Advocating for Architecture in South Carolina
by Adrienne Montare, AIA/SC Executive Director
AIA/SC is the only organization representing the interests of architects in South Carolina. As the sole voice of the architectural profession in the state, with over 900 members, AIA/SC can have significant influence over state-level policymaking. We meet a daily challenge of regulatory issues such as licensure, professional liability, public safety, code adoption and taxation that can result in legislation that negatively impacts our livelihood.
After reviewing the growing need for a strong presence at the Statehouse, the Board of Directors recently expanded the role of the Executive Director (Adrienne Montare, AIA) to serve as the Chapter’s registered lobbyist. It has also separated the Government Affairs & Practice (GAP) directorship into two positions: Government Affairs Director (Steve Goggans, AIA) and Practice Director (Josh Boltinhouse, AIA). Working closely together, these two directors ensure that both legislative and regulatory issues are monitored and addressed as needed.
The AIA/SC Advocacy Team serves us in the following ways:
- Reviews & tracks bills as they’re introduced in the SC House and Senate
- Attends committee and subcommittee meetings of the SC Legislature
- Monitors court actions and the opinions of the State Attorney General
- Drafts Issue Briefs on AIA/SC positions
- Testifies before legislative and regulatory bodies regarding AIA/SC's positions
- Coordinates AIA/SC member testimony before legislative and regulatory bodies
- Coordinates advocacy efforts with allied professional groups (AGC, ACEC, SPE, etc.)
- Holds a Candidates Forum and/or meets with candidates individually prior to statewide elections
- Attends meetings at the Office of the State Engineer and the Office of School Facilities
- Reviews South Carolina Business Opportunities
- Coordinates with SCArchiPAC
But the Advocacy Team can’t do it alone. While we can inform legislators on key issues, as elected officials, legislators are primarily beholden to constituents’ interests. As a constituent, therefore, you play a vital role in expressing what these interests are. Meeting with your Representative or Senator at home in your district can have a significant impact on your legislator’s vote when a bill hits his or her committee or the floor of the General Assembly.
Each of the six Sections has created a local Advocacy Committee to reach out to legislators when they’re in their home district. Through this coordinated effort, you can give a personal voice to the way legislative issues affect you - giving your legislators feedback on what you, as a voter, care about.
Since the South Carolina Legislature creates laws that affect how we practice, and that can negatively impact the profession, it is vitally important that we maintain constant contact and stay engaged in the legislative process. As a member you can help ensure we are successful by doing the following:
- Join the Chapter’s or your local Section’s Advocacy Committee
- Keep your Vocus profile on the AIA website up-to-date (AIA Advocacy)
- Get to know your legislators (SC Legislator Search)
- Attend candidate meet and greet in your district
- Volunteer to participate in a political campaign
- Invest in SCArchiPAC (www.aiasc.org)
- Contact The Cottage or your local Advocacy Committee with any legislative or regulatory concerns
2013 AIA Legislative Agenda