Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Tx Legislature Bans Lighting Designers; Governor's Action Next

Click for UPDATE, May 29 from Alex Alford: Legislators say they will correct bill, exclude stage lighting designers.

UPDATE, May 28 from Travis Bedard, with contact info for your representatives

NOTE: Following report is OBE ("OVERCOME BY EVENTS"), as detailed in updates, but remains here as a record of the political and legislative process.

It appears that while we haven't been looking, the Texas legislature has passed a bill that will put some theatrical lighting designers out of business.

This bill, introduced by
Rep. Wayne Smith (R) of Baytown, will require state registration and licensing of lighting designers and will limit licenses to already registered or licensed engineers, architects, landscape architects and interior designers.

The House passed the bill on May 3 and the Senate passed it today, May 27. Next stop is a House-Senate conference to reconcile differences -- the paragraphs on lighting design were inserted by the Senate. Rep. Smith may try to eliminate them in conference. If that doesn't work, the bill will move to the Governor's office for signature.

Excerpts from Tx HB 2649 are carried on, accompanied by an undated, probably belated squawk from the International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD).

This one could be sitting on the Govenor's desk as part of the thick bundle of laws the legislators are passing in the scant days remaining in the session. Governor Rick Perry would have twenty days to act. Or not act.

What does that mean? Specifics (with ALT emphasis added) from the on-line primer of the Guide to Texas Legislative Information:

Governor's action

Except in the case of a bill sent to the governor within 10 days of final adjournment, upon receiving a bill, the governor has 10 days in which to sign the bill, veto it, or allow it to become law without a signature. If the governor elects to veto the bill and the legislature is still in session, the bill is returned to the chamber in which it originated with an explanation of the governor’s objections. A two-thirds majority in each chamber is required to override the veto. If the governor neither vetoes nor signs the bill within the allotted time, the bill becomes law. If a bill is sent to the governor within 10 days of final adjournment, the governor has until 20 days after final adjournment to sign the bill, veto it, or allow it to become law without a signature.

Suggestion: Contact your state representative to voice opposition and contact Rep. Smith's office (tel. (512) 463-0733 and fax (512) 463-1323). Travis Bedard reports that Smith's staffers already have a prepared script, so they've been getting calls. Anticipating the worse, you can go to the "contact" page for the Governor's Office, where you'll find an on-line form to express your opinion on this one. Unless Tx HB 2649 is stopped, some talented theatrical lighting designers are going to be out of work. And theatres will be none the better for the Lege's well-intentioned meddling.


  1. . Smith authored has no mention of lighting design. This was added in the Senate B&C Committee. It now goes back to the House, Rep. Smith will strip the LD language there. If He is unsuccessful it would go to conference... so there are still chances to spike it.

    Call you local reps, and call poor beleaguered Rep. Smith's office (they're already on a script over this) and register you disapproval, and asked him to NOT CONCUR with the changes made in the Senate.

  2. Also, if you are interested in following, we have started an open Yahoo group forum.

    It comprises of lighting design professionals from all of the state and various project types. If all goes well, we will be able to just cheer Friday when this language goes away. However, if Rep. Smith is not able to get the language removed and it goes to the governor, we have some serious work in front of us.
    Thanks, Deobrah Frankhouser, IALD

  3. You can join the yahoo group as well. It is comprised of lighting designers from all fields and we are trying to get organized now, in case the legislation goes through the way it is. If Rep. Smith is unable to get the language removed, we will be fighting an uphill battle with Perry.
    If the link doesn't work, email me at to get an invitation.