“Advocacy On the Boards” is a monthly update from the AIA Pennsylvania Government Affairs Team to inform members of the great work “on the boards” ensuring architects are at the policymaker’s table to affect positive and equitable social, environmental, and economic outcomes for the profession and the commonwealth. This work includes lobbying state lawmakers, their staff, and other government officials and agencies to provide architects’ guidance on policies that impact the built environment and, in turn, the health, safety, and welfare of all Pennsylvanians. AIA Pennsylvania members’ technical expertise and experience are critical to the priority issues as charted by the Government Affairs team and informed by the membership’s feedback each two-year legislative session cycle.
On the Boards | State Budget
Governor Tom Wolf Introduced his Last Budget Proposal
On February 8, 2022, Governor Tom Wolf proposed his 2022 $43.7 billion spending proposal for education, worker support, public safety, infrastructure, and economic growth. The proposal would allocate $5 billion of federal stimulus money already in the state’s General Fund to be spent this year on general government operations and some targeted programs, $450 million to help conservation, recreation, preservation, community revitalization, and climate action projects, and $204 million to the Property Tax Rent Rebate Program to help low-income renters and homeowners. Additionally, the Wolf administration proposes new funding for the Growing Greener conservation and recreation program and agriculture conservation programs, such as the Agricultural Conservation Assistance Program and the Agriculture Conservation Excellence Grant Program. Read the Governor’s full budget address here.
On the Boards | The Environment & High-Performance Building
Both C-PACE Enhancement bills, SB 635 Yudichak and HB 1760 Heffley have passed their respective chambers. The next step is for these bills to be passed through the opposite chamber and ultimately signed by the Governor. If you have not reached out to your legislators to show support for these bills, please do so now!
On the Boards | Legal Reform
Advocate for a Reduction in the Statute of Repose
Senator Laughlin’s memo advocating for a reduction in the Statute of Repose for architects and engineers was introduced in August as SB 833 and is currently waiting for consideration in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Architects, engineers, and contractors practicing in the commonwealth face a substantial degree of liability exposure for property damages and other construction claims. Without legislation to protect design professionals from unlimited liability, it might be possible for an architect to be sued for an injury suffered in or around a building that was designed many years prior, even when the injury is a result of improper maintenance, accomplished renovations since the building was put into commission, or other causes beyond the architect’s control.
The Statute of Repose in Pennsylvania is currently 12 years for construction projects. Pennsylvania is one of only 6 states to exceed a 10-year term for a statute of repose. All buildings have a life cycle, and maintenance is a critical part of that cycle. Oftentimes, after 6 years; issues that arise from completed projects are due more to the owner’s and tenant’s failure to maintain the property rather than faulty design.
Pennsylvania legislators need to hear from architects about why the Statute of Repose in Pennsylvania is too long. AIA Pennsylvania is currently scheduling meetings and looking to schedule more meetings with AIA PA members who are constituents of legislators that sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee. We need your support to urge members of the committee to bring up the legislation in committee for consideration and ultimately a vote. Contact Amal at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are a constituent of a legislator on the committee.