Attention, Lighting Designers! YOU MUST READ Texas House Bill 2649

Everybody, this bill is scheduled for a vote TOMORROW.  Texas House Bill 2649 puts us out of business, folks.

I just got information from John Baker in Houston about Texas House Bill 2649.  I don’t know what your feelings are on this, but it deserves a read.  IALD sent out a letter about voting this down – I have copied both the verbage in the bill and the letter from IALD below.

First and foremost, this bill is going to make it impossible for lighting designers who work in Texas to work on projects without being licensed as either an electrician, architect, engineer, landscape architect, or interior designer.  From the Texas House Bill 2649:

Section 1001.3011 to read as follows:
Sec. 1001.3011.  LIGHTING DESIGN; LICENSE OR REGISTRATION REQUIRED. (a) A person may not perform or offer to perform lighting design services unless the person is:  (1)licensed as an engineer under this chapter;(2) registered as an architect, landscape architect, or interior designer under Subtitle B, Title 6; or (3) licensed under Chapter 1305.  (b) In this section, “lighting design services” means the preparation of plans and specifications that depict the placement and direction of illumination of mounted or installed lighting fixtures in the interior or exterior of a building, including the specification of bulbs, reflectors, lens, louvers, baffles, and other hardware. The term does not include the preparation of shop drawings or other directions from a manufacturer for the installation or operation of lighting fixtures.

Also, read this:

SECTION 5.  Subchapter F, Chapter 1051, Occupations Code, is amended by adding Section 1051.308 to read as follows:  Sec. 1051.308.  LIGHTING DESIGN; REGISTRATION OR LICENSE REQUIRED. (a) A person may not perform or offer to perform lighting design services unless the person is:  (1) registered as an architect, landscape architect, or interior designer under this subtitle; (2) licensed as an engineer under Chapter 1001; or (3) licensed under Chapter 1305.   (b) In this section, “lighting design services” means the preparation of plans and specifications that depict the placement and direction of illumination of mounted or installed lighting fixtures in the interior or exterior of a building, including the specification of bulbs, reflectors, lens, louvers, baffles, and other hardware. The term does not include the preparation of shop drawings or other directions from a manufacturer for the installation or operation of lighting fixtures.  SECTION 6. Subchapter D, Chapter 1305, Occupations Code, is amended by adding Section 1305.1511 to read as follows:  Sec. 1305.1511. LIGHTING DESIGN; LICENSE OR REGISTRATION REQUIRED. (a) A person may not perform or offer to perform lighting design services unless the person is:  (1) licensed under this chapter;  (2) licensed as an engineer under Chapter 1001; or  (3) registered as an architect, landscape architect, or interior designer under Subtitle B, Title 6.  (b) In this section, “lighting design services” means the preparation of plans and specifications that depict the placement and direction of illumination of mounted or installed lighting fixtures in the interior or exterior of a building, including the specification of bulbs, reflectors, lens, louvers, baffles, and other hardware. The term does not include the preparation of shop drawings or other directions from a manufacturer for the installation or operation of lighting fixtures.

A letter from IALD:

INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF LIGHTING DESIGNERS IALD STATEMENT ON TEXAS HOUSE BILL 2649

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.

Ok, lighting designers.  CALL THESE PEOPLE EARLY TOMORROW and let them know that you do not approve:

Rep. Wayne Smith  512. 463.0733
Sen. Bob Deuell  512.463.0122
Sen. Kip Averitt  512.463.0102

The current status of the bill for Texas House Bill 2649 is here.

The text of Texas House Bill 2649 is here.

Look up your local Texas person here.  MAKE SURE you do this step, this is who’s gonna vote!

Act quickly on this one, it gets voted on tomorrow, May 27, 2009.

29 replies
  1. Jim
    Jim says:

    I also called Smith, Deuell, and Averitt and said HEY! Vote NO!

    Smith and Averitt are the authors of the bill and Averitt sponsored, so I get the feeling that they’re probably not gonna listen to me.

    • GREG BANFIELD
      GREG BANFIELD says:

      I am the assistant electrician for the HOUSTON GRAND OPERA. This bill is like asking your local bartender to be a licensed mixologist , your yard man a professional landscaper, every chef to have skills in carving an onion…This profession does not require life threatening skills.
      VOTE NO…

      KINDEST REGARDS,

      GREG BANFIELD
      603 WOODARD
      HOUSTON, TEXAS 77009

  2. Dave
    Dave says:

    Interesting – Texas is one of those states where I can get into a lot of trouble for calling myself an “audio engineer.” I’m not an engineer, so I try to avoid the term, but it’s much more identifiable to most people than something like sound op, audio director, sound designer, sound consultant, audio system designer, A1, A2, FOH tech, system tech, RF tech, com tech, etc. Not to mention a little more generic – all of those positions are pretty specific, but they’re all positions I regularly hold. When someone asks me what I do, I’m not going to read off that entire list, plus a few others. In most places, I think it’s assumed that since an audio engineer doesn’t produce certified drawings, and isn’t a licensed PE, or Professional Engineer, that the term ‘engineer’ takes on a different meaning – just like a building engineer. But in Texas, and I think Georgia might be another, the word ‘engineer’ only has one meaning, and it requires a license.

    Oh, this is about lights, eh? HB2649 is totally f’ed up! There are a few decent sized regional theatres in Texas – I’d think their boards and artistic staffs would be all over this…

  3. Kirkman
    Kirkman says:

    Huh, really doesn’t affect me much in NY, but it’s bad precedent. I was on the Texas Legislative website and it seems that it didn’t even mention lighting design until it got to the Senate. My guess is some one there had a bad experience. Anyways I would also contact IALD because if they’re smart they’re going to put everything they’ve got into a) it not passing, b) it getting vetoed by the Governor (I assume thats how it works in Texas too) and c) they’re going to fight it in court, all else fails, and try and have it overturned for being overreaching.

    Anyways those are my thoughts, Best of luck.

  4. david
    david says:

    I dont think this just effects those in Texas, I mean in the future any of us could and more than likely will be working on a touring show that just might so happen to pass trough Texas ( and they will go through Texas) or even get a job with a company out of there. This would mean that even a large tour based out of NY couldn’t come to TX without the designer being registered in TX. That’s a whole lot of red tape to jump through. I’m still in college and know that there is a good chance I will be working in TX one day, but this would put a damper on getting hired real quick.

  5. Victor Z
    Victor Z says:

    If this is made into law I see it failing real quickly. I do not see every touring broadway show or touring rock concert’s LD opting to get registered in Texas and I am not really sure how they will go about enforcing this…

  6. leia
    leia says:

    Here are the names of the witnesses that stood up for the bill on 5/19 in the Texas Senate Committee where this added text was approved:

    Archer, Thomas J. (Homeowners of Texas, Inc.), Austin, TX
    McKnight, Peyton (Texas Council of Engineering Companies), Austin, TX
    Rocha, Susan (City of San Antonio), San Antonio, TX
    Schulle, Jr., Gerhardt (Texas Society of Professional Engineers), Austin, TX
    Dick, Alexis (Texas Department of Insurance), Austin, TX

    Where are the Lighting Designers? Where are the theatres? Where are the manufacturers and distributors? Why weren’t the people who actually do Lighting Design represented?

  7. Jeff
    Jeff says:

    I honestly don’t think that this will affect theatrical designers that much. Theatrical designers can clearly make the case that the fixtures are not “Installed” (to quote the text from the bill). Those fixtures are defined by the NEC as Temporary in nature – its a pretty clear argument in my mind. My guess is that they are only trying to regulate the Architectural lighting designers that work with out stamping their drawings.

    That being said, its a poorly written bill at best and should be voted down just on that aspect alone. Never mind the effect it will have on the rest of us….

  8. Les Kniskern
    Les Kniskern says:

    Doesn’t the legislation limit the lighting design to “mounted or installed” lighting fixtures? This would seem to indicate permanent fixtures, as opposed to temporary “hung” instruments in a theatrical production. Has the IALD contacted the sponsor of the legislation to ask for a clarification on the intent of the bill?

  9. michelle
    michelle says:

    I am here in Texas and the outlook is not positive. I will make efforts today to make our voices heard. do act with us. this is a problem for texas Ld’s now, let’s keep this from spreading!

  10. Robin Muto
    Robin Muto says:

    Thanks, Jim…will get right on it. I am surprised I have not received any emails from the ALA regarding this issue. In Maryland, they tried to pass a similar bill and ALA members communicated strong opposition…HB 1168 was defeated! We can certainly not allow people who know nothing about lighting design to set these rediculous standards

  11. Dany
    Dany says:

    Wow! I’ve never heard of anything like this!

    What the f*** does an engineer, electrician or interior designer or architect know about lighting design for LIVE performances? An engineer or an electrician might know how to hook up a bulb or a light to the plug on the wall to get light. An interior designer or architect might know a little about “industrial” lighting design (i.e. how to make lighting in a room/building efficient or even nice) if they took such courses while in school. But NONE of this applies to live performance. So now they expect people who have been in the business for years and years to get a certification of some sort in one of those disciplines just so they can continue to make a living?! That’s preposterous and makes absolutely no sense at all!! If a certification is to be required, at least make it something normal, which actually APPLIES, like a BFA (or equivalent) degree/diploma/whatever. I end with the same word as I began with: WOW!

  12. Marparr
    Marparr says:

    Semantics? Can you call yourself a “lighting artist” or a “design consultant”? Note that there is not a requirement that all theaters, touring productions etc. Carry a “lighting designer”, simply that, if they do, they be certified. Is it annoying? Yes. Could it provide unneccesary confusion in the industry? Possibly. Is it going to abolish the whole profession in the state? Probably not.

  13. Richard Pilbrow
    Richard Pilbrow says:

    This bill is clearly absurd and betrays complete ignorance concerning all developments in lighting design over the last 50 years.
    All LD’s must seek to resist it.

  14. Chad Groshart, IALD
    Chad Groshart, IALD says:

    As a former theatrical designer turned architectural designer I am certainly outraged. Though I do believe that this will only affect architectural design.

    The notion that an electrical engineer or average architect is better suited to design the visual environment of a space is absurd. At most, electrical engineers or architects take one or two classes in lighting design, often shared with acoustics.

    Those of us with Masters degrees in architectural lighting design (Parsons, RPI, Penn State, Colorado, etc) and/or years of experience focused only on lighting are experts in our field. If our services were not needed by the building industry, the lighting design field would not have exploded and continued to grow the way that it has in the last 40 years.

    At the very least, there are requirements from the International Association of Lighting Designers, the Illumination Engineering Society and (to a lesser degree) the NCQLP for educated lighting designers that should be considered.

    I have called all three senators offices and emailed the governor. I urge you all to do the same.

    Chad Groshart, IALD, LC, IES, LEED AP.

  15. Valiant75s
    Valiant75s says:

    That’s totally dumb! Why impose regulations on lighting designers? There are bigger problems to worry about in this world. I think most governments are not being led very well these days. Most electricians don’t know that much about design, their job is mainly to install the wiring, lighting, etc. So this bill will cause more problems than good in my opinion. Just my 2 cents worth.

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