Prairie Grassroots 2016


Prairie Grassroots Lobby Day Was Tuesday, April 5, 2016

We hope to see you in 2017!










Credit: Ted Schurter, State Journal-Register

It's important for architects to make their presence felt at the state capitol--because government officials listen to their constituents. Take one day out of the office to ensure new bills and policies have a positive impact on your business, and to hear from the agencies that implement the regulations and laws that affect you.


  • Pre-Day conference call (choose best time for you from multiple choices - Coming Soon) to quickly get up to speed on the 3-4 issues we'll lobby 
  • Don't drive--network! Free, early morning bus/van pick-up at two locations: Chicago/Merchandise Mart and Joliet, thanks to AIA Chicago and AIA Northeast Chapters
  • Luncheon includes a how-to-lobby lesson and guest speakers, thanks to our sponsor Holmes Murphy
  • Two hour window in the afternoon for coordinated visits with legislators and agency officials
  • Legislator of the Year (hearty) Reception at Resource One, thanks to our sponsor Knoll
  • You're only out of the office protecting your business for one day

CURIOUS about the Prairie Grassroots experience? Watch the video below which explains how the day goes and shares the impressions of several first-time and long-time participants.


We're so glad you're coming to share your viewpoint with your elected and agency officials! You'll be joined by a record number of attendees. Our combined chorus is louder (and perhaps more beautiful?) than our single voices, but every single voice is important.


Architect Selection (HB 5595)
HB 5595 raises the small project fee threshold from $25,000 to $150,000. This would result in $1 million dollar public projects not being selected through Qualification Based Selection (QBS). A local government could choose any designer they wish without even advertising the job.  Qualifications Based Selection (QBS) is an open and fair competitive selection process that allows the client to match the most qualified firm to their project.

Status: HB 5595 has yet to be assigned to Committee.

Procurement Priorities (SB 2400/HB 4644)
The Administration has introduced a set of suggested procurement changes. These changes would allow the State to use Energy Performance Contracting for existing state buildings with capital dollars. This makes little financial sense because it lets an outside party pocket the savings and bypasses the 3,545 companies prequalified with the state to design and build our infrastructure. 

Status:  SB 2400 and 2873 have been sent to Subcommittee. 

Project Restarts (SB 2024/ HB 2913; SB3255/ HB6407)
The State has not provided a capital re-appropriation for two years. These bills would re-appropriate $4.3 billion in state funded projects and allow the state to move ahead as previously planned. 

Status:  These bills have not been assigned to committee.

Licensing Support
Illinois regulators rely on a national certification body to verify the credentials of students and interns seeking to take the architecture exam and become licensed. The $6,500 fee owed to the certification board is over a year past due. In a matter of weeks, our aspiring young professionals will be forced to pursue their careers elsewhere.

Status:  Invoiced April of 2015, still unpaid. 


Click here for a Google map to events

Free parking is available at lunch and reception locations. Both the Capitol and the Reception are within walking distance.


Before 9 am Free Bus/Van Pick Up at Two Locations:
Chicago: Pickup at the Merchandise Mart at 7:45 a.m.
Joliet: Pickup at the Park and Stop off I-55 Exit 257 at 9:00 a.m.
Sponsored by AIA Chicago and AIA Northeast

11:30 am Registration at Inn at 835, 835 South 2nd Street, Springfield

Noon - 2 pm Legislative & Issues Briefing at Inn at 835
Sponsored by Holmes Murphy

2 - 4 pm Legislative Visits

4 - 6 pm Legislator of the Year Reception at Resource One, 321 E Adams St, Springfield
Sponsored by Knoll

6 pm Free transportation departs

Review protocol and best practices of citizen lobbying using our Architect's Guide to the Capitol.

Bring business cards to add to the issue materials AIA Illinois will provide to you, as a leave-behind for your legislators.

Present yourself not only as a constituent, but as a partner for collaboration. Legislators always have people asking for help. You'd be amazed by how presenting yourself as a resource will be enthusiastically received and set your visit apart.

Relax and be yourself. Remember--your senator and representative work for you. They care what you think, and they want to know about you and your profession.

Take pictures during the day and post to your social media accounts using the hashtags #ilookup and #AIAILPG16.