AIA Virginia General Assembly Wrap Up

On February 8th, the 2021 General Assembly session adjourned sine die. Nearly immediately thereafter, the General Assembly convened a Special Session on February 10th which adjourned sine die on March 1st.  The General Assembly considered 1,476 pieces of legislation, which is well short of the 2,000-3,000 bills typically considered. This decrease was due to the bill limits set by each body, 7 bills for each House member, and 12 bills for each Senate member.

This General Assembly session was unique in other ways as well. For example, the House of Delegates adopted an entirely virtual format, which had members participating remotely from their home districts. The Senate of Virginia opted for a hybrid model and conducted in-person floor sessions and committee meetings at the Science Museum of Virginia. For both bodies, public participation in committee and subcommittee meetings was limited to virtual testimony. This means that lobbying consisted solely of communication through text messaging, calls, and videoconferences.

Week after week, you saw the bills that we were actively engaging and monitoring. As such, this article will focus on the three main legislative victories for our organization this session.

Defeat of HB 2259 – Governor; issuance of licenses to persons denied by regulatory board

This bill provides that the Governor may issue a license of the kind granted by a regulatory board under the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation or the Department of Health Professions to any person whose application for such license to such board has been denied. AIA Virginia believes that the process in place for regulating architecture should not be circumvented. It has successfully served in protecting the health, safety, and welfare of the general public as it takes into consideration the education, experience, and examination required for licensure. We actively opposed this legislation and it was successfully defeated.

An active stakeholder on HB 5002Establish Small Business & Women-owned & Minority-Owned Business Procurement Enhancement Programs.

Governor Ralph Northam announced the results of the Commonwealth’s disparity study, which demonstrate the need for the narrowly tailored race – and gender-conscious measures to increase equitable opportunities for women – and minority-owned businesses in state contracting. The outcomes of the study will guide the Northam Administration’s ongoing work with General Assembly leaders to increase supplier diversity and equity in the state procurement process. Read the executive summary of the 2020 disparity study here.

AIA Virginia supported this legislation, however it did not pass in its current form. Due to our support, the Administration has committed to giving AIA Virginia a seat at the table during the discussions to retool the legislation for reintroduction.

That’s right.

We will be at the table on this very important piece of the equity discussion.

Tax Conformity via HB 1935 and SB 1146

Each year the General Assembly decides which federal tax provisions the Commonwealth will conform to so Virginians know which provisions apply when filing their state income tax returns. Because of the pandemic, Congress passed numerous federal tax changes in the CARES Act and Consolidated Appropriations Act to provide immediate relief to struggling employers.

Specifically, two tax provisions were provided to PPP loan recipients 1) forgiven loans would not be taxable and 2) business expenses paid with those loan proceeds could be deducted.

Both bills included the income exclusion provision. There was a question regarding what to include regarding deductibility [$25,000 in one bill vs. $100,000 in the other bill]. AIA Virginia was part of a 43-Member Coalition that successfully advocated for the $100,000 deduction cap. This provides full deductibility to almost 80% of Virginia businesses who received a PPP loan.

These three victories are quite substantial in any legislative environment, notwithstanding a virtual General Assembly. Please continue to support our efforts by investing in our PAC at www.aiavapac.org.

Every investment matters!

If you have any questions, please reach out to Executive Vice President, Corey Clayborne, FAIA at cclayborne@aiava.org

The Governor’s Office is Looking to Appoint Architects to Boards and Commissions

This year, AIA Virginia will be providing the Governor’s Office a slate of candidates for consideration for appointment to two of the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Boards and Commissions. Our organization advocates for the Architect’s voice on these bodies to help shape policies and strengthen our communities. If interested in being considered for the slate, please click here to see the submission requirements

Submissions are due to AIA Virginia Executive Vice President, Corey Clayborne, FAIA (cclayborne@aiava.org) by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, April 30, 2021. Please identify on the documentation which Board or Commission you are seeking our support for.

We will be submitting a slate of nominees for the following Boards and Commissions:


Board for Architects, Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, Certified Interior Designers, and Landscape Architects (APELSCIDLA)

Purpose: 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.

Meeting Frequency: Estimated at 4 times per year*

Website: http://www.dpor.virginia.gov/Boards/APELS/


Board for Professional and Occupational Regulation

Purpose: The nine-member Board for Professional and Occupational Regulation is responsible for: monitoring the policies and activities of the Department; evaluating the need for regulation, if any, of unregulated professions or occupations; advising the Governor and Department Director on matters relating to professional regulation; recommending regulatory frameworks to the General Assembly, when professional regulation is necessary to protect the public interest; and providing citizen access to the Department and promoting education of the public about professional regulation.

Meeting Frequency: Estimated at 4 times per year* 

Website: http://www.dpor.virginia.gov/Boards/BPOR/


*This is an estimate of meeting frequency. The Board may have a need to meet more frequently depending on the amount of business that needs to be addressed.

2021 Architects Speak Up!

There is an old proverb in politics; if you are not seated at the dinner table then there is a good chance, you’re on the menu.

During the development of the current strategic plan, there was an overwhelming agreement that there should be a concerted effort made to invest and develop future generations of leaders for service for the AIA and the community. As such, the plan sought to launch a Virginia event that provides advocacy training and connects members with state legislators. Advocacy means taking the steps to make a difference. Good advocates organize themselves to take steps to tackle the challenges of today and tomorrow. As architects, we engage in advocacy regularly during our practice, sometimes we do not even know when we are doing it.

Therefore, we want your participation in AIA Virginia’s first ever ARCHITECTS SPEAK UP! event.

Architecture practice exists at the crossroads of Policy and the Built Environment. Architects regularly advance solutions that directly address our social, environmental, and economic challenges of today and tomorrow. Architects do not see empty lots as just places to build rather we see them as places of dreams and hopes.

ARCHITECTS SPEAK UP! will consist of virtual meetings for AIA Virginia members to acquaint themselves with their in-district legislator(s) and effectively articulate the importance of architects and architecture in the community. The anticipated result is a structured and coordinated outreach event that can occur simultaneously within each of the five local components. We want you to advocate and introduce yourself and AIA Virginia as a resource for industry issues in a relaxed virtual environment.  AIA Virginia is looking for your participation in these scheduled meetings this May.

Join us for ARCHITECTS SPEAK UP! by registering here>>

PAC:
If you are not able to participate in ARCHITECTS SPEAK UP! that is OK. There are other ways you can support AIA Virginia’s legislative objectives. We are embarking on building up our PAC for 2021 and we really could use your help and financial support in closing our fundraising gap for Q1. Can you invest today? www.aiavapac.org

Architects Speak Up!

During the development of the current strategic plan, there was an overwhelming agreement that there should be a concerted effort made to invest and develop future generations of leaders for service for the AIA and the community. As such, the plan sought to launch a Virginia event that provides advocacy training and connects members with state legislators. Advocacy means taking the steps to make a difference. Good advocates organize themselves to take steps to tackle the challenges of today and tomorrow. As architects, we engage in advocacy regularly during our practice, sometimes we do not even know when we are doing it.

Therefore, we want your participation in AIA Virginia’s first ever ARCHITECTS SPEAK UP! event.

Registration will be open through Wednesday, April 21. Note that all participants will be required to watch the designated training videos prior to their legislative meeting.

REGISTER WITH YOUR AVAILABILITY BY COMPLETING THE FORM BELOW

Architects Speak Up 2021

  • Firm Info:

  • A legislative meeting will likely not exceed one hour.
  • Group leaders will be the designated point of contact for other constituent AIA Virginia members and AIA Virginia staff in order to facilitate legislator meetings.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Get to Know Your Legislator
Visit https://whosmy.virginiageneralassembly.gov/ to input your home or firm address to find and get to know your State Senator and State Delegate.

PAC:
If you are not able to participate in ARCHITECTS SPEAK UP! that is OK. There are other ways you can support AIA Virginia’s legislative objectives. We are embarking on building up our PAC for 2021 and we really could use your help and financial support in closing our fundraising gap for Q1. Can you invest today? www.aiavapac.org

AIA Virginia General Assembly Update

The regular session adjourned sine die on Monday, February 8th. Governor Northam called a Special Session immediately following which commenced on that Wednesday and will adjourn sine die on Monday, March 1.

ICYMI: Governor Ralph Northam announced the results of the Commonwealth’s disparity study, which demonstrate the need for narrowly tailored race- and gender-conscious measures to increase equitable opportunities for woman- and minority-owned businesses in state contracting. The outcomes of the study will guide the Northam Administration’s ongoing work with General Assembly leaders to increase supplier diversity and equity in the state procurement process. Read the executive summary of the 2020 disparity study here.

To encourage woman- and minority-owned business participation in the procurement process, the Commonwealth will support a substitute to House Bill 1784, patroned by Delegates Jeion Ward and Rodney Willett and Senators Jennifer McClellan and Mamie Locke. This bill would establish an overall goal of 23.1 percent discretionary spending with woman- and minority-owned businesses. This percentage represents the average of the participation of woman- and minority-owned businesses in state procurement work over the past five years and their availability for state procurement work. This would apply to discretionary spending in categories from which the Commonwealth derives procurement orders, prime contracts, and subcontracts. This legislation also codifies Governor Northam’s goal of procuring at least 42 percent discretionary spending from SWaM-certified businesses.

In addition, the bill establishes a new division at the Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity (DSBSD) that will work closely with the Department of General Services (DGS), Virginia’s primary procurement agency, to ensure that the SWaM-certified business goal of 42 percent and the woman- and minority-owned business goal of 23.1 percent are met each year, and there is appropriate monitoring of prime contractor compliance.

The study found that 13.4 percent of total state contracts were awarded to woman- and minority-owned businesses from 2014 to 2019. The most recent disparity study was published in 2011, found that only 2.82 percent of all state contracts were awarded to woman- and minority-owned businesses. While these results show improvement, the 2020 study also found that woman- and minority-owned businesses would be expected to receive 32.8 percent of state contracting dollars based on their availability to provide goods and services to the Commonwealth, demonstrating that there is more work to do.

The full results from the 2020 disparity study are available here.

The substitute bill is HB 5002 in which we have been working with the Administration to ensure that there is more equity in contract awards and administered in a way that can be fairly and effectively implemented.

Below, you will find an update of the organization’s “Active”, “Monitor”, and “Dead” lists.

ACTIVE
These bills are being actively lobbied by Williams Mullen, AIA Virginia, and ACEC Virginia. This does not necessarily mean we are testifying before committees on all of these bills. It could mean that we are engaged in conversations with bill patrons or other industries that can alter the legislation’s outcome.

HB 1811Helmer – Virginia Public Procurement Act; preference for energy-efficient and water-efficient goods.

HB 2001Helmer – State and local buildings, certain; building standards.

HB 2227Kory – Uniform Statewide Building Code; amendments, energy efficiency and conservation.

HB 5002Ward – Small Business & Women-owned & Minority-owned Business Procurement Enhancement Programs; establish.

SB 1209Petersen – Subcontractor’s employees; liability of general contractor for wages.

SB 1305McPike – Virginia Public Procurement Act; public works contracts, subcontractor workforce requirements.

SB 1384Surovell – Virginia Public Procurement Act; local arbitration agreements.

MONITOR
AIA Virginia is watching bills placed in this category.  Often, we are watching bills because they are of interest and we want to remain informed.  When this is the case, it is often another organization taking the lead due to its specific expertise and political relationships.  If amendments are introduced that make a bill in this category detrimental to our profession, then it is moved to the ACTIVE list and we engage.  There are some bills that AIA Virginia does not take a position on.  An example of this would be bills that define “small business”.  Because of the composition of our membership, we would not want to take action that would hurt any of our members.

HB 1800Torian – Budget Bill.

HB 1849Simonds – Virginia Public Procurement Act; participation in apprenticeship training programs, etc.

HB 1935Watts – Income tax, state; conformity with the Internal Revenue Code.

HB 2063Mullin – Virginia Overtime Wage Act; overtime compensation employees, penalties.

HB 2071Convirs-Fowler – Transportation funding; statewide prioritization process, resiliency.

HB 2137Guzman – Paid sick leave; employers to provide to certain employees.

HB 2177Torian – Capital outlay plan; repeals existing six-year capital outlay for projects to be funded.

HB 2178Torian – Commonwealth of Virginia Higher Educational Institutions Bond Act of 2021; created.

HB 2221Hayes – Environmental permits; community and environmental justice outreach.

HB 2288Williams Graves – Va. Public Procurement Act; construction contracts, requirement to submit list of subcontractors.

HB 2327Krizek – Prevailing wage rate; public contractors.

SB 1100Howell – Budget Bill.

SB 1109Stanley – Voter referendum; issuance of state general obligation bonds for school facility modernization.

SB 1155Howell – Capital outlay plan; repeals existing six-year capital outlay for projects to be funded.

SB 1209Petersen – Subcontractor’s employees; liability of general contractor for wages.

SB 1284Favola – Commonwealth Clean Energy Policy; established.

SB 1350Lewis – Transportation funding; statewide prioritization process, resiliency.

DEAD
The following depicts the bills of interest to AIA Virginia that were introduced but were not successful.  This list is expected to grow as the General Assembly advances. 

HB 1741Campbell, R.R. – Va. Public Procurement Act; contract clause requiring subcontractor reporting of certain payments.

HB 1755Carter – Right to work; repeals provisions of Code that refers to denial or abridgement.

HB 1784Ward – Small Business Procurement Enhancement Program; established, report.

HB 1787McNamara – Income tax, state; establishes an exclusion for Paycheck Protection Plan loan forgiveness.

HB 1794Davis – Collective bargaining; prohibited considerations during negotiations.

HB 1857Subramanyam – Virginia Public Procurement Act; architectural and professional engineering term contracting.

HB 1937Rasoul – Green New Deal Act; establishes a moratorium, effective January 1, 2022, etc.

HB 1974Rush – Architects & professional engineers; exemptions from license requirements for onsite sewage systems.

HB 2015Ayala – Essential workers; hazard pay, employer to provide personal protective equipment, civil penalty.

HB 2016Ayala – Paid family and medical leave program; Virginia Employment Commission required to establish.

HB 2093O’Quinn – School Construction Fund and Program; created and established.

HB 2103Reid – Certain public & private employers to provide earned paid sick time.

HB 2143Miyares – COVID-19 virus; immunity from civil claims related to the transmission of or exposure to the virus.

HB 2237McQuinn – Virginia Public Procurement Act; project labor agreements, transportation projects.

HB 2246LaRock – State agencies; automatic workforce management verification software.

HB 2259Scott – Governor; issuance of licenses to persons denied by regulatory board. [OPPOSED]

HB 2306VanValkenburg – Va. Public Procurement Act; contract clause requiring subcontractor reporting of certain payments.

HJ 552Levine – Recurrent inland and urban flooding across the Commonwealth; joint subcommittee to study.

SB 1186Hashmi – Landfill siting; historic preservation.

SB 1224Boysko – Uniform Statewide Building Code; amendments, energy efficiency and conservation.

SB 1330Boysko – Paid family and medical leave program; Virginia Employment Commission to establish.

SB 1352Lewis – Flood Control and Commonwealth Flood Control Board, Department of; established, report.

SB 1362Lewis – Employers; reporting outbreaks of COVID-19.

SB 1419Marsden – Project labor agreements; public interest.

SB 1449Chase – COVID-19 immunization; prohibition on requirement, employment discrimination prohibited.

SB 1450Chase – COVID-19 vaccination; discrimination in employment prohibited.

If you have any questions, please feel free to submit them to Corey Clayborne, FAIA at cclayborne@aiava.org

Presenting Virtual Lobby Month in May!

During the development of the AIA Virginia 2020-2022 Strategic Plan, there was an overwhelming consensus that there should be a concerted effort made to invest in future generations and develop visionary leaders for service. As such, the plan envisions the launch of a Virginia event that provides advocacy training and connects members with state legislators. The purpose of these meetings will be for AIA Virginia members to acquaint themselves with their in-district legislator(s) and effectively articulate the importance of architects and architecture in the community. The anticipated result is a structured and coordinated outreach event that will occur during the month of May.

More details will be provided in next month’s newsletter but let us know if you are interested in participating by filling out the interest form below.

Lobby Month Interest

Permanent Standards Approved

Virginia’s permanent COVID-19 workplace safety and health rules recently took effect after Governor Northam approved the standard adopted by the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry’s Safety and Health Codes Board. The standards mandate appropriate personal protective equipment, sanitation, social distancing, infectious disease preparedness and response plans, record keeping, training, and hazard communications in workplaces across the Commonwealth.

In the absence of a federal standard, Virginia took action last year to create the nation’s first emergency temporary workplace safety and health requirements in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The permanent standards align closely with the emergency temporary rules adopted in July and are intended to slow the transmission of COVID-19 and protect Virginia workers. The temporary standards were effective for six months and the Board worked to make permanent through the process defined in state law. These workplace safety requirements will remain effective throughout the pandemic. The Board will reconvene within 14 days of the expiration of Governor Northam’s COVID-19 emergency declaration to determine whether there is a continued need for the standard.

The final permanent standard can be found here. Infectious disease preparedness and response plan templates and training guides are available at doli.virginia.gov.

Public Comment Open

Draft Final Standard for Infectious Disease Prevention: SARS-CoV-2 Virus That Causes COVID-19, 16 VAC25-220

The Department of Labor and Industry announces the publication of a Draft Final Standard for Infectious Disease Prevention: SARS-CoV-2 Virus That Causes COVID19. The Draft Final Standard takes into account the comments already received during the ongoing comment period. Please click here for more information and the ability to make a public comment.

Round Two of PPP Assistance: Economic Aid Act

On April 2, 2020, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) posted an interim final rule announcing the implementation of sections 1102 and 1106 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).  Section 1102 of the CARES Act temporarily adds a new program, titled the “Paycheck Protection Program,” to the SBA’s 7(a) Loan Program.  Section 1106 of the CARES Act provides for forgiveness of up to the full principal amount of qualifying loans guaranteed under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

The PPP is intended to provide economic relief to small businesses nationwide adversely impacted by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).  Subsequently, SBA published twenty-three interim final rules providing additional guidance on the PPP (some of which were jointly issued with the Department of the Treasury) and the Treasury published one interim final rule.  On December 27, 2020, the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act (Economic Aid Act) became law.  The Economic Aid Act extends the authority to make PPP loans through March 31, 2021, and revises certain PPP requirements. 

This interim final rule incorporates the Economic Aid Act amendments required to be implemented

by regulation within 10 days of enactment. 

IFR #1 (82pp)

https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/PPP-IFR-Paycheck-Protection-Program-as-Amended-by-Economic-Aid-Act.pdf

IFR on Second Draw Loans (42pp)

https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/PPP-IFR-Second-Draw-Loans.pdf

Guidance on accessing capital for minority underserved veteran and women owned businesses (3pp)

https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/Guidance-on-Accessing-Capital-for-Minority-Underserved-Veteran-and-Women-Owned-Business-Concerns%20.pdf

2021 Political Outlook in Virginia

On January 13th, the Virginia General Assembly will gavel into the 2021 session during an unprecedented time. As Virginia grapples with the impacts of COVID-19, legislators convened for a 65-day regular session and 84-day special session last year resembling traits of a full-time legislature. And as COVID-19 continues to snatch lives, the Virginia Senate was not immune. Senator Ben Chafin (R-Lebanon) recently succumbed to his battle with the virus.

In odd-numbered years, the General Assembly convenes for a “short session” which is 30 days as prescribed by the Constitution. Since the Constitution was amended in 1971, both political parties have voted to extend “short sessions” to 46 days. This year, Republicans announced that they will not vote for the extension which requires two-thirds approval from both chambers. In response, the Governor has stated he will call a special session at the conclusion of the 30-day regular session to finish any necessary business.

What we know is that the House of Delegates will continue to meet virtually for all its meetings and the Senate will meet in person at the Science Museum of Virginia. This adds a sharp complexity to advocacy as impromptu meetings with legislators in the hallway and office visits to discuss issues are now eliminated.  As a replacement, elbowing for Zoom meeting slots, texting, and emailing legislators will be the unfortunate norm this year as modes of communication. In conclusion, it will be paramount to make each “touch” with a legislator count and being judicious on how often we hit the “send” button on any email or text message.

Please note the following key dates of session:

  • January 13 – General Assembly session convenes
  • January 22 – Bill cut-off
  • February 9 – Bill crossover
  • February 27 – Sine die
  • April 7 – Reconvene session

AIA Virginia’s Legislative Priorities

This year, legislators will have tighter limits on the number of bills that can be submitted. Members of the House will be limited to seven bills while members of the Senate may submit 12 bills. This, combined with lawmakers meeting virtually and offsite, have led to a change in advocacy strategy this year. Due to these challenges, AIA Virginia will not file any bills this year. However, please be on the lookout for weekly General Assembly updates on the bills we are actively engaging and monitoring once session commences.

Instead, we will use this year to relentlessly focus on connecting legislators with their architect constituents – thus positioning you and our profession as a valuable resource to them. The result is that our elected officials will have a face to go with the terms “architect” and “architecture”. The AIA Virginia Advocacy Advisory Council is working on a virtual program to deploy in 2021 that will accomplish this goal. Stay tuned!

We tested this concept successfully on January 6 with Senator Ghazala Hashmi (D-Richmond). In conjunction with the American Council of Engineering Companies of Virginia, AIA Virginia held a one-hour industry roundtable discussion that covered the environment, infrastructure, schools, affordable housing, and energy. The result is that Sen. Hashmi recognizes AIA as a valuable asset on any of these topics.

Special thanks to the following roundtable participants who either live or work in Sen. Hashmi’s district:

Lori Garrett, FAIA: Senior Principal at Glave & Holmes Architects
Stephen Halsey, AIA: Principal at Moseley Architects
Burt Pinnock, FAIA: Chairman of the Board at Baskervill
Jacob Sherry, AIA: Architect at 510 Architects

These individuals were joined by Advocacy Vice President, Kathy Galvin, AIA.

Also, please support our advocacy efforts by investing in our PAC at Virginia American Institute of Architects PAC.  We can’t do the great work we are doing without your support.