Advocacy Update – April 2019

This month in federal, state, and local advocacy: AIA National pledges support for the Invest in America Act; passed legislation heads to the desk of Governor Inslee and legislators turn their attention toward budget discussions as the 2019 legislative session nears the finish line; and AIA Seattle focuses in on housing through a variety of events in conjunction with HDC's Affordable Housing Week.


AIA Pledges Support for the Invest in America Act

AIA National is supporting a newly-introduced federal bill, the Invest in America Act (HR 2210), which was introduced on April 10 by Rep. John Larson (D-Connecticut) and Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-Texas). The legislation repeals the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act (FIRPTA). Originally enacted in 1980, FIRPTA in part deflects global capital from U.S. cities and towns by imposing a capital gains tax on global investors who finance any U.S. real property. Consequently, the law inhibits state and local leaders from partnering with global investors or leveraging domestic partners to improve their communities, including: renovating aging buildings; constructing roads, bridges, tunnels, hospitals and airports; developing affordable housing; and utilizing new Opportunity Zones. See AIA’s press release here.


State Legislative Session

The state legislative session in Olympia one week remaining, and the pace is frantic. The deadline for non-budget bills to pass both houses was April 17. Legislation closely followed by AIA Washington Council that has passed both houses and will either go directly to the Governor for his signature(*) or back to the fist house to approve additional changes include:

  • HB 1148 – Architect Practice Act amendments: adopts NCARB-approved changes to the path to licensure (this bill was signed into law by Gov. Inslee on April 19);
  • SB 5334 – Condo liability legislation: further defines condo warranties in state statute;
  • HB 1257 – Gov. Inslee’s Clean Buildings legislation (AIA|WA’s top climate priority): establishes energy performance standards for large commercial buildings, provides for incentives, and establishes natural gas standards;
  • HB 1219 – REET extension: authorizes cities and counties planning under the GMA to use real estate excise taxes to support affordable housing and homelessness projects;
  • SB 5383 – Tiny homes: authorizes cities and towns to adopt ordinances regulating the creation of tiny house communities; and
  • SB 5116 – Clean energy: establishes a path to fossil-free electricity by 2045.
  • HB 1923 – Residential density: requires some cities planning under the GMA to increase residential building capacity;
  • HB 1112 – HFCs/Refrigerants: requires reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from hydrofluorocarbons.

Bills that did not pass include:

  • HB 1576 – Condo liability/HOAs: a bill that would have imposed additional notification requirements when homeowners’ associations engage in construction liability lawsuits (AIA|WA supported);
  • HB 1796 – PACER: would have authorized a commercial property assessed clean energy and resilience financing program to provide private loans for large energy efficiency projects that would stay with the property when sold;
  • SJR 8201 – School construction funding: would have amended the state constitution to allow a simple majority of voters voting to authorize school district bonds (AIA|WA supported);
  • HB 1245 – School safety planning & design: a bill that would have allowed school safety funding to be used for planning and design (AIA|WA supported); and
  • HB 1521 – State contracting: recurring legislation to require state contracts to undergo analysis to determine if the work can be brought in house (AIA|WA opposed).

Budget & B&O Tax

With the non-budget agenda items largely completed, legislators will turn their attention full-time to budget issues. The state budget is made up of three separate budgets: Operating, Transportation, and Capital. Although bills have been introduced in all of these areas, much of the work from now until the end of the session on April 28 will take place behind closed doors. Negotiators will agree on a final appropriations budget—what they want to spend—and then will turn to identifying revenue sources. Although the House and Senate have each released a revenue package, the final version will not be one or the other but a combination of ideas from each. The final package will most likely include a graduated increase in the real estate excise tax and an increase in the B&O tax on services (including architecture). A capital gains tax may be included but there is no guarantee that such a tax will be found constitutional. AIA|WA is monitoring the B&O tax closely. If you would like to contact your legislators about the House budget’s proposed B&O increase to 1.8%, the time to do so is NOW. More info on the revenue outlook and how to contact your legislators can be found here.

For more information on these and other bills, you can download AIA|WA’s bill tracking report.

Shift Zero Update

Shift Zero was instrumental in the passage of the Clean Buildings bill (HB 1257), and was active on other climate bills including Clean Energy (SB 5116), appliance standards, solar metering and HFCs (HB 1112). You can find Shift Zero’s legislative update here. Shift Zero’s Spring Meeting will take place on May 7, 8:30am – 3:30pm, at the Smart Buildings Center in Seattle. Anyone interested in attending is welcome.


Seattle ADU Tour – Submit Your ADU Project

AIA Seattle’s Housing Task Force is organizing a built ADU tour highlighting Member DADU/AADU projects. The tour will take place on Saturday, June 15. We are seeking ADU projects that are located in the city of Seattle and were designed by an AIA Member. The deadline for submissions is April 24.

Housing Policy Post-MHA

Now that Mandatory Housing Affordability has been enacted, AIA Seattle’s Housing Task Force and the Public Policy Board are looking at what’s next. We’ve identified the following housing priorities:

  • Increase ADUs throughout the city;
  • Allow duplexes/triplexes in single family zones;
  • Address additional zoning obstacles to increased housing density (expanding upzones, for example);
  • Ensure displacement measures do not reduce housing availability;
  • Elect pro-housing candidates in the 2019 council elections; and
  • Pull in transit issues, including TOD and prioritizing housing near transit.

Seattle City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda has agreed to appear at AIA Seattle’s inaugural City Leaders Breakfast Series event, June 12, to address the question of What’s Next in Housing in Seattle. See the Events section below for more details.

If you have comments or ideas on AIA Seattle’s role in housing policy, please contact Kirsten Smith.

Public Policy Board Update

The Public Policy Board (PPB) held a Policy Pub Night on March 27 – thanks to those who attended! Work in April included collaborating with the Committee on Homelessness on AIA Seattle’s Homelessness Policy Statement, reviewing local priorities addressed by the state legislative session, discussing the housing priorities listed above, and approving a new graduate student liaison between AIA Seattle, the PPB, and students at UW and beyond: Emily Terzic.


JOIN: Seattle Urban Forestry Commission

The City of Seattle is looking for a representative of the development community (including developers, builders, architects or realtors, with experience in projects developed under LEED), OR a representative from a non-city utility to fill Position #8 on the city’s Urban Forestry Commission (development community or utility representative). The application deadline is extended to April 30.

JOIN: Young Professionals: Get Engaged

The YMCA’s Get Engaged program places young adults ages 18-29 on City of Seattle public boards and commissions. Get Engaged commissioners serve a one-year term starting in September each year. The application for the 2019-20 cohort is due May 20.

COMMENT: Puget Sound Regional Council VISION 2050

PSRC is seeking comment on the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for VISION 2050, the region’s long-range plan for how and where the region should grow. Comments are due by April 29.


AIA Seattle Task Force Meetings

AIA Seattle members are invited to attend these policy-focused meetings, which occur monthly:

Housing Task Force Monthly Meeting. May 9, 12pm – 1:15pm @ the Center.

Transportation Task Force Monthly Meeting. May 14, 5:30pm – 6:30pm @ the Center.


Earth Day Sustainability Slam, presented by COTE, April 24, 5:30pm @ Friends of the Waterfront.

Neighborhoods for All – Revising Single Family Zoning, presented by UDF + the Urbanist, April 25, 5:30pm @ the Center.

Shift Zero Spring Meeting, May 7, 8:30am – 3:30pm @ Smart Buildings Center, Seattle.

Pollinator Pathways: A Design Challenge to the Planet, May 13, 5:30pm @ the Center.

Affordable Housing Week, presented by the Housing Development Consortium (HDC). May 13-17.

9 Ways to Build Community with Urban Housing, presented by COHO as part of Affordable Housing Week. May 13, 5:30pm @ MG2 Seattle.

“Trickle Down Town” Film Screening & Discussion, presented by COHO. May 22, 5:30pm @ Olson Kundig.

City Leaders Breakfast Series: Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, June 12, 8am – 9am @ the Center. Seattle City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda will join us for a discussion on What’s Next for Housing in Seattle: a look at the post-MHA agenda to address housing affordability in the city.

For more information on these or any other topics, or to join a task force, please contact:

Kirsten Smith
Manager of Policy and Advocacy
AIA Washington Council & AIA Seattle
206-448-4938 x401 |