AIA Oklahoma — with the strength of almost 800 members — can have significant influence at the State Capitol when lawmakers are considering bills that will govern the way architecture is practiced in Oklahoma. Regulatory issues that affect the architectural profession are broad and far-reaching, including issues ranging from licensure and liability to public safety and taxation.
Because AIA Oklahoma recognizes that its members face daily challenges relating to legislative and regulatory issues, AIA Oklahoma is charged with addressing those concerns in the following ways:
Why should architects care about legislation?
While AIA Oklahoma maintains a regular presence at the State Capitol, members must recognize that individual architects also play an important role in protecting the profession from bad legislation. Elected officials may listen to lobbyists, but they vote on issues that align with the interests of their constituents back home. It is important to remember that the driving force behind any politician is the voice of his or her district's constituency because those constituents will vote according to how well they believe their interests are represented.
What's the connection between advocacy and architecture?
The main connection is that government creates the parameters in which architects practice. So if the Oklahoma Legislature receives no message from the architectural profession, laws will be created that may likely hinder the profession and the profession will fail to prosper.
With that said, AIA Oklahoma's leadership understands that architects are the only design professionals who are educated, trained, and tested in integrating all essential systems that go into creating the built environment for human use and occupancy. Unfortunately, however, our elected officials don't always think along these same lines. Legislators don't necessarily need to understand the importance of architectural training — that's why it's AIA Oklahoma's job to know what bills are being considered and how they are likely to affect the architectural profession. (Think about it: None of the 101 state representatives or 48 state senators are architects. They need architects to educate them about the impact bills have on the architectural profession.)
How can architects become advocates?
There are many ways to become an advocate for the architectural profession:
ARCPAC is a voluntary political action committee whose membership consists of architects. As a political action committee, ARCPAC complies with all state campaign reporting laws. The voluntary contributions ARCPAC receives are used to support candidates for state office who demonstrate their support for the architectural profession.