In May 2009, the lighting community got a huge wake-up call: Texas House Bill 2649. The bill included an amendment that would have prevented lighting designers from practicing in the state of Texas, limiting the regulation and practice of lighting design only to licensed engineers, architects, landscape architects, and interior designers.
Upon learning about the measure on May 26, less than 24 hours before the vote was scheduled to take place, the International Association of Lighting Designers mobilized its membership in a rapid call to action. Over the next 24 hours, the lighting community rallied to resolve the issue before the Texas state legislative session ended.
Never before had lighting designers so swiftly mobilized on an issue, let alone one that put the issue of who can and cannot practice lighting design at center stage. The harsh realization of what might have been lost—the ability of established lighting practitioners to practice their craft in an entire U.S. state—served as a catalyst for revisiting discussions within the lighting community on the subject of qualifications and how that might lead to some type of licensure or credentialing system. The threat from the Texas House Bill was also a reminder about the need for greater and more frequent communication with design colleagues in other fields, as well as the need for a full-time monitoring system of the legislative issues that impact the lighting design community.