I'll say one thing about this industry: it's certainly plugged in. Ever since word broke on Tuesday about this nasty bit of Texas legislation (Texas House Bill 2649, or THB2649) that would prohibit lighting designers who work in Texas to work on projects without being licensed as either an electrician, architect, engineer, landscape architect or interior designer, blogs, social networks, and other online media lit up like Super Trouper.
We got an email from the IALD late Tuesday regarding the legislation; Jim Hutchison's blog Jim On Light was one of the first posts I saw on it later that evening. We posted something on it around lunchtime yesterday, and by the afternoon it had turned viral. The Lightnetwork saw a slew of postings about it. Emails came in from designers asking what we knew. And my Facebook account was loaded with posts from designers and other industry types around the country, commenting, linking, and often raging at the genius politicians in Texas who added this small but potentially devastating amendment to an otherwise sane bill focusing on windstorm certifications. Calls for Texas to move forward with its secession threats were commonplace (gotta love cranky designers). Phone numbers of the legislators involved were included in almost everything I saw, part of a campaign to get the word out to these folks that their bill was a disaster in the making.
Did it work? It's not clear to me yet. The Texas legislature's website indicates that the bill has passed, which means the last chance to get this thrown out would be a veto on the part of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, not the smartest cookie as far as I can tell. But I did see a post-midnight posting from Austin resident Robert Mokry of Lightparts on the Lightnetwork indicating that it wasn't too late to let your voice be heard. Apparently Mokry and his Lightparts partner went so far as to don a suit and head to the Capital building to speak to the various politicos involved in the bill. That tells you how serious this is....
We'll keep monitoring this issue today and let you know of any new developments. But I found it worth noting how fast word travels these days. Maybe this whole internet thing is good for something after all.
In the meantime, here's what you can do.