Government Advocacy Narrative
Government advocacy priorities are developed at the national and state level, through extensive input from member surveys and policy networks, such as AIA’s State Government Network (SGN). The AIA Government & Community Relations Staff work with volunteer leadership to identify policy trends which affect the profession across the country, and share knowledge and best practices for addressing issues on a proactive and reactive basis.
The laws and policies that most directly impact architectural practice are passed at the state and local levels of government. Hence, state components such as AIANYS are integral to the success of advocacy efforts. While the AIA is the prime source for valuable information and for direction and guidance, AIANYS uses that information to produce positive change in policy and defend against proposals that would be detrimental to the profession
The main focus of AIANYS advocacy efforts include, but are not limited to:
- Practice Encroachment
- Tort Reform
- Regulation of the Profession
- Enforcement of Licensing Laws
- Project Delivery
- Procurement/Qualifications-Based Selection (QBS)
- Sustainability/Resiliency/Disaster Assistance
- Building codes
- Historic Preservation/Rehabilitation
Government Advocacy Benefits
Membership with AIANYS provides the organization with the means to be a credible voice in Albany and city halls across the state. Lobbying is a key component to any successful organization—especially in New York, where over a billion dollars has been spent on lobbying since 2010. Interests opposed to some of our priorities, such as tort reform, spend millions each year on lobbying and political campaign contributions in an effort to stymie change to the status quo. Needless to say, if the architecture profession is not engaged it faces marginalization.
The AIANYS Executive Director and Government Advocacy Coordinator are both registered in-house lobbyists and work with leadership and the contracted lobbyist to execute the annual Legislative Program. The Legislative Program is developed by the Government Advocacy Committee and voted on by the Board of Directors in January of the new year. Beyond advocating before the Legislature, AIANYS facilitates conversations between leadership and State agencies through participation in the Public Sector Practice Committee. The Executive Director and staff also work to maintain and expand relationships within the design and construction industry, as well as organizations outside of the industry that advocate for issues which crosscut AIANYS’s mission.
AIANYS works with the 13 local components to foster an interest in grassroots advocacy through the provision of advocacy tools and the facilitation of in-district meetings with legislators. At 8,000-plus members strong, AIANYS has enormous potential to compete with groups that have relatively more resources. Grassroots advocacy generates political currency with elected officials and injects a human aspect to the profession, which leads to the creation of familiarity and invaluable long-lasting relationships.
Grassroots efforts are showcased each Spring with the AIANYS Architects in Albany Advocacy Day, which brings volunteer architects from across the state together at the State Capitol for an intense day of meetings with legislators. With usual participation somewhere around 50 architects, AIANYS is able to schedule around 90 meetings with the most influential lawmakers and champions of the architecture profession. This day-long event provides a prime opportunity to establish a presence at the Capitol and acts as a springboard to elevate our agenda for the remaining months of Legislative Session.
While Legislative Session only lasts 6 months each year, government advocacy is a year-round activity. Much of the off-Session is used to research and refine the goals of the Legislative Program, and to nurture relationships. AIANYS is an active participant in AIA’s State Government Network (SGN) and attends the annual conference to share experiences and devise best practices for advocacy. The Executive Director and staff field government-related questions from members on an on-going basis and seek resolutions to problems confronted by members. AIANYS encourages members to share their frustrations with current State or local policy, as this feedback is crucial to identifying new trends and shared concerns.
At the heart of government advocacy is the ability to give you the tools you need to make the impact you desire. The AIA was founded in New York City in 1857 by architects, for architects, and with your help, will continue to be the credible voice of the architecture profession well into the future.