2023 Legislative Update: An Action Packed Session for AIAVT

By John Alden, AIA, PPC Chair

This year has been a remarkable one for the PPC.  After several years of feeling like our voices were not being heard at the state level, we were able to engage and make significant contributions to our state discourse on important topics.  Not only did we draft and submit several position papers, we were able to testify in legislative hearings. However, most notably, we (representatives of AIAVT) were recognized as knowledgeable and experienced practitioners in the fields of housing, education, and building energy and invited to join working committees and Task Forces working on legislation in these areas.  This has been a major goal of the PPC for years and it is great to have earned this opportunity. 

Key accomplishments and appointments:

S.124 School Funding Taskforce: We have been working to reinstate School Construction Aid in the State. Spearheaded by David Epstein and others, the Legislature approved S.124 which includes the creation of a Taskforce to study funding possibilities. David has been named to this Taskforce.  AIAVT is in the process of creating a support group of other interested members to assist David as the work of the Taskforce begins.

S.100 Housing for All. This bill contained a lot of provisions affecting many aspects of housing and zoning for housing with the intention of lowering barriers and costs to the creation of more housing.  It also included a provision creating a Building Code Study Committee (RBES and CBES) to address concerns of low compliance, lack of education, designated AHJ and enforcement. With much input and testimony by PPC members and others, this bill passed. PPC members Bob Duncan and Sandy Vitzthum have been appointed to sit on the Task Force and AIAVT has created a support committee to assist them as well. Meetings have started already.

LCAR hearings on RBES and CBES After significant testimony and effort by PPC members, builders, VBRA, and others to point out flaws and the need to “fix” systemic problems with the administration/enforcement of RBES/CBES rules, legislators ultimately approved the 2023 versions of these standards, but they delayed the implementation until July of 2024 to give the State time to address the state concerns.  This will allow updates/input from the Building Code Study Committee to be considered before implementation.  We should also note that there is a grant application in the works (Energy Futures Group applied to the DOE) that also proposes to study energy codes/compliance/state structure. AIAVT is a supporter of this application.

Clean Heat Standard: This topic is also in a workgroup committee to research and study possible State actions.  PPC member Donna Leban is now in place as a participant in the online information sharing group representing AIAVT.  She can input comments from members.  

Overall, these accomplishments connect with all three AIAVT stated Strategic Plan Core Values of Member Engagement, Public Outreach, and Climate Action.  They also represent a strong first step toward our next horizon as AIAVT prepares for the upcoming addition of a Lobbyist to further amplify our voices.  We look forward to having a guide and some assistance in making sure we reach the right audience with greater impact than ever.  Cheers to the hard work by all PPC committee members this past year.  Next year should be even better.  

Anyone interested in joining the PPC at this exciting time is welcome to contact Sarah or me to find out more.