Advocacy Update – February 2019
This month in federal, state, and local advocacy: AIA hosts Virtual Capitol Hill Day, updates on the 2019 state legislative session from AIA Washington Council, and opportunities to get involved across issues that matter to you.
Virtual Capitol Hill Day
AIA members not attending AIA National’s Grassroots conference in DC next month are invited to participate in a Virtual Capitol Hill Day instead. On March 6, AIA members will be able to use this portal to communicate with your federal lawmakers on the priority requests identified by AIA National:
- Energy efficiency: amend the federal tax code to target energy efficient technology on existing commercial and multifamily buildings.
- School safety: authorize design services to be an eligible use of funding in existing federal grants that support school security and establish a federal clearinghouse of resources and school design best practice for school officials to access.
Of course, you are always able to communicate with your federal lawmakers on these or other issues. Use the following links to contact your U.S. Representative or Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell.
State Legislative Session
In Olympia, AIA Washington Council continues to track issues of concern to architects and the profession as the state legislative session progresses. February 22 is the cut-off date for bills to be passed out of their policy committees; if they do not make it, they are dead for the year. AIA|WA is working on the following key items:
- Opposing a B&O tax increase on services proposed by Governor Inslee;
- Passing legislation to incorporate NCARB’s licensing standards into Washington’s architect licensing law;
- Supporting condo liability reform legislation to address high rates of liability insurance for condo projects;
- Weighing in on climate legislation that would: reduce carbon in buildings; decrease the use of HFCs used in refrigerants; address toxic materials; and establish constitutional authority for a commercial property assessed clean energy and resilience program that would provide private loans for deep energy retrofits of buildings;
- Supporting legislation to lower the voter threshold for school bonds from 60 percent to a simple majority; and
- Advocating for a robust capital budget.
For more information, read AIA|WA’s February 4 report.
Shift Zero Legislative Update
TODAY: Housing Virtual Day of Action
The Housing Development Consortium, the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance, and other groups are working to mobilize housing advocates for the $600 Million for Homes campaign. AIA|WA has signed on to this campaign. The goal is to promote a three-pronged state funding package: $200 million for the Housing Trust Fund from the capital budget; allowing local communities to retain a portion of state’s sales tax; and making the state’s real estate excise tax work for affordable housing. Today, February 21, these organizations are hosting a Virtual Day of Action where they encourage you to send a message to your legislators encouraging them to support this funding package.
Mayor Durkan Identifies Key Agenda Items in her State of the City Address
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan gave her State of the City Address on February 19. An outline of the speech, transcripts, and video are available on the City of Seattle website. Do you see something missing from the Mayor’s agenda? Contact Kirsten Smith to let us know what you would like AIA Seattle to be addressing at City Hall.
AIA Seattle Approves New Transportation Policy Statement
AIA’s new Transportation Task Force developed a Policy Statement on Transportation with guidance and input from a cross-section of interested members. The AIA Seattle Board officially approved the policy this month. Goals include: reducing single occupancy vehicle trips; prioritizing lower-emission transportation options; contributing to walkable, transit-oriented communities; addressing new mobility systems; supporting community wellness and safety; and more. The Transportation Task Force meets monthly on the second Tuesday of the month at 5:30pm @ the Center.
New Housing Policy Resource
AIA Seattle and the Housing Development Consortium are working on an online resource that will provide information on housing policy basics such as: What does the Office of Housing do? How does the GMA work? What does it take to finance an affordable housing project? What are the missing middle housing opportunities? What can architects do? What are community land trusts? Do you have burning questions that we should include? Let us know!
Public Policy Board Update
AIA Seattle’s Public Policy Board (PPB) is working to create more engagement opportunities within and without AIA. These include more engagement with city officials and staff, as well as better outreach to members. The PPB will be meeting with AIA committees during the year to review current issues, solicit ideas, and answer questions. The committee also plans to hold more policy learning events and happy hours in 2019. AIA Seattle’s current advocacy focus areas include: city design, housing, homelessness, sustainable design, the Seattle Waterfront, and transportation. Member feedback is always welcome. Contact Kirsten Smith or PPB co-chair Osama Quotah AIA.
TONIGHT: Seattle Citywide Mandatory Housing Affordability Public Hearing, February 21, 5:30pm, City Hall (Council Chambers). This is the final public hearing prior to the Council’s votes on Seattle’s Citywide MHA program. If you would like to testify, please arrive at least 30 minutes early. Members of AIA Seattle’s Committee on Homelessness will be testifying and invite others to join; contact Megan Altendorf for more information. You may also comment directly to your councilmember via email.
Imagine Greater Downtown Open House, February 28, 6:30pm – 8:30pm at City Hall (Bertha Knight Landis Room). Imagine Greater Downtown is a planning initiative to visualize what the heart of Seattle could look like in 20 years, including its public spaces, streets and the transportation system. The Open House will reveal the initiative’s final Big Ideas that will inform the Imagine Greater Downtown vision.
Fort Lawton Redevelopment Plan Public Hearing, March 4, 5:30pm-8:30pm, Catharine Blaine School Cafeteria. This meeting is rescheduled from February 11. Public comments will be heard on Seattle’s plan to convert unused land next to Discovery Park in Magnolia into 240 affordable housing units. Public comment will also be accepted via mail or email through March 6.
Sound Transit West Seattle-Ballard Scoping Comments
Sound Transit and the Federal Transit Administration have kicked off their scoping period for the West Seattle and Ballard Link Extensions project. Scoping is the next step in the environmental review process and provides an opportunity for you to comment on the route and station alternatives, topics to study in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), and project purpose and need. Comment accepted through March 18. More info here. The Sound Transit board will advance two alternatives to the EIS process in May.
AIA Seattle Task Force Meetings
AIA Seattle members are invited to attend these policy-focused meetings, which occur monthly:
Transportation Task Force Monthly Meeting: March 12, 5:30pm-6:30pm @ the Center.
Housing Task Force Monthly Meeting: March 14, 12pm-1:15pm @ the Center.
Homeless Outreach w/ COHO. March 13, 7:30pm – 11:30pm @ the Center. Join members of AIA Seattle’s Committee on Homelessness as they volunteer with Union Gospel Mission’s Search & Rescue team.
For more information on these or any other topics, or to join a task force, please contact: