Advocacy Update

The gears of government are turning and our advocacy efforts are making a difference.

At the federal level, you likely heard that HR7024 passed. That omnibus tax bill addresses many issues, including the current requirement that Research & Development (R&D) expenditures be amortized over five years. The proposed legislation allows taxpayers to take the full credit for R&D expenses in the year they are incurred, retroactive to 2022 and through 2025. Many thanks to the firms and members that answered the call to engage and asked your Representative to support the legislation. One hurdle crossed. On to the Senate; where the Resolution is likely to need help. Stay vigilant.

Here in Virginia…

You might have heard about the effort to reopen the 2021 Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code pursuant to the recent Notice of Intended Regulatory Action (NOIRA) for the purpose of complying with Executive Orders One and 19 (2022). Executive Directive Number One (2022), directs Executive Branch entities under the authority of the Governor “…to initiate regulatory processes to reduce by at least 25 percent the number of regulations not mandated by federal or state statute, in consultation with the Office of the Attorney General, and in a manner consistent with the laws of the Commonwealth”.  Executive Order 19 (2022) requires every regulatory agency “to review all existing regulations…to reduce the overall regulatory burden on the public.” AIA Virginia was one of 33 signatories to a letter voicing opposition to the proposal to apply these requirements to the Building Code. During its meeting on Wednesday 31 January 2024, the Board of Housing and Community Development voted against reopening the 2021 code cycle; the vote was 10-3. Our comments, both written and oral, were recognized by the Board during the Codes and Standards meeting.  The Board’s motion, as passed, also recognized the successful past work on the 2021 code cycle and recommended that the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development develop a plan for the 2024 code cycle with consideration for compliance with ED One (2022) and EO 19 (2022). Further action on the 2024 cycle will require discussion in a future meeting. We will be ready.

The Virginia General Assembly is well underway. Bills are working their way through, or succumbing to, the process. We have been issuing frequent reports on the bills we are tracking. Please join me in expressing gratitude to the members of the Joint Legislative Committee (the JLC) for their attention and diligence. The AIA Virginia delegation includes Rebecca Aarons-Sydnor, Assoc AIA, Ed Gillikin, AIA, Lauren Sughrue, Assoc AIA, and Stephen Weisensale, AIA; they are joined by ACEC Virginia delegates Kristina Preisner, Executive Director of ACEC, Eric Burke, Hugh Cannon, Nancy Israel, R Reaves, Glenn Rehberger, Don Rissmeyer, Chris Stone; our lobbyist Patrick Cushing, Esq, Hon AIA Virginia, and our loyal ally Joe Cooch, Esq.

No advocacy update is complete without an appeal to please support the AIA Virginia PAC – one of the sharpest instruments in our toolbox. And if you are supporting the PAC, we thank you.

Pressing for a Fix to the Amortization of the R&D Tax Credits

If the House of Representatives does not pass HR 7024, the tax liability of #architecture firms of all sizes will be dramatically impacted, limiting their ability to grow and hire talent. Read more: https://bit.ly/3um7W6O #AIA

AIA and partner organizations have spent months engaging with Congress and the Administration, pressing for a fix to the current requirement that R&D (Research & Development) expenditures be amortized over 5 years. On January 19th, House Ways & Means voted HR 7024 – which includes the fix we have been working toward – out of committee by a vote of 40-3. 

The proposed change would allow taxpayers to take the full credit for R&D expenses in the year they are incurred. The provision is retroactive to 2022 and runs through 2025. 

Please take a moment to call your Representative and ask for a yes vote! If you are not sure who your Representative is, you can look it up here: https://www.house.gov/representatives

Once you know, just call 202-224-3121 and ask for your Representative’s office. There is a script below that you can use when you call. 

Thank you in advance for your participation. 

Sincerely, 
Alexander Cochran  
Chief Advocacy Officer  
AIA

Phone Call Script 

I am calling to ask Representative [name] to vote “yes” on H.R. 7024, the tax package that was recently agreed upon by leadership in both the House and Senate. The bill includes an important fix to the current rules for the R&D tax credit that has caused significant financial strain for me/my firm/architectural firms across the country. Some firms have had to institute a hiring freeze or even lay off employees to cut costs so they can afford to pay significantly higher tax bills due to the R&D tax credit rule change. The change is costing us jobs and, in some cases, may cause small businesses to close altogether. Vote YES when the bill comes to the floor.  Thank you!  

Political Outlook in VA

The 2024 Virginia General Assembly gavels into session Wednesday 10 January and the Joint Legislative Committee (JLC) is prepped and ready to go. We have already begun to review the bills and will soon be developing our response. Reports will be issued weekly – using an improved nomenclature that will make it easier to follow the progress (and the fate) of the legislation we are tracking. Please read the summaries and contact Paul Battaglia, pbattaglia@aiava.org with your observations about how the proposed legislation might affect you or your practice. Recommendations for how to improve/amend a bill are always welcome.

In addition to our efforts in Virginia, we will be headed north to advocate at the federal level. Hill Day is scheduled for Wednesday 28 February during the AIA Leadership Summit in DC (TU 27 FEB to FRI 1 MAR).

Advocacy Efforts

While our advocacy efforts occur throughout the year, there is particular attention given to the time just before the Virginia General Assembly gavels into session.  Accordingly, the Joint Legislative Committee – the JLC, which operates in cooperation with ACEC Virginia – is getting organized and oriented.

It is impossible to generate an infallible forecast of the full range of efforts that may be required to respond to the opportunities and challenges of any single session. (That’s part of the fun.) This year, with so many new legislators (an effective turnover rate of almost 35 percent in the House of Delegates and 45 percent in the Senate), might be even more interesting than most. We’ll be ready.

Our state-level efforts will be complemented by vigilance and advocacy at the national level, including our participation in the AIA Leadership Summit in DC (27 February to 1 March), which includes an opportunity to advocate on the Big Hill.

We look forward to successfully addressing all matters of interest to the practice of architecture and the operation of a professional service business in Virginia.

You can support our efforts by:

  • maintaining your vigilance (our weekly updates during the session will keep you posted)
  • sharing your thoughts/concerns on the issues
  • being available to consult on how proposed legislation might affect your practice/business
  • serving as an SME to help the JLC better understand the issues and/or impact of a bill
  • recommending improvements/refinements to bills
  • investing in the AIA Virginia PAC

You might also consider serving on the Joint Legislative Committee, the Advocacy Advisory Council, or the Board of Trustees for the AIA Virginia PAC. Email PBattaglia@aiava.org if interested.

Here we go!

2023 PAC Award

The AIA Virginia PAC is one of the sharpest tools in our advocacy toolkit. The AIA Virginia PAC Award celebrates the engagement and commitment of a local AIA component that supports the advancement and mission of the PAC. The winning component goes home with $1,000 cash for Architecture Week/Month and the award trophy presented at Architecture Exchange East in November.

And the winner for 2023 is … AIA Blue Ridge. Congratulations!!!

Final Results:
AIA Blue Ridge – 100 points
AIA Hampton Roads – 60 points
AIA Central Virginia – 50 points
AIA Richmond – 30 points
AIA Northern Virginia – 0 points

Points are accrued in three areas: local component Board participation, the percentage of local component’s membership who have invested in the PAC, and the total amount of money invested by the members of the local component.

Points are allocated as follows:

  1. Local component Board participation
    a. Did 100% of the Board of Directors invest in the AIA Virginia PAC?
    i. Yes = 20 points
    ii. No = 0 points
  2. Percentage of local component members who have invested in the AIA Virginia PAC
    i. Component with highest % = 40 points
    ii. Component with second highest % = 20 points
    iii. Component with third highest % = 10 points
  3. Average investment per member from the total local component membership
    i. Component with highest average investment/member = 40 points
    ii. Component with second highest average investment/member = 30 points
    iii. Component with third highest average investment/member = 20 points
    iv. Component with fourth highest average investment/member = 10 points
    v. Component with fifth highest average investment/member = 0 points

Make your investment today at www.aiavapac.org

One of the first steps of effective advocacy – voter registration

To be an impactful citizen-architect, one needs to be not only an architect (or on their way to becoming an architect), but also an engaged citizen. The most fundamental way to be an engaged citizen is to be registered to vote, and to vote.

Please register to vote and keep your registration updated.  And please vote.  I am not telling you how to vote, but I am encouraging you to be informed, and to be engaged, and to exercise your right to vote.

It may interest you to know that in these days of instantaneous data analytics (and even before that), legislators are keen to know about those who request meetings. They can quickly determine who is (or is not) their constituent, and, whether or not that individual is a registered voter, and if that individual does indeed vote. They cannot tell how you voted, but they can tell if, and when and how often you voted.  Advocacy can be cut off at the knees if the advocate is not a voter. I urge you not to squander an important aspect of your agency.

Aligning our Advocacy Efforts

With special thanks to the Advocacy Advisory Council and particular gratitude to the Chair, Maggie Dunlap, Assoc AIA, we can report that the good work to coordinate and increase the effectiveness of our advocacy efforts continues.

We are supporting Community Events: opportunities for key stakeholders, including elected officials, to visit our projects and better appreciate the beneficial impact of the architectural approach and our specific expertise.

We are facilitating “off-season” (away from session) opportunities to connect with legislators and introduce them to the interests and capabilities of AIA members.

We are preparing for the upcoming session of the General Assembly. In the coming months, the Joint Legislative Committee (the JLC; joint because it is comprised of members from both AIA Virginia and ACEC-VA) will be mustered and briefed. We will keep you posted on the progress of the bills we monitor, support, and oppose; and we will invite your assistance if it should be needed.

Additional gratitude is due to the AIA Virginia PAC Board of Trustees, chaired by Eliza Engle, AIA, for their constant and continuing efforts to secure support for our PAC. And to our member colleagues who have responded to that call and invested. The value of being able to introduce ourselves, or deepen an existing relationship, at fundraising events cannot be overestimated. You can invest in the AIAVA PAC here.

Please know that if you become aware of any issues that you believe warrant our focus and attention – at any level: local, state, or federal – you are always welcome to reach out to me, Paul Battaglia.

PAC Award Update

The AIA Virginia PAC is one of the sharpest tools in our advocacy toolkit. The AIA Virginia PAC Award celebrates the engagement and commitment of a local AIA component that supports the advancement and mission of the PAC. The winning component goes home with $1,000 cash for Architecture Week/Month and the award trophy presented at Architecture Exchange East in November.

Current Leaderboard:

AIA Hampton Roads – 80 points (only Board of Directors at 100%)
AIA Blue Ridge – 60 points
AIA Richmond – 30 points
AIA Central Virginia – 20 points
AIA Northern Virginia – 0 points

Points are accrued in three areas: local component Board participation, the percentage of local component’s membership who have invested in the PAC, and the total amount of money invested by the members of the local component.

Points are allocated as follows:

  1. Local component Board participation
    a. Did 100% of the Board of Directors invest in the AIA Virginia PAC?
    i. Yes = 20 points
    ii. No = 0 points
  2. Percentage of local component members who have invested in the AIA Virginia PAC
    i. Component with highest % = 40 points
    ii. Component with second highest % = 20 points
    iii. Component with third highest % = 10 points
  3. Average investment per member from the total local component membership
    i. Component with highest average investment/member = 40 points
    ii. Component with second highest average investment/member = 30 points
    iii. Component with third highest average investment/member = 20 points
    iv. Component with fourth highest average investment/member = 10 points
    v. Component with fifth highest average investment/member = 0 points

Scoring will be closed on Friday, October 13, 2023, at 5:00 p.m. EST.

Make your investment today at www.aiavapac.org

APELSCIDLA Appointees

Applauding those who serve!

The Board for Architects, Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, Certified Interior Designers and Landscape Architects (APELSCIDLA) examines, licenses, and regulates approximately 35,000 individuals and related business entities in Virginia. Until just recently April Drake, AIA, and Mel Price, AIA have been serving on the APELSCIDLA board. We thank them for their service and commitment. Last week, Helene Combs Dreiling, FAIA was appointed by the governor to serve in that capacity. Helene joins Tim Colley, AIA, and Erik Bootsma, RA who continue their dedicated service on that board. Special thanks and renewed appreciation to each and all of them. Keep up the great work.

Drake Appreciation

April Drake, AIA was recently honored by the APELSCIDLA board for her service by Jim Kelly, PE, current chair of APELSCIDLA.

The Board for Architects, Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, Certified Interior Designers and Landscape Architects (APELSCIDLA Board) examines, licenses, and regulates approximately 35,000 individuals and related business entities in Virginia.

If you are interested in serving on this board, please email Paul Battaglia, AIA at pbattaglia@aiava.org