AIA Ohio News

aiaohio.org

AIA Ohio News

AIA Ohio’s Legislative affairs program provides information and leadership through advocacy and monitoring of legislation and regulations at the state level.  By collaborating with allied professionals, industry representatives, code officials, and state and local representatives, AIA Ohio strives to build strategic alliances to address issues of public health, safety and welfate, design excellence and in advancing the quality of life through the built environment.

As advocates of innovative approaches to legislation, AIA Ohio advances state regulations that benefit the practice of architecture and promotes good design that positively affects the quality of life of for all citizens of Ohio. Through our efforts, AIA Ohio works to educate the public and legislators on a wide facet of issues relating to architecture including:

  • Qualification Based Selection
  • Historic Preservation
  • Sustainable Design
  • Building Code development and regulation
  • Statute of repose

Working through our highly qualified staff and experienced membership, AIA Ohio proposes regulations, positions architects as leaders, and tracks and responds to legislation that benefits both architects and users of the built environment alike. Additionally, through our Political Action Committee, we strive to support legislation, and allies in the legislature, that advances the needs of our members.

Lawmakers Look to Accelerate School Facilities Program from Last Session

Lawmakers are hoping to create a school facilities program to help districts with little prospect of getting traditional facilities assistance the option of smaller amounts to address technology and security needs. 

Sens. Randy Gardner (R-Bowling Green) and Lou Terhar (R-Cincinnati) testified Wednesday on their SB8 in the Senate Education Committee. Rep. Steve Arndt (R-Port Clinton) testified Tuesday on his HB37. 

Gardner said his measure's place among the first Senate bills to be introduced this session reflects the priority members of the chamber are placing on it, noting it's something lawmakers tried to address in 131-SB3 (Faber-Hite). Language in that bill, largely meant to be a de-regulation measure for schools, requires the Ohio School Facilities Commission (OSFC) to develop a proposal for how it could provide funding for technology and safety to districts that haven't participated in the traditional Classroom Facilities Assistance Program (CFAP).

"I would argue it's SB8 for a reason. It means it's going to receive serious consideration," Gardner said. 

Gardner said many school districts are so far down the list or are projected to have such a low state share of funding that CFAP isn't a viable option, but they nonetheless have some specific facilities needs. 

"We know there are a number of districts in the state that are not likely to participate in that program, or if they do they will be many, many years away," he said.

Terhar said safety and security should be a priority at all schools, while schools also need help keeping up with technological change. 

"When we have kids sitting on the bus on a smartphone that could run the space shuttle, and then go into a classroom and we're back to pencils and paper ... that's absolutely nonsensical," Terhar said. 

Gardner said he wants to work collaboratively with OSFC and the administration, noting the bill is very short because it leaves many of the details to OSFC.

Sen. Bill Coley (R-West Chester) asked if it should be open to all schools, not just public schools. Gardner said he wasn't sure of the details of how that would work but said he wants to maximize the benefit of the program. 

Sen. Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering), the chair of the committee, noted there's unused charter school facilities funding left over from the current operating budget.

 

Bill would designate the barn as Ohio's first official historical architectural structure

Representative Anne Gonzales has introduced a bill into the Ohio House of Representatives that would designate the barn as the official historical architectural structure of the state.

During a February 14 Hearing for HB 12 before the House State and Local Government committee, Rep. Gonzales said that the bill is the work of five students from the Westerville City Schools Gifted Education Program. These students felt strongly that the barn should be designated the official historical architectural structure of the state of Ohio. "I believe that it is important to cherish and preserve the architectural relics that are such an important part of our rural heritage," Rep. Gonzales said. In response to Chairwoman Anielski's inquiry, Rep. Gonzales said that the barn would be the first architectural structure categorized as a historical structure in Ohio and that the eighth grade students who approached her intend to give testimony at a later hearing.

Rep. Perales commended Rep. Gonzales for her efforts to engage students.

Update: Proposed Consolidation of Architect & Landscape Architect Boards

AIA Ohio has closely monitored the possible consolidation of the Ohio Architects and Landscape Architects Boards.  The State Budget Bill (HB64)--introduced in February, 2015-- proposed combining these two Boards which AIA Ohio opposed.  A compromise in the final Budget Bill mandated a Sunset Review Commission study of the issue as well as an investigation into which of Ohio's many state boards and commissions should be abolished or combined.  Following many hearings, during which AIA opposed combining the Architect and Landscape Architect Boards, the Review Commission's recommendations were included in HB 471. The recommendations proposed to abolish numerous boards and commissions and to combine most medical-related boards.  Culminating many House and Senate hearings on the bill, last night (Nov. 30) the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee recommended what likely will become the final version of the bill (Substitute HB 471).  It does not mention the Architect or Landscape Architect Boards. 

The bill will now goes to the Senate floor and, if approved, back to the House for its concurrence in Senate amendments before going to the Governor for his signature.

House Advances School Facilities Funding Bills

On November 29 the Ohio House of Representatives approved HB 148 which wold require the School Facilities Commission to give districts priority project funding if they’ve recently transferred, merged or consolidated operations. 

The OSFC bill would incentivize merged districts to seek construction program money from the state to build new and innovative classrooms as well as partner with universities that offer College Credit Plus, joint sponsor Rep. John Patterson (D-Jefferson) said. The measure advanced with a 74-15 vote.

Under the bill, the commission would determine the state share of project funding based on the lowest percentage of the merged districts. It would also allow OSFC to reduce the share by up to 25% for efficient project features and by another 10% if the new building is on the same land as a state higher education institution.

 “If you’re going to consolidate, it doesn’t make sense not to have new buildings, better buildings more efficiency,” Rep. Patterson said. However, districts that are consolidating because of declining enrollment can rarely afford or find community support in the form of a tax increase to construct new campuses.

Architects Registration Board Not included in Consolidation Bill

Gov. John Kasich's latest attempt to consolidate several boards and commissions - a plan the administration hopes to see enacted in the lame duck session - excludes the Architect's Registration Board, but is triggering consternation among members of the medical professional groups that would be consolidated.

Past attempts to cull the number of boards have triggered extensive turf battles among the various groups, most of which successfully convinced lawmakers that their individual oversight panels serve the public and their professions well. But the new proposal to combine 16 medical related boards into eight could be the most ambitious to date and will likely reenergize the constituencies and result in significant pushback in upcoming legislative hearings.

The latest consolidation effort comes as lawmakers wrap up their "Sunset Review" process of deciding which boards and commissions are no longer necessary. 

Introduced earlier this week by Sen. Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) and Rep. Sarah LaTourette (R-Bainbridge Twp.), the proposal ( SB 366,  HB 617) follows last year's U.S. Supreme Court ruling that found North Carolina's Dental Board violated antitrust laws by having dentists in effect regulate themselves by having members of the profession serve on the panel.

"With the need to address the Supreme Court case ruling, the General Assembly currently going through the Sunset Review process, and considering our administration's ongoing efforts to reform health care, it is important to look at these things in an interrelated way," said administration spokesman Tom Hoyt, of the Department of Administrative Services. "We applaud Senator Seitz, as well as Representative LaTourette, for taking on this effort and we look forward to working with them to get this to the governor's desk."

Sen. Seitz said his main aim in sponsoring the bill was to deal with the antitrust issue and he agreed to include the board consolidations after discussing the issue with the administration.

The lawmaker, who along with cosponsor Sen. John Eklund (R-Chardon) is an anti-trust lawyer, said it was important to address the Supreme Court case so people would be willing to serve on the panels.

"If you face the prospect of antitrust liability, which could be substantial and expensive, you are going to say, 'No thank you, I'm not going to serve my profession,'" he said.

As for the "admittedly contentious and thorny issue of board consolidation," Sen. Seitz said the proposal was crafted after much thought and discussion and avoids involving some of the state's largest regulatory panels.  He said the groupings "conceptually make sense" and pointed to consolidations of state agencies, such as Mental Health and Addiction Services, as examples of how such mergers could work.

The administration distributed a memorandum on its plan to the boards and their constituencies, and many are expected to oppose it. Their arguments harken to past debates over proposed consolidations, which include concerns over lack of sufficient oversight, sufficient representation on the panels, public safety and depleted knowledge of the various professions.

The new structure would retain the Chiropractic, Dental and Nursing boards in their current form and condense others into the following:

·         State Medical Board of Ohio: Ohio Board of Dietetics, Ohio Respiratory Care Board, Medical Board.

·         Ohio Board of Pharmacy: Home Medical Equipment Facility Licensing, Pharmacy Board.

·         Physical Health Services Board: Ohio Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy and Athletic Trainers Board, State Board of Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics.

·         Behavioral Health Professionals Board: Ohio Counselor, Social Worker and Marriage and Family Therapist Board, Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board, Ohio State Board of Psychology.

·         Vision and Hearing Professionals Board: Ohio Board of Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology, Ohio State Board of Optometry, Ohio Optical Dispensers Board, Hearing Aid Dealers and Fitters Licensing Board.

The representatives of other boards said they did not have a problem with the component of the proposal that directly addresses the court case.

 

Under that change, DAS would be involved in a third-party review process that "would be triggered when a board has the potential to violate state or federal antitrust law," according to the administration's fact sheet. "The addition of this review process is aimed squarely at shielding boards from potential legal action and specifically designed to prevent delays in important decisions made by the boards."

You are here: Home NEWS & ADVOCACY UPDATES Legislative Issues

AIA Bulletin

Legislative News