Summer 2017 Advocacy Updates - Mayoral Forum, Capital Budget & More

AIA Washington Council’s Spring Advocacy Conference prepares members for the next legislative session

AIA Washington Council held its Spring Advocacy Conference in June to make preparations for the 2018 state legislative session.  Although the 2017 session remained stuck in budget negotiations at the time, members met to strategize the Council’s issue priorities for 2018 and organize research and outreach activities for the months leading up to the January start of that session.  Members heard from state representatives Tana Senn (D-Mercer Island) and J.T. Wilcox (R-Yelm) about the current session, the budget negotiations, and how architects can better participate in the legislative process.  They broke out into policy committees to discuss priorities and plans for the coming months.  And they reconvened to discuss overall Council priorities and strategies going forward.

AIA Seattle hosts Seattle mayoral hopefuls on built environment issues

AIA Seattle co-hosted a Built Environment Mayoral Candidates Forum on July 17 for the top six candidates in Seattle’s open mayoral race: Jenny Durkan, Jessyn Farrell, Bob Hasegawa, Michael McGinn, Cary Moon, and Nikkita Oliver.  Candidates were asked to respond to questions on urban design, growth and density, HALA, transit-oriented development, public spaces, and climate change.  They were asked their favorite building in Seattle and whether they would be willing to host a DADU in their backyard.  AIA Seattle member Osama Quotah opened the event with comments about the importance of built environment issues in this year’s election.

AIA Members attend AIA National’s Speak Up advocacy conference

Members of AIA Seattle and AIA Washington Council attended AIA National’s Speak Up conference in Denver last week.  Speak Up trains AIA members and staff to engage in the advocacy process utilizing a full range of strategies: legislative planning and outreach, communications, coalitions and alliances, and PAC contributions.  Attendees have the opportunity to share experiences with AIA members from across the country and hear about best practices from local state lawmakers.  If you are interested in attending Speak Up next year, contact Kirsten Smith, manager of advocacy, for more information.

Capital budget fails to pass in Olympia, leaving projects stranded

After passing a two-year operating budget hours before the July 1 deadline for a state government shutdown, the state legislature turned its attention to passing the two-year capital budget which funds public building projects across the state.  This budget is critical to architects who work on public projects.  Senate Republicans looking to force Democrats to overturn a state Supreme Court decision on water rights known as Hirst tied the issue to the Capital Budget and refused to allow the budget to pass without a permanent resolution on the water issue.  Democrats offered a temporary, two-year fix but were unwilling to accept a permanent change that would restrict the state’s water resources.  Unable to reach an agreement before the July 20 expiration of the third special session, the legislature adjourned.  AIA Washington Council will continue to work with allied organizations to press for a solution that will allow the budget to be passed this year.  Gov. Inslee has indicated that he would call a fourth special session to approve the Capital Budget if the two parties can reach an agreement.  If they fail to do so, the majority of the capital budget will remain unfunded until the 2018 or possibly the 2019 legislative session.