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President’s Message Mar18

Spring Marches On

Well its here – March madness, oh the upsets.  And opening day is just around the corner.  And did you notice we had snow on the first day of spring.  Could this be any more fun?!

We are having a great time at AIA Maryland – I’ll share my current top 3 with you.

  1. The legislative committee has followed over 45 bills this year, we have testified and written letters – take a look in the newsletter to read more about the activity.
  1. Post Disaster Training: We are hosting a Post Disaster Safety-Assessment Program training certification in April to assist in providing building evaluations in the aftermath of a disaster. If you are interested sign up and get certified.
  1. Get Involved: Saturday I went to a march. It was an impressive collection of young voices. All speaking out for change, speaking from their hearts.  We should all be inspired. I said this last month, find your voice – speak up, speak out.

And just in case you have any spare time left I have a few things to help you populate your calendar:

Beating the drum for my school – Most of you are aware that the University of Maryland’s School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation is celebrating its 50th anniversary.  I hope to see you at one of the events in the coming weeks, there is a symposium at the School on 13 April, a Gala at the Library of Congress in Washington DC on the 14th of April and a Beaux Arts Ball on April 20th at MilkBoy ArtHouse in College Park.

If your local school affiliation is Baltimore’s Morgan State University, check out their lecture series – there are still a handful left this spring.

 

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State Board of Architects – Winter Report

State Board of Architects’ Winter Report – New member; Dr. Geier’s big win

The SBOA welcomed its newest architect member, Douglas J. Polt, AIA, appointed by the Governor as a representative of our profession from Harford County.

Polt has practiced at the Polt Design Group, Inc., In Bel Air since 1992, performing a general practice, including commercial, medical, educational, industrial and residential clients in the mid- Atlantic region. A Loyal Cornhusker, Polt is a graduate of the architectural program at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. Among the members of the practice with him is his Daughter, Whitney Polt Hardesty, who is also a registered architect.

With Polt’s appointment, the SBOA is now up to full strength, with architects, Chair Paul Edmeades, AIA, Vice Chair Cynthia Shonaiya, Kevin Sneed, FAIA, and Magda Westerhaut, AIA. Stephanie Hopkins and Gary Ey continue as public members.

Who is Dr. Mark Geier, and what might he have to do with the Architecture Board? On on 7 December, 2017, Dr. Geier won a $2,500,000.00 judgment in Montgomery County Circuit Court against one of the most prestigious of all the 100 Maryland Professional Boards, the Board of Physicians.

Judge Ronald B. Rubin found that the Physicians’ Board and staff members had damaged Dr. Geier and decreed that several state employees and each of the volunteer Board members should personally pay sums ranging from $10,000.00 to $200,000.00.

Attorney General Frosh will appeal this judgement to higher courts, as is his prerogative, and this is a most influential Board, whose supervised professionals are heavy political contributors.

Should SBOA members be concerned? After all, they along with the Engineers’ Board have been involved in enabling activist County Permit Review Professional Engineers for years in restraining trade for most Maryland citizens. These Urban County PE’s restrain trade by denying architects their legal right to design, sign, and seal the “integral parts” of their buildings.

Both Boards would fail the US Federal Trade Commission’s “Three Strikes” test for Restraint of Trade as did the North Carolina Dentist’s Board in 2016, after that Board had denied non-dentist Tooth Whiteners the right to practice. The US Supreme Court supported the FTC 6 to 3, so the two Maryland Boards are on shaky legal grounds in their support of County Permit PE’s as they ignore the Maryland Architect’s Law and demand PE seals on “integral parts” of architects’ drawings at extra expense borne by Maryland citizens.

But Dr. Geier and Judge Rubin have indicated that volunteer Board members and even state employees are not above the law.

Perhaps SBOA Members should be protected by Directors’ Liability Insurance, after all.

Stay tuned.

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The Legislative Countdown

The Maryland Constitution requires the General Assembly to convene on the “second Wednesday of January.”  It further permits the General Assembly to continue its session for a period “not longer than ninety days” each year. Therefore, it is important that anyone with an interest in passing, amending or defeating legislation pay close attention to the Dates of Interest published by the Department of Legislative Services.

One week into the session the Governor faces a deadline for the budget bill and the capital budget bill to be introduced. By the 14th day of the session the senate and house face a bill request deadline to guarantee bill preparation by the introduction dates which are the 27th and 31st days of the session respectively.

Space is too limited here to journalize all the key dates occurring within the three months the legislature is in session. However, it is important to note that March 19th was the Opposite Chamber Crossover Date. That is the day by which any bill that has passed its original chamber must crossover to the opposite chamber if it is going to have any chance of moving to the governor’s desk for his signature.

In spite of all of the dates, reminders and calendars many hundreds of bills required reporting, debating and voting on crossover day. Rest assured that the dedication and hard work of AIA Maryland produced action on its bills of interest sparing its members the drama of the crossover deadline and the agony of defeat. In fact, HB1557/SB1020, Procurement – Architectural Services and Engineering Services – Reciprocal Preference, passed 135-0 and 45-0, respectively and crossed over with time to spare. SB1020 will have its House hearing on March 29th.  This bill when signed by the governor will place Maryland architects on equal footing with architects from other states which give preference to in-state firms. This legislation is the culmination of years of research, drafting, and finally lobbying and testifying.

This session, AIA Maryland considered over thirty pieces of legislation.  Subjects ranged from SBOA governance of the profession, school construction, MBE qualification, building performance standards in agricultural buildings, prohibition of liquidated damages in MBE regulations and electronic means to conduct procurement, to name a few. Some were supported, some amended and some opposed.  A final report will be made in this section after sine die, the final adjournment of this year’s session.

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Legislative Update FEB18

And the beat goes on …

Forty-nine and 3,093 are numbers that tell us where we stand in the legislative process known as the Maryland General Assembly. In the forty-nine days that have just passed 3,093 bills have been introduced. Those who measure movement by numbers may also be interested to know that there are 41 days remaining before the legislature adjourns. The filing deadline for those wishing to throw their hat in the ring to become an office holder is four hours away. At 9:00pm this evening some incumbents and office seekers will experience heartburn or joy as they peruse the final list of candidates they will be facing over the summer primary and into the fall General election.

In keeping with a numbers theme, AIA Maryland is tracking about 37 bills of interest to licensed architects. I say about 37, because some will be withdrawn and others will be introduced regardless of the bill introduction deadline having passed.

Today, Past President Dan Bailey and Secretary Adam Read testified in favor of Senate Bill 1020, Procurement – Architectural Services and Engineering Services – Reciprocal Preference.  AIA Maryland has a completed a multi-year effort to determine how much work in dollars, jobs and taxes leaves our State when out-of-town architectural firms are awarded Maryland contracts over equally qualified local firms.

A study conducted by the Sage Policy Group reveals that over 25% of awards for architectural services are secured by firms not headquartered in Maryland. Local procurement share can be as low as 48% depending on the size of the individual awards. While contracts for Maryland firms accounted for 2,000 total jobs, an additional 2,250 Maryland jobs would have been supported since mid-2004 had Maryland firms been awarded contracts which went to non-resident firms.  Maryland firms will have more work,  more jobs and, the State will have more revenue should SB1020 and HB1557 (the House version of SB1020) pass.

Though it appears the session is at the halfway mark the bulk of the work is merely beginning. Days filled with long debates in the House and Senate chambers, committee hearings over-scheduled with bills and conference committees to work out difficult compromises await.

AIA Maryland remains at work for increased historic tax credits, school construction for quality learning environments, and the ability to continue to design wood frame construction in Maryland.

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Peterson Prize 2018

Prizes in honor of Charles E. Peterson, FAIA, a founder of the Historic American Buildings Survey, are awarded annually for the best sets of measured drawings prepared by sutdents of architecture and donated to HABS. Accepted entries will be transmitted to the HABS Collection at the Library of Congress.  Click here for more information.

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Leicester B. Holland Prize 2018

The Leicester B. Holland Prize is an annual competition that recognizes the best single-sheet measured drawing of a historic building, site, or structure prepared by an individual(s) to the standards of the Historic American Building Survey (HABS), Historic American Engineering Record (HAER), or the Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS). The prize honors Leicester B. Holland, a founder of HABS and the first curator of the Library of Congress HABS collection. Click here for further information.

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