AIA TN Legislative Priorities

The AIA Tennessee government relations committee and staff work throughout the year to protect the profession and advocate on behalf of Tennessee architects. The first session of the 111th General Assembly will convene at Noon/central on Tuesday, January 8, 2019.

The Board of Directors is currently reviewing and determining AIA TN’s 2019 Legislative Priorities.

In January, AIA TN’s Government Relations Committee will begin holding monthly conference calls to discuss legislation that had the potential to threaten public safety, the practice of architecture and architects in general.

Trey Wheeler, AIA, is the chairman of the Government Relations Committee.  Sign up here if you are interested in serving on the committee.

Click here to view the 2018 Legislative Report in AIA’s Advocacy Center – you will need your AIA profile username/login to view the report. Click on “state issues” once you enter the site.

Listed below are highlights from AIA TN’s 2018 Priority Bills. Contact Ashley Cates at if you have questions and/or would like additional information.

Major State Legislation Impacting the Profession

Architects Support “Historic Rehabilitation Investment Incentive Act”

View President Reagan’s speech about the Federal Historic Tax Credit.

HB1061 (McCormick) / SB1040 (Watson)

Position: AIA Tennessee supports historic preservation tax credits. State historic rehabilitation would benefit Tennessee’s main street and downtown communities in towns throughout the state – both rural and urban.

The goal is to attract private capital to revitalize historic buildings and main street communities, creating desirable places to live and work. Job creation and economic development are proven effects of state historic rehabilitation programs.

Many Tennesseans would benefit from the program:

  • Historic downtowns seeking to revitalize dormant or vacant historic buildings into new businesses, housing and tourist attractions
  • Property owners who currently cannot afford to rehabilitate storefronts or convert historic buildings to code
  • Small businesses seeking an attractive space for customers
  • Civil leaders who want to see property values and tax revenues increased to pay for local services
  • State leaders who want to see economic growth, increased state revenues (by putting vacant historic structures back on the tax revenue rolls) and job creation
  • Tennessee is failing to attract the private capital attracted by neighboring states (particularly Virginia) with state historic rehabilitation programs.
  • The program would preserve our state’s unique history and character, while also creating jobs and generating new state and local tax revenue that more than pays for the cost of the incentive.
  • Often the rehabilitation of a dormant and vacant building has a positive, catalytic impact on the surrounding neighborhood and community, spurring revitalization of a blighted area.

Click on the documents to learn more about this important initiative.

TN Historic Projects Case Studies

TN Historic Rehabilitation Investment Incentive One Pager

The Goal, The Benefits and Why a Tax Incentive?

TN Historic Rehabilitation Investment Incentives: Economic and Fiscal Impact Study

Below are some other pieces of legislation (but not all) that is on AIA’s Priority List.  Please contact Ashley for a complete list of bills that we are monitoring.


Board oversight of the use and procurement of professional design services for public work.

Sponsors: Sen. Ketron, Bill , Rep. Curcio , Michael
Summary: Requires the state board of examiners for architects and engineers to oversee compliance with respect to the use of architectural, engineering, and landscape architectural services for public work.
Senate Status: 02/05/18 – Referred to Senate State & Local Government Committee.
House Status: 02/07/18 – Referred to House Business & Utilities Subcommittee.
Caption: AN ACT to amend Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 62-2-106, relative to board oversight of the use and procurement of professional design services for public work.
Position: AIA Supports – Introduced on behalf of AIA TN /ACEC TN /TN Landscape Architects


Exemptions for mandatory sprinkler requirements.

Sponsors: Sen. Niceley, Frank , Rep. Sexton, Jerry
Summary: Exempts churches with a capacity for four hundred people or less from mandatory sprinkler requirements. Prohibits any local government from adopting more stringent requirements for such churches.
Senate Status: 01/25/18 – Referred to Senate Commerce & Labor Committee.
House Status: 01/31/18 – Referred to House Business & Utilities Subcommittee.
Caption: AN ACT to amend Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 5; Title 6; Title 7 and Title 68, relative to sprinkler systems.
Position: AIA opposes this bill and is trying to work with the church/bill sponsor to find a solution without changing state law. View the 2014 TACIR Report on “Fire Sprinkler Requirements for Places of Worship”


Zoning to include building design elements.

Sponsors: Sen. Massey, Becky , Rep. Gravitt, Marc
Summary: Defines “building design elements” for purposes of local governmental zoning. Prohibits application of zoning regulations relating to building design elements for certain dwellings.
Fiscal Note: (Dated February 18, 2017) NOT SIGNIFICANT
Senate Status: 01/09/18 – Re-referred to Senate Calendar Committee.
House Status: 04/20/17 – House Calendar & Rules Committee deferred to 01/01/18.
Caption: AN ACT to amend Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 13, Chapter 7, Part 1 and Title 13, Chapter 7, Part 2, relative to zoning.
Cosponsors: Rep. Alexander, David;  Rep. Carter, Mike;  Rep. Hazlewood, Patsy;  Rep. McCormick, Gerald;
Position: AIA opposes this legislation as written. Read Opposition letter to the TN General Assembly.

Click here to view the 2017 Legislative Report. 

the 2016 AIA Tennessee Legislative Report, which contains 2016 bills that were passed and will become law as well as bills that failed to pass into law.