In addition to the legislative priorities established by the Board of Directors, AIA Minnesota has been advocating on behalf of the profession during the COVID-19 Crisis.
As part of the Building Jobs Coalition, AIA Minnesota submitted this letter to the Governor’s Office and legislative leaders on August 26, 2020.
AIA Minnesota continues to advocate for a bonding bill to be completed in one of the 2020 special legislative sessions.
AIA Minnesota Government Affairs 2020 Legislative Priorities
The AIA Minnesota Government Affairs committee created the following legislative priorities for the 2020 session, which have been approved by the AIA Minnesota board of directors.
Energy Efficiency, Sustainability & Resilience:
Climate Change and Resilience: AIA Minnesota recognizes the threat posed to our built and natural environments by climate change and supports measures across industries that reduce carbon emissions, encourage energy-efficient design and whole-building life cycle assessments, and foster resilient and regenerative buildings and systems.
AIA Minnesota supports efforts to achieve carbon-neutral new construction and major renovations and retrofits by 2030 (the B3/SB2030 program), and a carbon-neutral built environment by 2050. It also supports Minnesota and nationwide firms adopting the AIA 2030 commitment and efforts to include the growing bodies of knowledge in resilience, equitable design, and advanced building performance in the definition of health, safety, and welfare in state and local codes.
AIA Minnesota supports policies, programs, and practices that promote adaptable, resilient, and regenerative buildings and communities, with built environments that reduce harm and property damage, adapt to evolving conditions, and more readily, effectively, and efficiently recover from destructive events.
Sustainable Materials: AIA Minnesota supports efforts to achieve healthy built and natural spaces by promoting the use of non-toxic building materials. AIA Minnesota supports the preference of products from manufacturers who have chosen to transparently disclose the contents of their products.
Disaster Assistance: AIA Minnesota supports the active involvement of architects in disaster assistance efforts, providing valuable insights and aid to communities before, during, and after a destructive event.
Housing: AIA Minnesota supports policies, programs, and incentives to promote the design, construction, renovation, rehabilitation, preservation and stabilization of high-quality, safe, healthy, affordable, sustainable and resilient housing within the means of all people. In addition, AIA Minnesota supports regional, non-traditional, holistic approaches to solving the housing crisis, and advocates for the benefits of higher density housing near transit.
Qualifications-Based Selection: AIA Minnesota supports public policies, requirements, and administrative procedures in procurement processes – including the work of the State Designer Selection Board and any publicly-funded agency or organization in Minnesota – that mandate the open selection of architects on based on qualifications. AIA Minnesota opposes hiring of architects on the basis of fees. AIA Minnesota supports periodic review of the operations of the State Designer Selection Board to ensure the goals of qualifications-based selection are well implemented by the Board. The review completed in 2018 had several recommendations that require legislative and administrative changes, which will continue to be pursued during the 2020 session.
Bonding: AIA Minnesota supports a robust, regular and predictable bonding process that provides appropriate funding for predesign and design work related to all projects and encourages sustainable, resilient, and regenerative design and upgrades of public projects. Bonding should account for both new construction and renovation of existing public facilities.
Codes: AIA Minnesota supports regulation by a set of comprehensive, coordinated, and contemporary building codes and standards that establish sound thresholds of health, safety, and the protection of the public welfare in Minnesota. To that end, AIA Minnesota advocates for the development and adoption of model building codes that:
- Include participation by architects and the public in a consensus-driven process;
- Are the product of informed education and scientific research;
- Include provision for a prompt appeals procedure;
- Are cost-effective in balance with public benefit;
- Promote building code provisions that set performance rather than prescriptive criteria; and
- Allow for rapid response to developing emergencies, including climate change.
AIA Minnesota supports efforts at the state and local levels to adopt the 2018 International Building and Plumbing Codes, which include new code provisions for gender-neutral restrooms that were first proposed by AIA National.
School Safety: AIA Minnesota is committed to working with all concerned stakeholders to keep children safe in schools. AIA Minnesota architects offer strategies and engage policymakers on ways to avert and restrict violence while preserving open learning environments that can positively influence student behavior and create more connected open school communities.
Tax Policies & Incentives: AIA Minnesota supports tax and regulatory policies that foster the financial success of architecture firms and members of the profession, in the context of a fair tax code and the economic well-being of all Minnesotans. AIA Minnesota opposes expansion of the sales tax in Minnesota to include professional services. AIA Minnesota supports tax incentives that promote energy efficiency, resilience, historic preservation, affordable housing, and community and economic development.
Equity in Education: AIA Minnesota is actively working to build and mentor a diverse, inclusive, and equitable profession of architecture. AIA Minnesota supports efforts to eliminate disparities in PreK-12 educational opportunities, resources, and graduation rates. AIA Minnesota supports strengthened funding levels for the University of Minnesota, in particular as related to concerns about the affordability of the education necessary to become a licensed architect in the state ofMinnesota.
Project Delivery: AIA Minnesota believes architects are uniquely qualified and positioned to play a lead role in advising public policymakers as they examine methods for the development of public projects and provide architectural services for all project delivery methods.
- P3: The Public Private Partnership (P3) is an alternative approach to financing and delivery of public projects. Delivering design, construction, operation, and/or maintenance services is inherently complex – particularly so in the context of vertical construction. AIA Minnesota has significant concerns as to whether P3 is the right approach for Minnesota, including the degree to which client and end-user needs would remain primary, how to ensure transparency in governmental financing of public buildings, and how profits for the private financing entity would be generated over time. Before this approach is allowed for state-funded vertical construction, rigorous, objective analysis of this approach is necessary – including what has gone well and where problems have arisen in P3 implementations around the nation and the world – with a focus on the interests of owners, end-users, and the general public, and including comparative analysis of P3 and other project delivery options currently available under Minnesota law.
Supporting Licensure: AIA Minnesota believes that the health, safety, and welfare of the public depends on having licensed, continually-educated and specifically-trained architects. State licensing boards are crucial to maintaining professional accountability and guarding against unlicensed professionals taking on duties that impact the health, safety, and welfare of Minnesotans.
Visit the AIA Advocacy website for more information about these and other initiatives currently in progress.