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What Was He Thinking?!?

By George Schmok

Did you receive the "LOL Weekly" newsflash on 5/31/06?

The breaking news is that Governor William Owens of Colorado decided that any person who can plant a posy is qualified to plan the landscape development of his state. In other words, good ol' Gov. Owens vetoed the bill, passed in both the state House and Senate, calling for the licensure of Landscape Architects . . . LASN sent the news flash late in the west coast afternoon to about 2,800 LAs across the nation and by 8:00 a.m. the next morning we had received several dozen letters from LAs expressing their concern, dismay and utter contempt for the short-sighted actions of that public servant. And the letters are still coming in . . .

Below is a copy of that release. You should visit LOL and read all the comments and also add your own, as LASN has and will continue to forward the responses to the powers in Colorado and also to Governor John Lynch of New Hampshire, who, as of 6/1/06 has yet to receive a similar bill already passed by his state's legislature. Let's hope Gov. Lynch has more foresight than Gov. Owens . . .

Anyways, if you did not receive the newsflash and want to be included in "the loop" for future "ultra important" news items, you can go to LandscapeOnline.com and register to receive those infrequent, but very important newsflashes. As a result you can also receive the weekly newsletter "LOL Weekly" . . .

So while the bill is "dead for now," according to Tom Plant, sponsor of Colorado's HB06-1331, "We can bring it back next year. [Because of term limits] We’ll have a new governor at that time."

So for you as a profession, now is the time to start planting the seeds for next year when, hopefully, a governor with more concern for the state of his state has a chance to rectify this calamatus politicus . . .

--God Bless

George Schmok, Publisher






Colo. Gov. Vetoes Landscape Architect Professional Licensing Act

May 26, 2006: Steve Kelly, LASN--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 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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