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. AIA TN’s Government Relations Committee holds weekly conference calls to discuss legislation that potential to threaten public safety, the practice of architecture and architects in general. The 111th Tennessee General Assembly adjourned on May 2 and will reconvene on January 14, 2020, at Noon/central.

Click here to view the AIA 2019 Legislative Year End Summary

A note from the AIA TN President:

With this year’s legislative session recently concluded, AIA Tennessee has completed a number of advocacy initiatives as we navigated a tumultuous session with many bills presenting the potential for positive and negative impacts on the profession.

Protecting Licensure. Although Tennessee has seen deregulation efforts in the past, 2019 presented unprecedented activity in attempts to permit the practice of architecture by unlicensed individuals. Most notable, the “Right to Earn a Living Act” would have excluded community and societal well being from the definition of “public health” which would open the door to deregulating professions that protect public welfare. AIA Tennessee’s efforts were successful in preventing this bill from coming to a vote in 2019.

Advocating for Rehabilitation and Preservation. This year, AIA Tennessee supported the Main Street Historic Tourism and Revitalization Act which would establish a state historic tax credit program in Tennessee. Although the bill was not passed this year, AIA was successful in educating legislators, government officials (state and local) and staff on the importance of including historic tax credits in the state’s economic development agenda. Establishing new programs of this nature requires a long term effort. For example, AIA Illinois shared that it took a decade for architects and coalition partners to pass a historic tax credit bill in their state. AIA Tennessee will continue to advocate for investment in the state’s built environment.

Reducing Burdens on Architects. As shared in the Advocacy Statement, AIA Tennessee was successful in repealing the $400 professional privilege tax on architects. We are pleased that this barrier to licensure and burden on the profession in Tennessee will be removed effective in 2020. As a reminder, members should pay the tax in 2019 for the last time.

Thank you to the AIA Tennessee Government Relations Committee, this year’s participants in Architect’s Advocacy Day on the Hill, and to all of our members for your role in advocating for the profession this year.

Josh Flowers, FAIA
President, AIA Tennessee

Government Relations Committee 
AIA Tennessee represents its members before the Tennessee General Assembly, the Governor/Cabinet, and State Agencies.

AIA Tennessee’s Government Relations Committee, in collaboration with staff and lobbyists, oversees the following:
• Represents AIA Tennessee’s interest at the state legislature and various state agencies
• Reviews and monitors state legislative activities
• Develops positions on legislative matters (Board must approve)
• Plans and implements advocacy and communication strategies
• Informs and engages members on government affairs

AIA Tennessee’s 2019 Legislative Priorities include (listed in no particular order):
1. State’s Built Environment
2. Historic Preservation
3. Economic Development and Growth
4. Building Codes and Zoning Regulation
5. Professional Licensure
6. STEAM Education
7. Safe School Design
8. Architect Selection and Procurement (QBS)

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

Tennessee is missing out on state historic preservation tax incentives. Let’s revitalize Tennessee and create jobs!

Click here for an overview, media coverage and resources.

Additional information about 2019 legislation will be posted in the next few days.

Contact Ashley Cates at to obtain Legislative Year-end Reports from previous legislative sessions.