Use your skills as an architect to influence state policy.
Advocacy at the State Level
There are numerous bills introduced annually in the legislature that affect every architect or every firm in the state—sometimes deliberately, sometimes accidently. Common topics of interest to architects include licensing, lawsuits/liability, business management and general regulation of the built environment. For more detailed information on these topics, please see AIA Colorado’s Directory of Public Policies and Positions.
When the decision gets made for AIA Colorado to support or oppose legislation, there are a number of strategies we can employ. Sometimes it’s as simple as joining forces with another organization with similar legislative priorities. Often the most effective strategy however, is you, our members getting involved to make a difference.
Contact Nikolaus Remus, AIA, AIA Colorado’s Government Affairs Manager to find out how you can start advocating today.
How Can Members Affect State Policy?
Every bill is first reviewed by a small group of legislators in a public committee hearing. Our members who are affected by the bill can testify on the real-world implications if the bill were to be passed. AIA Colorado supports members who testify by providing them with talking points and opportunities to contact their legislators.
To better amplify your advocacy at the state level, we need to build and maintain relationships with our legislators. This is a two-part effort that can only work if AIA Colorado and its members work in tandem.
How does AIA Colorado Engage with State Legislators?
Legislators want to know how large groups of people are affected by the work they do at the state level. AIA Colorado, as a membership organization of 2,400 design professionals, is able to speak to legislators about the collective impact of issues on the architecture profession.
Because of this process, these conversations are not about partisanship, but rather how a policy will affect architects and the architecture profession as a whole. This makes it easier to focus on specific issues with legislators, regardless of how our members may vote on their own ballots. Legislators understand this separation and appreciate the insight architects can offer. We also know that in Colorado, our priorities as a profession don’t clearly align with either political party.
AIA Colorado also works closely with our lobbyist, Jerry Johnson. Johnson has over 30 years’ experience lobbying on architects’ behalf and is an integral part of all our advocacy efforts, whether it’s advancing our efforts on specific bills or helping build relationships between members and legislators.
How Can AIA Colorado Members Engage with State Legislators?
The most effective for a member to advocate at the state level is by reaching out to your representative and senator as a constituent. Regularly attending their public events, asking questions, and sharing your opinions can go a long way towards building a rapport and advancing efforts that benefit and protect architects. Our legislators know they aren’t experts on every topic, so they rely on informed constituents, like you, to help them understand details on a subject they haven’t considered.
Member Action on Proposed Legislation
When AIA Colorado makes a decision to formally support or oppose a bill, we need your help. Legislators want to hear from people who can offer particular insight on a bill and who are directly affected by it. Regardless of your prior experience as an advocate, we have the tools and resources to help you make a difference.
If you see an architecture-related bill introduced that you’re passionate about, please contact us to discuss the possibility of AIA Colorado taking a position and taking action.
Legislative Session Efforts and Bill Tracker
Every legislative session, AIA Colorado shares regular updates on bills we’re monitoring or have taken a position on. You can view our 2018 bill tracking list here via Colorado Capitol Watch. You can also take a look at our annual legislative session summary. The Legislative Subcommittee uses a four-tier system to rank a bill’s importance to the architecture profession:
Tier 1: High-Priority
It is recommended that AIA Colorado take specific action on a bill, including committee testimony, asking our members to contact their legislators, public position statements, and other similar actions.
Tier 2: Low-Priority
It is recommended that AIA Colorado partner with other organizations advocating for or against this bill, and conduct targeted outreach to legislative allies.
Tier 3: Information Only
It is recommended that AIA Colorado share information about this bill with our members who may be affected, note where there are conflicting opinions, and include this information in our Annual Legislative Session Summary report.
Tier 4: Not of Interest
This bill does not affect the architecture profession and there is no recommendation for AIA Colorado to take a position or action. Tier 4 bills are typically excluded from our tracking list, except when there is a possibility that the bill could be amended in such a way that it may affect the profession.