Legislative Review from our Lobbyist

joe-miedusiewskiJune, 2018 

Joe Miedusiewski
Lobbyist, AIA Maryland

The recently concluded 90-day session of the Maryland General Assembly addressed a record 3,101 bills. Considering there are only 188 legislators, that works out to an average of just over 16 bills for each member.  When one factors in that 2018 is an election year the logic becomes a bit clearer.  There will be much movement among the present officeholders. Ten senators and twenty-seven house members will not return to their present seats. Some will retire, some will run for other offices, some have been forced to leave, and sadly, we mourned the passing of Senator Wayne Norman. The numbers may change further after election returns are counted.

Attitudes, issues and constituencies change and so it holds that the legislature changes. Major change not withstanding one fact holds true. AIA Maryland has been able to manage those changes successfully by working diligently to establish relationships with lawmakers. AIA Maryland is invited to be at the table when issues affecting our profession are being debated.  The issues are often complex and the committee hearings can be intense. Yet, we consistently bring research, facts and common sense to the debates.

The many years of establishing strong relationships enable us to have access to government decision makers. AIA Maryland’s credibility is ranked highly and its support is often sought by legislators, preservationists and environmentalists.

A Legislative Success Story!

Two years ago, AIA Maryland engaged the Sage Policy Group to study and report on how Maryland state procurement practices were impacting the state economy and design industry.

What they found was compelling.

A significant percentage of design fees were leaving Maryland as out-of-state firms took advantage of non-competitive state procurement rules. Many of our neighboring states, and the majority of states throughout the country, have language that ‘levels the playing field’ by reciprocating the home-state preference rules of firms seeking work. This left many Maryland architects at a disadvantage when competing for state design contracts. The new legislation defines what a resident firm is and, protects resident firms from biased procurement practices. The positive impact of this legislation will be felt by all of you – the talented Maryland architectural community looking to do their best for Maryland.

We thought this significant bill signing was a good time to highlight how important the Maryland Architects’ PAC is in ensuring that architects have a meaningful impact on state legislation that affects your profession and your business. Legislation is often put forth without fully knowing which legislators will support it and which ones will stand in opposition. Once this legislation was introduced, we were overwhelmed to see that dozens of legislators signed on as co-sponsors of the bill, and there was not one opposing vote in either the house or the senate! This tremendous support is a testament to the impact that the PAC is having and the high regard that your legislature has for the architectural community. As our lobbyist, American Joe, likes to remind us, ‘PAC stands for two things…Political Action Committee and Protecting Architects’ Careers.’ That’s especially true in this case.

Please, take a look at the Sage Policy Report, read the legislation and continue this great momentum by donating to the Maryland Architects’ PAC today!