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AIA Finishes Strong in Spring Legislative Session

Passage of historic tax credit and millions in the budget for public improvements

On May 31st at 9:30 PM, the state legislature left Springfield having passed a budget with overwhelming support from both sides in both Chambers. When the legislature returns for veto session in November, another election will be over and the political landscape may be vastly changed.

Knowing that all of AIA Illinois' political and strategic strength will be focused in the 2019 spring legislative session on the renewal of the Architecture Practice Act (which sunsets every 10 years), we knew we would try to be as aggressive this session as possible to move the ball forward in many areas of importance to our members.


Years of relationship-building and months of agenda-shaping culminated in threading two amendments through three committee hearings in two days, then passing the bill in both chambers on the same day. After having introduced the bill nine years in a row, architects can finally celebrate the passage of a statewide Historic Preservation Tax Credit.


We stopped SB 2897 which would have created practice rights for interior designers. While we disagreed with interior designers on their scope of work ideas, we did work with them to pass SB 335, an amendment to the Mechanic Lien Act which was mutually beneficial to all of us.

We passed SB 2328 working with the Illinois Municipal League to update the local QBS law.

We passed SB 2773 working with environmental groups to finance clean energy projects.

We passed HB 4790 which encourages more compost use in public works projects.

We passed SB 3031 which makes it easier for CDB to administer and for design and construction teams to achieve LEED standards in state and university projects.

We passed HB 5593 through the House allowing school organizations to do a pilot program on design-build. The bill moved in the Senate to the stage immediately preceding a vote.


Our initiative to reform school energy performance contracts via SB 3198 could not overcome the opposition and did not pass. We learned a lot of valuable lessons and engaged more of our members in the issue. We are not giving up.

We continue to sound the alarm about the lack of a comprehensive capital budget. While we did not expect there to be one passed this spring, it is still desperately needed. No revenue source and an election around the corner added up to a non-starter with this topic.

However, we didn’t come up empty in the budget negotations:

  • There’s $54 million in the budget for the Quincy Veterans Home;

  • $172 million for neighborhood improvements related to the Obama Presidential Library including a new station at 59th street;

  • $400 million for deferred maintenance needs;

  • $100 million for emergencies;

  • $75 million for higher education facilities;

  • $30 million for the state fair coliseum;

  • $29 million for open space grants; and

  • $50 million for high speed rail.

These advocacy wins can be credited directly back to you as a member; starting with each member's dues contribution to the AIA PAC, through individuals who pick up the phone to make a call to staff or to a legislator about a roadblock, to those who participate in our Prairie Grassroots Lobby Day, and ultimately to those Citizen Architects who develop a relationship with elected officials at home. Your AIA membership provides you with a Springfield headquarters that is within eyesight of the State Capitol, as well as staff and lobbyists who carry your best interests forward every day. AIA Illinois is truly "empowered by membership to champion the profession of architecture."

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