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Aug 10, 2021 By IIDA HQ
Oklahoma’s HB 1147
Kristen Brumley, IIDA, and lobbyist Haley Blood provide a behind-the-scenes look at their strategies for passing a bill and what to expect during the process.
By IIDA HQ Aug 10, 2021
Published in Articles

Earlier this year, the IIDA advocacy team in Oklahoma celebrated a big victory with Governor Kevin Stitt signing into law HB 1147, providing further protections and professional recognition in their state. Working closely with the Oklahoma Interior Design Coalition (OIDC), legislators, and lobbyists, the team was able to provide colleagues the support for building their careers and being acknowledged for their education, expertise, and hard work.

HB 1147, authored by Rep. Mike Osburn and Sen. Adam Pugh provided interior designers in Oklahoma with:

  • A change of title from RID (Registered Interior Designer) to RCID (Registered Commercial Interior Designer)
  • Stamp and seal provisions
  • Added legal definition for Interior Designer
  • Eliminated one architect state board position and added one Interior Design state board position
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At the end of the day, it impacts lives and the work that these designers are doing. We’re doing this to remove barriers to prosperity that impact individuals' lives that are working hard, individuals that are building their careers and feeding their families.
Haley Faulkenberry, A&A Advocates
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Haley Faulkenberry, A&A Advocates

IIDA Advocacy and Policy Manager, Janella Curtis, connected with Oklahoma VP of Advocacy, Kristen Brumley, IIDA, Office Interiors, LLC and lobbyist Haley Faulkenberry, Associate, A&A Advocates to pull back the curtain on what it means to be an advocate, and the strategies for being successful in your community.

Kristen is in her second year as VP of Advocacy, and has been volunteering with IIDA for almost 9 years starting as a volunteer with her city center, and serving a two year term as Coalition Board president. Acknowledging how much work and expertise it takes to be an interior designer is the core of her passion for advocacy.

“I wanted the law to do more. As it was, it didn’t recognize the hard work and expertise. In my time at IIDA and getting to know designers in the industry, I’ve really grown to have so much respect for what everyone does.”

Her advice for chapters getting started, “Step one was looking at our bill and law as it was, and figuring out what needed to change, and what we wanted to change.” She notes referencing other state laws and bills to see what laws worked and what didn’t, “really helped us narrow down the language we were looking to push through.”

Step two is finding a lobbyist, “IIDA HQ helped us find an amazing lobbyist who advises us on what we should be doing, has our back, and has been there to guide us every step of the way.”

Haley Faulkenberry, an associate at A&A Advocates, and lobbyist for Oklahoma, began working closely with Dennis Adkins the founder of A&A Advocates in 2014, has a sharp understanding of the unique relationship between regulatory agencies and how they interact with the legislature. Together they helped to achieve this win for designers in Oklahoma.

Building relationships is everything

“It’s not just about building relationships, but building trust,” says Haley, “being a resource for getting the right, accurate information to legislators is important. And then nurturing those relationships.”

Getting to know your legislators in your local community is an important first step, and a place that Haley often advises her clients is a great place to start. “The best way to get anything across the finish line is to prepare everything and build those relationships in your local communities, prior to your session starting.”

“Think of the interim as practice,” she continues, “If you haven’t done the practice and the pre-work, you’re not ready to go get that victory.”

She stresses that advocates need to make sure that their message is presented in a way that resonates with legislators, in an environment where they can take the time to learn, and this means connecting in the community between sessions rather than at the capitol.

“Every single legislator, especially the bill authors and the governor, want to remove barriers to prosperity. They want to make sure Oklahomans can work to the best of their ability.” Haley stresses.

“There is nothing more important than building a relationship with your legislators,” agrees Janella, “also with affiliate and sister organizations. This is the foundation of everything we do.”

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L to R: Senator Adam Pugh, bill author; Senator John Michael Montgomery; Representative Mike Osburn, bill author; Representative Avery Frix; Brett Logan, OIDC board member, owner of Logan Designs; Megan Chinowth,
Interior Designer at GH2 Architects; Dennis Adkins,
President, A&A Advocates; Haley Faulkenberry, Associate, A&A Advocates; Representative Cyndi Munson; Paige Fruits, IIDA, Account Executive at Office Interiors, LLC; Kristen Brumley, IIDA, VP Advocacy, IIDA Oklahoma, Office Interiors, LLC
L to R: Senator Adam Pugh, bill author; Senator John Michael Montgomery; Representative Mike Osburn, bill author; Representative Avery Frix; Brett Logan, OIDC board member, owner of Logan Designs; Megan Chinowth,
Interior Designer at GH2 Architects; Dennis Adkins,
President, A&A Advocates; Haley Faulkenberry, Associate, A&A Advocates; Representative Cyndi Munson; Paige Fruits, IIDA, Account Executive at Office Interiors, LLC; Kristen Brumley, IIDA, VP Advocacy, IIDA Oklahoma, Office Interiors, LLC

It’s about moving the ball forward

“You have to have a lot of patience.” notes Kristen. “When we started this process four years ago, and every bit of that time has been spent working towards this end goal—and we’re still working!”

Haley stresses the importance of listening to your bill authors and recognizing that it’s not about getting everything you want out of a single legislative session, but rather to keep moving the ball forward.

“Designers across the state of Oklahoma have been working on this for 15, 16 years.” says Haley, noting that connecting with these designers keeps her motivated and focused on the fact that the work impacts designers' lives and provides an opportunity to move forward in their careers.

It’s a major group effort

From leaning on your lobbyists and legislators, to learning from each other, passing a bill is a major group effort, oftentimes requiring that you work with those that may oppose and are impacted by the bill. Having the right facilitators and bill authors in the room is key to successful negotiation.

“It’s important to stay level headed while negotiating, and stand up for what you know,” says Kristen. “It can be very challenging.” Not only that, but across the state students, educators, and designers were involved in a grassroots effort that made a huge difference. From the groundwork laid by previous advocacy leadership to board members, volunteers, and coalitions.

“Legislators and leaders were passionate about this because they saw how passionate IIDA and OIDC members are,” says Haley. “It’s the hard work and the passion that get these bills passed.

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Governor Kevin Stitt signing HB 1147 into law
Governor Kevin Stitt signing HB 1147 into law
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