Advocacy Updates|

A Message to our Members from your VP of Government Relations

Dear Colleagues,

I come to you as the AIA-California’s Vice President for Government Affairs 2019-2020 with a passion for service and advocacy to our members and our profession.   I have devoted my long career as an architect in government and industry and as a volunteer architect my community.  The issues of importance to all of us align with my own experience of public service.

Recently during “National Architecture Week,” the AIA’s public awareness drive, “Blueprint for Better,” reminded that our work to advocate and contribute locally, nationally and globally within the governance process is critical if our profession is to have a continuing role and a meaningful voice in decision-making, policy-making and actionable planning.

I am excited to work with you as a fellow Citizen Architect and unapologetic advocate for laws, regulations, policies and practices which represent out highest goals:  Design and construction of safe, beautiful, long-lasting architecture which serves society in every respect; Stewardship of the environment for us and future generations through the means and methods of building; Fair and equitable design, contracting, construction and related practices and requirements.

I look forward with my fellow Directors of AIA California, with Mark Christian, Hon. AIA CA, Melissa Barton and our Chapter Liaisons to taking our program into your offices and chapters over the next two years.  As your voice, we will continue outreach through a directly contract with every component in our upcoming feature titled “Advocacy on the Road.”   Please contact me with ideas and sources of inspiration.  Thank you!

Rona Rothenberg, FAIA



Legislation attempting to codify into state law the April, 2018 California Supreme Court decision in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles was amended last week with language favorable to licensed architects.  The Dynamex decision enacted a stricter test on who can be an independent contractor.  AB 5 proposes to codify that ruling into state law with some important changes.

On May 24th AB 5 was amended to exempt licensed architects from the Dynamex test, meaning the Dynamex three-factor test will not apply to architectural firms that contract with licensed architects for services.  AB 5, if enacted, will allow a model used by many small architectural firms – contracting with licensed architects to help provide architectural services – will remain a legal model for the delivery of their services.

Public Works Registration

Did you know that you must be registered with the Department of Industrial Relations in order to compete to provide services on a public works project?  And that there could be a financial penalty if you are not registered?  Please see this document for more information.  And please know that AIA CA is trying to modify this registration requirement so that it is not applied to the profession so broadly.

Sales Tax on Services Updates

AIA CA is a member of a coalition of professional service providers opposing the effort to impose the sales tax on services, including architectural services.  One of the first efforts of that coalition was the release of a study challenging the alleged benefits of a sales tax on professional services.  You can read that study here.

Statewide Ambassador Program

AIA California’s Government Relations team believes that sharing and communicating the mission and advocacy efforts of the organization enhances stewardship – thus enabling staff and members to represent the organization and profession in the community and defend the professional issues that matter the most to you.

ArchitectsVoice, AIA CA’s advocacy website, intends to engage members in the legislative and regulatory process and bolster your familiarity with the political climate, and activities happening at the state level on behalf of the profession. There you will find monthly advocacy updates, current positions on bills that the AIA CA Board of Directors has adopted [to be updated next week], and other timely information that is reported from the legislature and relevant state agencies.

Chapter Advocacy Liaison Network

AIA government and political advocacy is about advancing the Institute’s core values through the engagement of local, state and national policymakers which cannot happen without participation by its members.

The AIA CA has developed a group of Chapter Advocacy Liaisons, who are comprised of one member from each chapter who take interest in local initiatives and issues in their jurisdiction. Chapter Advocacy Liaisons are effective by monitoring and reporting policy issues relevant to his/her chapter, receiving news and information from AIA CA and dispersing it to chapter members, helping to coordinate local advocacy initiatives, and providing feedback on how AIA CA can better serve chapters on advocacy issues.

Do you have local advocacy questions, challenges and/or successes? The AIA CA would like to highlight your wins, advocacy in the news, and partner you with a Chapter Advocacy Liaison who shares your advocacy challenges to share how they have overcome barriers and enhanced the built environment. Contact Melissa Barton with your tips.

Local Advocacy Guidebook

American Institute of Architects California has assembled a guidebook to help architects become more involved at different levels of their local and state government. Filled with case studies, testimonials, directories and step-by-step instruction on how to transition from an interested observer of local politics to an active participant in the decision-making process, this guidebook helps you bring your extensive experience, practical skills and powerful voice to the table so that, as the only architect in the room, you’re heard!

Please download a copy and share with others in your organization who might have an interest:

AIACA-The Only Architect in the Room

AIA California
AIA California
Celebrating over 75 years of service, the AIA California actively promotes the value of design and advocates for the architectural profession. AIA CA is an association of 11,000 dedicated and passionate members who share a commitment to design excellence and livability in California’s natural and built environments.

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