July Legislative Update
There are a few good updates to provide you today, as the Legislature has been busy working on the State Budget and working through legislation prior to its Summer Recess beginning in mid-July.
California Historic Preservation Tax Credit
AIA CA joined the California Preservation Foundation in 2019 to jointly sponsor SB 451, authored by the California President pro Tempore Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), to create a California Historic Preservation Tax Credit for work performed on historic buildings. SB 451 was signed into law to authorize tax credits up to $50 million per year. Unfortunately, the tax credits needed to be appropriated in the State Budget, which did not happen until this year. The Legislature has passed a State Budget that appropriates $50 million to fund this tax credit, and Governor Newsom signed that budget, meaning the tax credit is funded for Fiscal Year 2021-22.
Zero Net Carbon Continuing Education
The AIA CA sponsored legislation, AB 1010 authored by Assembly Member Marc Berman (D-Palo Alto), passed its last legislative committee hearing and has two votes remaining before it is sent to the Governor. Those two votes will take place on the floors of the State Senate and State Assembly.
AB 1010 would require all California architects to complete 5 hours of continuing education in Zero Net Carbon Design in order to renew their license, and would go into effect for the 2023 renewal cycle. AIA CA will provide the 5 hours of coursework in 2023 free of charge.
This legislation reflects the AIA CA Board of Directors commitment to Climate Action, and that immediate steps need to be taken to reduce the built environments impact on the climate. AB 1010 is intended to give California architects the knowledge needed to understand expected changes to the California Building Standards Codes and to position California architects as leaders in net zero carbon design.
In 2019 the Secretary of State’s office (SOS), by administrative fiat, began rejecting the names of newly formed architectural general stock corporations that included both a name of an architect and the word “architect” or “architecture.” In other words, if two architects named Smith and Jones attempted to organize a new architectural general stock corporation firm named “Smith Jones Architects, Inc.” the SOS would have rejected that name.
The SOS stated that only Professional Corporations could use the names of architects and an “A” word in the firm name. AIA CA, staff at the CA Architects Board, and attorneys who specialize in organizing new firms disagreed with the SOS’s interpretation of the law. Indeed, architectural firms have been organizing as general stock corporations for decades using this naming format. Regardless, a change in law is needed to restore the naming freedom to newly formed architectural general stock corporations.
AIA CA had hoped to fix this last year, but the impact of COVID 19 on the work of the Legislature made that impossible. So, 2021 is the year to fix the problem, and last week our language was added to AB 830. If AB 830 is signed by the Governor with our language, it will go into effect on January 1, 2022.
Governor Appoints Mitra Kanaani, FAIA, to the California Architects Board
Governor Newsom on Friday made several appointments to the California Architects Board, including appointing Mitra Kanaani, FAIA to a vacant seat. Mitra is a professor at NewSchool of Architecture and Design in San Diego. The Governor also reappointed Tian Feng, FAIA and Ronald Jones, AIA to the CAB. AIA California sends its congratulations to Mitra, Tian, and Ronald on their appointments and sincere appreciation for their service to the public and architectural profession.