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Colo. Gov. Vetoes Landscape Architects Professional Licensing Act
Read the news item below and tell us what you think of Gov. Owen’s decision. LASN and are outraged the governor did not sign the Landscape Architects Professional Licensing Act, a long, hard-fought bill that won passage by the representatives elected to office by the people of Colorado to act in their best interests.
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Colo. Gov. William Owens (Rep.), center, at an earlier bill signing, doesn’t believe the state needs a statewide licensure program for landscape architects.
May 26, 2006—The push to have landscape architecture licensure law in all 50 states hit a barrier today when Colo. Gov. William Owens (Rep.) vetoed the Landscape Architects Professional Licensing Act (HB06-1331), a bill passed by the Colo. House of Representatives April 4, 2006, and by the Senate on May 5. Of the 50 states, only Colorado, Vermont and New Hampshire are without landscape architecture licensure law. (The New Hampshire Legislature has passed a landscape architecture licensing bill that awaits Gov. Lynch's signature.)

The legislation called for the creation of a Colorado State Board of Landscape Architects with the authority to establish the education and experience criteria necessary to obtain a license to practice as a landscape architect in Colorado.

The governor, as per form, issued a written statement explaining his veto:

“House Bill 1331 would establish the “Landscape Architects Professional Licensing Act”, require professional liability insurance and allow for the use of a landscape architecture stamp.

“The sunrise reviews performed by the Department of Regulatory Agencies in 1995, 2002 and 2005 all concluded that there is no evidence the public would benefit from a state regulatory program of this profession. Imposing state regulations on this industry will create barriers to entry for future landscape architects, threatens the viability of small businesses and raises costs to consumers.

“It is also important to point out that entities such as the National Parks Service and the Colorado Department of Transportation do not require a landscape architect to be licensed in order to obtain a federal or state contract in Colorado. In addition, local governments have ably managed standards of competency requirements that meet their own needs, without a statewide licensure program.

“While the industry itself desires to be regulated—perhaps lessening competition from additional landscape architects—there is little evidence consumers desire such regulation.

“Accordingly, I have vetoed this bill.”

While Colorado licenses architects, engineers, lawyers, electricians, landscape contractors, surveyors, plumbers, educators in public schools (teachers, principals, special service providers and substitutes), mortgage lenders, daycare centers real estate agents and a plethora of other professionals, the governor is apparently unaware that landscape architects are highly trained and knowledgeable design professionals that do master and site planning for commercial projects readily viewed in any urban center in the U.S.; that they designate land usage and infrastructure systems, do environmental restoration, design parks and recreation facilities, do historic preservation, residential projects—and the list continues.

The governor has gotten some bad advice. Why require licensure of landscape architects? The same reason you license other professionals—to assure an appropriate level of expertise and to hold them accountable for their work.

I asked Tom Plant (D), sponsor of the bill in the House, if there was a possibility of overriding the governor’s veto. “We are not in session anymore,” he wrote via email, “so the Legislature doesn’t have the ability to override even if we wanted to.”

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December 7, 2019, 4:52 am PDT

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