Federal, State and Local Advocacy Updates – and a new Advocacy Manager
The past month has been an active one for advocacy on the built environment, at every level, from city to state to federal. As always, AIA advocacy is led by our members’ interests, and enhanced by the expertise and engagement of all members.
AIA Seattle hires a new Advocacy Manager for local and state advocacy
Welcome, Kirsten Smith, our new Manager of Advocacy for the Built Environment. Kirsten joins us as our first-ever staff dedicated exclusively to advocacy. She will be working with both AIA Seattle and AIA Washington Council to research policies and regulations, support member advocacy and engagement, and champion laws and regulations that further the work and priorities of AIA members. Kirsten brings expertise and connections from over 17 years working in legislative advocacy, most recently with Plum Creek (now Weyerhauser) and the United Way.
AIA Seattle members meet with federal legislators, discuss the impacts of HUD funding, EPA cuts and immigration policy on our built environment
AIA Seattle was well represented at Grassroots, AIA’s advocacy leadership conference held in DC earlier this month. Before heading to Capitol Hill, members assembled at the Center for Architecture & Design to discuss our key messages on federal issues. Members chose to focus on four issues: cuts to the EPA and changes to climate policy, and the impact that will have on high performance building design and our industry in general; limits to immigration and their potential impact on hiring, foreign partnerships and architecture school enrolment; infrastructure funding, and the importance of funding public buildings, public spaces and transit in addition to roads; and funding for HUD programs including block grants and tax credits to support more affordable housing in our region. Members met with the offices of Representatives Reichert, Del Bene, Smith, Jayapal, Newhouse, and Heck; and Senators Cantwell and Murray.
AIA Seattle members attend carbon tax hearing in Olympia
Members of AIA Washington Council’s carbon tax subcommittee testified March 14 at a state hearing on HB 1646, which would establish a carbon tax in Washington State. AIA members joined representatives from Virginia Mason, REI, and others on a panel organized by Climate Solutions. The subcommittee will continue to actively support carbon tax legislation by writing support letters and testifying at hearings.
Mark your calendars: Washington state legislative wrap-up June 7
On June 7th, AIA Washington Council is hosting a daylong WA State Legislature Wrap-up and Planning session in Seattle. All the AIA Washington Council policy committees will discuss strategy for the upcoming year. All members are invited to join in the discussion and to join a policy committee for the upcoming year.
Public Policy Board members meet with city councilmembers on housing, design review
Members of AIA Seattle’s Public Policy Board (PPB) are in the process of meeting with Seattle City Council members about design review and the upzoning process. The PPB is now discussing ways to create cross-sector assistance for the city through a multi-disciplinary advisory group.
Representative Del Bene, Senator Cantwell introduce Timber Innovation Act
Washington’s Representative Suzan Del Bene and Senator Maria Cantwell helped introduce the Timber Innovation Act into the Senate and House on March 6. The bill would invest in the development of tall wood buildings and the manufacturing of CLT to construct them. AIA members in our state have been active in advocating for CLT for the past several years.