with the DIR.

Last year, however, another bill was enacted that is now being used to require ALL who compete for a public works contract to register with the DIR, regardless of whether the service being provided is subject to a wage order. Thus, architects are now being told they must register and, if they are currently providing services and not registered, they are subject to a $2,000 fine.

An Update on the Development of Some Good Programs

Citizen Architect Program
AIACC is trying to identify architects who serve their communities as elected or appointed officials, such as elected members of a city council or school board, appointed members of a planning commission, or a design review board who could participate in the AIACC Citizen Architects program. The goals of the Citizen Architect program are to make significant efforts to identify opportunities for the Citizen Architect to get involved in their local community, acquire leadership positions, announce vacant opportunities, finding or creating networking and collaboration opportunities that will insert our citizen architects to the forefront, and a forum to learn about each other and assist them in carrying out their public duties. A formal Call for Citizen Architects will commence October 8th. Contact Melissa Barton, AIACC Government Relations Program Coordinator at 916-642-1711/mbarton@aiacc.org

AIACC Advocacy Network
The AIACC has assembled a group of individuals from each California Chapter who has a passion for influencing public policy to improve the practice of architecture and assist with AIACC’s efforts to shape the political landscape and improve the built environment from the grassroots or local level.

The chapter advocacy liaison can be effective by monitoring and reporting policy issues relevant to their chapter, receiving news from the AIACC, helping to coordinate local advocacy initiatives, and providing feedback on how AIACC can better serve chapters on advocacy issues.

The Advocacy Network is about to embark upon the development of tools and identification of resources to support chapters in its local advocacy strategy.


From AIA National:  

AIA Applauds Passage of Disaster Recovery Reform Act

Legislation paves way for enhanced national guidelines for building safety assessments following disasters.

WASHINGTON – Oct. 3, 2018 – The American Institute of Architects (AIA) is praising Congressional passage today of the Disaster Recovery Reform Act (DRRA), which paves the way for communities to better utilize architects during disaster recovery efforts.

“Architects understand all aspects of the buildings that make up our communities,” said 2018 AIA President Carl Elefante, FAIA. “After a disaster strikes, architects play a critical role conducting building-safety assessments, which help people to return to their homes and businesses to reopen their doors more quickly. This legislation is critical as it allows architects to improve the quality of building-safety assessments and enhance the resiliency of our communities.”

Provisions of DRRA will require the Federal Emergency Management Agency, architects and engineers to develop standardized best practices for building-safety assessments that focus on a building’s structural integrity and livability post disaster. Additionally, the legislation ensures that local and state officials understand the role of architect volunteers, which are a vital resource to the recovery of communities.

Since 1972, the AIA and its thousands of architect volunteers nation-wide have been helping communities recover from disasters through the AIA Disaster Assistance Program. As part of the program, trained architects assist local and state officials in conducting building-safety assessments.

The DRRA is a component of the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization, which was passed by the U.S. Senate today and House of Representatives last week. The legislation is now subject to the approval of the President of the United States.

For the latest updates on issues impacting architects, join AIA’s Architect Action Alerts by texting “AIA” to 40649.

– aia.org –

Jessie Cornelius
(202) 626 7302



Will Wright, Hon. AIA|LA
Director, Government & Public Affairs
American Institute of Architects- Los Angeles Chapter

3780 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 701
Los Angeles, CA 90010

(o) (213) 639-0764
email:  will@aialosangeles.org