Call to Members: Show Your Support for a VT Statute of Repose (Round 3!)
By Bob Duncan, AIA & Jesse Beck, AIA
The AIAVT Survey results are in and once again members feel that the lack of a Statute of Repose is one of the most important issues to resolve. We all agree that Vermont should join the other 47 States that have an SOR in place.
Some of you may remember that several AIA-VT members, along with legal advice from Sandy Fead, worked very diligently over a number of months to craft a bill that was introduced in the 2015 term, only to have been defeated in its first Judiciary Committee vote by a last minute push from the lawyers’ lobby.
This was not the first unsuccessful attempt, and getting such a law enacted will not be easy, given the significant opposition that will no doubt continue from the legal profession, which by the way, along with the medical profession, enjoys such protection for its profession.
AIAVT’s public policy committee is only willing to have the 2015 bill reintroduced in the next term of the legislature if there is full support from the Vermont architectural community. It was made very clear to us in 2015 that without the support of a significant percentage of architects licensed in this state, and without several demonstrable examples of undue harm having been caused because of the lack of a Statute of Repose, that not only would such an endeavor prove fruitless, but would be a waste of time better focused on other issues. The Public Policy Committee has decided that absent this support and examples of harm, it is not worth the effort to pursue this again.
Accordingly, the Committee has decided to reach out to the membership via our newsletter to request commitments from our members to support such a bill, provide examples, be prepared to testify, and help support this cause. These commitments can be sent via an email promise to AIAVT’s Executive Director, Sarah O Donnell no later than October 15th. The PPC will report at the annual meeting this December what level of support was received and share a proposed course of action.
If there are commitments to Sarah by October 15th from at least 50% of the membership, the Public Policy Committee will reach out to legislative contacts to get a bill introduced in the upcoming term, similar to the bill previously introduced in 2015. If enough members commit by 10/15, Sarah will email each person a sample support letter to be personally edited, along with a copy of the previously introduced legislation, and additional supporting information that can be used to personalize the letter.
We are looking forward to hearing from you on this very important initiative.