Each year the Legislative Subcommittee
tracks individual bills as they are introduced and then taken through the legislative process, reporting to the Government Affairs Committee (GAC)
. The GAC then brings developing issues to the AIA Colorado board of directors to define an official position. On key issues, the GAC may testify at legislative hearings. The committee also works with our lobbyist to develop relationships with legislators, to encourage AIA Colorado members to become involved with legislators in their own districts, and to identify and work with those in the state House and Senate who support our positions on key issues.
2013 Legislative Summary
The AIA Colorado Legislative Subcommittee, chaired by D.A. Bertram, Esq., FAIA, reviewed 325 House bills (HB) and 288 Senate bills (SB).
Thanks and acknowledgment to My Do, AIA; Chris Greenwald, AIA; David Popiel, AIAS; Linda Purcell, AIA; and Daren Willden, Assoc. AIA, for reviewing and analyzing all of the bills, as members of the Legislative Subcommittee
. Special thanks to our lobbyist, Jerry Johnson, Hon. AIAC, for his invaluable insight and support in understanding the entire legislative process.
The Legislative Subcommittee chose to monitor 31 bills. Download the 2013 Legislative Summary
. Many were postponed indefinitely (killed in committee), and may not be mentioned.
SB 13-161: Architect Sunset Licensing Law Signed in to Law
AIA Colorado was instrumental in the amendment and passage
of SB 13-161, known as the Architect, Professional Engineer and Professional Land Surveyor Licensing Law. The bill was signed in to law by Governor Hickenlooper on May, 28, 2013. The new licensing law will take effect July 1, 2013.
Our work began in early 2012 as the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA), Division of Professions and Occupations initiated their policy analysis of the current licensing law. DORA publicly issued their report in October 2012.
AIA Colorado had concerns with three of the 14 recommendations in the policy analysis. The issues were regarding ownership of architecture companies by non-architects, requirements for reporting claims to the board of licensure, and creating an allowance for the title "architectural intern” to be used while increasing protection of the term Architect and its derivatives. In addition to these three issues, AIA Colorado also desired to simplify the current law by adopting the NCARB model law language for the definition of the practice of architecture. AIA Colorado was instrumental in amending the bill to address these four points:
- Architecture firms who use the term "architects” in their name shall continue to be required to have a majority of the officers and directors be licensed architects;
- If a licensed architect has a malpractice claim filed against him or her and the claim is dismissed by a court of law, the architect is NOT required to report the claim to the board of licensure;
- The term "architectural intern” is now recognized and protected by law to mean those individuals who are working under the supervision of an architect and in the process of completing the required practice hours in preparation of the architect registration examination;
- The NCARB model law (with minor edits) was adopted and simplifies in the statute the definition of the practice of architecture.
Additional new items in the law are:
- Malpractice claims that are not dismissed by a court of law must be reported to the licensing board within 60 days of being settled, or in which judgment is rendered.
- There is a penalty to those individuals practicing architecture who are not licensed or exempt from licensure. If these individuals are found to be illegally practicing architecture, they must FULLY REFUND the compensation they received.
- People and firms may no longer use derivatives of the term "architect,” including architects, architecture, and architectural, in any offer to the public to perform services relating to architecture. In other words, you may not call yourself an "architectural designer” if you have a design firm and are NOT licensed in Colorado. An exception exists for Architectural Interns as described above.
- Architects are allowed to have electronic seals, in addition to our traditional crimp or rubber stamps. Rules regarding electronic seals are yet to be defined.
- Architects must give any updates in change of address to the licensing board within 30 days of the change.
Due to the great efforts of the GAC, architects in Colorado will be able to continue practicing architecture as before, with a more meaningful, simpler and efficient law to govern us.
As a reminder, parts of the previous law remain unchanged and are still in effect. These include the following rules:
- A firm may only practice architecture if it is under the direct supervision of an architect, licensed in Colorado, who is an officer of the corporation, a member of the limited liability company, or a partner in the registered limited liability partnership.
- Licenses expire October 31, in odd numbered years.
- Architects shall complete a minimum of 12 CEH during each calendar year. The reporting period for CEH in order to renew a license is the even year prior to the year in which the license expires and the odd year in which the license expires, during which time licensees shall complete a total of 24 CEH.
- Excess CEH may not be credited to a future renewal period.
2012 Legislative Summary
The legislative subcommittee, chaired by D.A. Bertram, Esq., FAIA, reviewed 361 House and 184 Senate bills. Of those bills, the subcommittee monitored 47.
Thanks and acknowledgment go to Karen Harris, AIA; Chris Greenwald, AIA; Anthony Ries, AIA; and Ed Kammerer, AIA; for reviewing and analyzing all of the bills as members of the Legislative Subcommittee. Special thanks go to Jerry Johnson, our lobbyist, for his invaluable insight and support in understanding the entire legislative process. Also, a special thanks to AIA Colorado Director of Local Chapters Pomelia Bowers for her active participation and coordination with this subcommittee.
For information on some of the bills the Legislative Subcommittee monitored, download the 2012 Legislative Summary
AIA Colorado Board Voted to Oppose SB 12-120
The AIA Colorado board of directors voted to oppose Senate Bill 12-120.
SB 12-120 was an unnecessary bill that:
- Benefited only a very small number of interior design practitioners
- Did not benefit the public welfare
- Neglected standard state regulatory procedures, responsibility and oversight
- Propagated poorly worded regulatory language into two new sections of unrelated Titles 30 and 31 of the Colorado Revised S
- Mandated local building officials’ actions without regard to their discretion and judgment.
Contrary to what was declared in the bill, there is NO existing statutory authorization for interior designers.
Language similar to SB 12-120 is currently found in Title 12 as an EXEMPTION within the architect’s licensing law. Such an exemption simply defines project types that can be undertaken by individuals who are not architects without that individual being considered as practicing architecture without a license. This Exemption is NOT a permitting statute, is NOT recognized in established building codes, and does NOT mandate action by any local government officials.
Furthermore, additional language within this bill ("Upon submission of any such interior design construction documents and specifications, the county (municipal) building authority shall accept the same”) represents a distinct change to current legislation that adversely affects the health, safety and welfare of the public. As such, this bill is NOT simply a relocation of language within statute as represented by the proponents of this bill, but a circumvention of regulatory processes and procedures.
Senate Bill 12-120 was heard by the Local Government Committee on Wednesday, April 18, 2012, and was defeated by a vote of 8-3. The bill has been "postponed indefinitely."
2011 Legislative Summary
The legislative subcommittee, chaired by Michael J. Thomas, AIA, reviewed 324 House and 273 Senate Bills. Of the overall quantity of bills, the legislative subcommittee chose to monitor 34 bills. Of these bills, eight were signed into legislation and 26 were postponed indefinitely. Download a complete 2011 Legislative Summary
AIA Colorado Opposed Three Ballot Measures
The AIA Colorado board of directors voted to oppose three ballot measures on the Nov. 2, 2010, ballot that they felt could be potentially devastating to Colorado architects and the public. Proposition 101 and Amendment 60 would have eliminated funding to school districts, and cut revenue for Colorado cities and the state, potentially reducing investment in the built environment. Amendment 61 would have severely restricted or prohibited government borrowing, therefore eliminating Colorado’s ability to build or expand any of its capital infrastructure. For more information on Proposition 101, Amendment 60 and Amendment 61, click here
. All three measures failed.
HB 10-1148 Signed by Gov. Bill Ritter
Gov. Bill Ritter signed House Bill 10-1148, which repealed continuing professional competency requirements for an architect to maintain his or her license to practice architecture in the state of Colorado. Before the repeal, the provisions suggested that architects were not competent unless they could prove otherwise as a condition of renewal when, in fact, all licensed architects are already considered competent based on education, experience and examination. Furthermore, continuing competency would have called into question an architect’s ability to get liability insurance. House Bill 10-1148 was sponsored by Rep. Cheri Gerou, FAIA, and Sen. Abel Tapia. The bill passed through the Colorado House of Representatives and Senate without any opposition.
Note: The repealed continuing competency requirements were in addition to, and separate from, the state’s existing mandatory continuing education requirements, which will remain in effect.
AIA Colorado Board Voted to Support HB 10-1331
The AIA Colorado board of directors voted to support House Bill 10-1331. The bill would have created a green building incentive pilot program. Specifically, the bill directed the Governor's Energy Office (GEO) to create a pilot incentive program for home buyers to make improvements to increase energy efficiency to a primary home. The pilot program was intended to be for both new construction and retrofitting of existing homes. The bill also stated that the funds for this program were to be from federal funds that GEO has received already, but has not yet allocated. For more information about this bill, click here
AIA Colorado Board Voted to Support HB 10-1181
The AIA Colorado board of directors voted to support House Bill 10-1181. The bill dealt with matters relating to the administration of state government entities andd professional services solicitation. Specifically, the bill would have raised the solicitation limits for professional services, including architectural services, for state agencies up to $100,000, to be in alignment with the limits for institutions of higher education. Since this legislation was originally enacted in 1998 as part of Qualifications-Based Selection, the solicitation limits have always been the same for state agencies and institutions of higher education. This bill would once again allow that to happen, so that there would not be two different selection processes for the state. For more information about HB 10-1181, click here
AIA Colorado Board Voted to Oppose HB 10-1192
In late January 2010, AIA Colorado voted to oppose HB 10-1192 because it modifies state regulations to allow software renewals and upgrades of 12 months or less to be defined as personal property and therefore taxable as such. The board feels that this would cause further hardship to architecture firms. Unfortunately, because of the state budget crisis, the bill was signed into law in late February. For more information, click here
Senate Bill 08-029
Gov. Bill Ritter signed Senate Bill 08-029: "Concerning a Requirement That an Architect Obtain Continuing Education Prior to the Renewal of the License to Practice Architecture in Colorado, and Making an Appropriation in Connection Therewith." This act requires that architects demonstrate completion of continuing education (CE) as a condition for renewal of a license to practice architecture in the state of Colorado. The enactment of this bill is the culmination of the efforts of AIA Colorado over the past three years to get the state to be on par with the other 38 states with similar requirements, including six of the seven states that surround Colorado. For more information, click here
AIA Colorado worked with the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) during the rule-making process, which was completed by Dec. 31, 2008, to implement this act.