Tuesday, May 26, 2009

TX-Leg: CSHB 2649 will put lighting designers out of work

While most of the attention at the Texas Capitol is on the voter ID bill (on which I will not be commenting today), House Bill 2649 is breezing through the House and Senate without much opposition.

Unfortunately, HB 2649 in its current form will put a fair number of lighting designers out of work. Sections 3, 5, and 6 (added by amendment in the Senate) restrict lighting design only to licensed architects, engineers, interior designers, and electricians.

This bill completely ignores other lighting designers who do not fall into any of those groups but who are members of the International Association of Lighting Designers, a group which has a strict code of ethics and qualifications for membership. Many of them are also certified by the National Council on Qualifications for the Lighting Professions by virtue of having passed an exam on lighting design. Suffice it to say that many of these people know how to design lighting better than the people who this bill still allows to design it.

IMO, HB 2649 needs to have the language relating to the restriction of lighting designers removed until such time as it can be revisited with the full participation of the relevant lighting groups. If you or someone you know will be affected by this, please call your legislators and let them know how you feel about it.

And do it quickly: this bill is scheduled to get out of the Senate tomorrow.

Update 5/27: As expected, HB 2649 has passed the Senate. Next stop: conference, where hopefully the aforementioned sections will be stripped from the bill before it is sent to Governor Perry.

Update 5/27 #2: My last words on this (at least for now) may be found here.


John Martin said...

"Snowed In" has it right--this legislation could put an entire profession out of business. The IALD is extremely concerned, and has issued the following statement:
"The Texas State Legislature is about to consider legislation that will have the unintended consequence of outlawing an entire profession—lighting design. The International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD) strongly urges all members of the Texas Legislature to drop this legislation, Texas House Bill 2649.

Slated for a vote on May 27, 2009, the legislation has been drafted without any input from lighting designers, and restricts the practice of lighting design to members of other professions and trades, such as architects, engineers, and electricians. There are no provisions in the legislation for establishing a licensing standard for lighting designers.

Members of the IALD abide by a strict code of ethics and bring both engineering knowledge and artistic sensibilities to bringing out the best in buildings and outdoor spaces. IALD professional lighting designers dedicate their careers exclusively to the art and science of lighting. There is no substitute for their level of expertise and professionalism.

The economic impact of the proposed legislation will be extensive: dozens of lighting designers practice in Texas, and hundreds of projects in the state depend on professional lighting designers for their full architectural expression.

We believe that the Texas Legislature does not mean to outlaw an entire profession, but that is the impact of the proposed legislation. Please vote against House Bill 2649."

Travis Bedard said...

Have you called Senator Averitt and asked him to meet with Rep. Smith to strip the language on reconcilliation?

Kip Averitt (512) 463-0122

Snowed In said...

I called both his and Rep. Smith's offices yesterday (along with my legislators and Sen. Deuell), and I followed up with Rep. Smith today. See my update for the latest.