This article is the first in a regular series about some of the latest developments heard in legislative circles “around town.”
Interior Design Practice Act
So far, this bill has taken the majority of our lobbying time. It is still early in the year, and our time soon will be divided among many issues, including our sponsored bills, but an active coalition has formed in opposition to AB 2482 and is meeting with the author, legislators who sit on the Assembly Business & Professions Committee, where the bill has been assigned, and the Secretary of the State and Consumer Services Agency.
The coalition includes the National Kitchen & Bath Association, the Community College League of California, several community college districts, the California Building Officials, the California Legislative Coalition for Interior Design, Home Depot, Lowes, the California Retail Association, and several other groups.
AB 2482 creates a practice act for interior designers and limits who can engage in this newly defined practice. It would not stop architects from legally engaging in interior design, of course. It is, however, an attempt by a small group of interior designers to use the power of the state to limit who can provide interior design services.
Additionally, for a reason we cannot understand, it places restrictions on who can own an architectural firm and, if an architectural firm has a non-licensed individual as a co-owner, places the architectural firm under the regulatory authority of the proposed Interior Design licensing board.
More to come in the next issue of Relevance.
Court Construction Coalition
Given the continued poor health of the state budget, we are assuming the Legislature and Governor will again look to take money from the court construction fund as they put together a state budget in June (if it happens, it will not be a loan, but a taking that does not have to be repaid).
You may recall that last year’s budget took over $300 million from the court construction fund. This money was to be used to purchase sites and hire design teams. As a result of that taking, two projects were cancelled and the progress on most of the others could be slowed.
An additional raid on this fund would have a devastating impact on the program. We get that, and so do several others who have formed a coalition of design, construction, and labor groups opposed to any additional raids on this fund.
Vehicle Miles Traveled
Legislation has been introduced to require the building code to include standards that reduce vehicle miles traveled by occupants of residential and commercial buildings. This bill warrants serious discussion, such as whether this is a good policy, the building code is the appropriate vehicle (sorry), or should it be in the general plan, and what impact this, and the offsite mitigation requirement, will have on development in California.
That said, some are asking how a new Smog Check or auto mechanic building would comply with this requirement? Or a drive-in theater? Or a car dealership?
This bill needs a lot of work if the Legislature is to determine it is good policy to enact a state law to reduce vehicle miles traveled.