Advocacy: Government Affairs
As the only organization that represents the interests of architects at state-level policymaking, the Georgia Association, American Institute of Architects is the voice of the architectural profession in Georgia.
Georgia architects can have significant influence at the Georgia Capitol when lawmakers are considering bills that will govern the way architecture is practiced in Georgia. Regulatory issues that affect the architectural profession are broad and far-reaching, including issues ranging from licensure and liability to public safety and taxation.
To accomplish its advocacy goals, the AIA Georgia maintains a registered lobbyist on staff as well as several contract lobbyists. AIA Georgia recognizes that its members face daily challenges relating to legislative and regulatory issues and strives to address those concerns in the following ways:
- monitoring and reviewing legislators, regulators, and judges;
- reviewing and tracking bills;
- attending meetings of the Georgia Legislature and relative regulatory agencies;
- monitoring opinions of the State Attorney General;
- monitoring court actions;
- drafting position papers;
- testifying before legislative, regulatory, and judicial bodies regarding AIA Georgia’s positions;
- coordinating AIA Georgia architect member testimony before legislative and regulatory bodies;
- coordinating advocacy efforts with allied professional groups;
- creating issue-specific materials to guide architect members;
- overseeing the Political Action Committee (PAC)
Why should architects care about legislation?
AIA Georgia members and architects must recognize that individual architects also play an important role in protecting the profession from bad legislation. Elected officials may listen to lobbyists, but they vote on issues that align with the interests of their constituents back home.
What's the connection between advocacy and architecture?
The main connection is that government creates the parameters in which architects practice. So if the Georgia Legislature receives no message from the architectural profession, laws might be created that could hinder the profession and the profession will fail to prosper.
With that said, AIA Georgia understands that architects are the only design professionals who are educated, trained, and tested in integrating all essential systems that go into creating the built environment for human use and occupancy. Unfortunately, however, our elected officials don't always think along these same lines. Legislators don't necessarily need to understand the importance of architectural training-that's why it's AIA Georgia’s job to know what bills are being considered and how they are likely to affect the architectural profession. Legislators need architects to educate them about the impact bills have on the architectural profession.
How can architects become advocates?
There are at least 4 ways to become an advocate for the architectural profession:
1) By getting involved with the Political Action Committee
2) By staying informed of laws that impact your practice. If laws are hindering your practice, let us know. There are several ways to stay informed, including:
3) Get to know your legislators. If you don't know who your elected officials are, go to http://www.congress.org/congressorg/officials/congress/ for names and contact information. Also, attend town hall meetings and/or political fundraisers or volunteer on a campaign.
4) Invest in PAC.
PAC is a voluntary, nonprofit, unincorporated political entity whose membership consists of architects (and others interested in promoting the architectural profession and improving the built environment). As a political action committee, PAC complies with all federal and state election laws. The voluntary contributions PAC receives are used to support candidates for state office who demonstrate their support for, or responsiveness to, the architectural profession.