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Editor's note: The good news is that on June 5, 2006 New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch (D) signed HB 1458, which adds the landscape architecture profession to a joint regulatory board. (See New Hampshire LAs Prepare to Greet Licensure)

Now the bad news: In the last issue we reported the Colorado Legislature had passed HB06-1331, the Landscape Architects Professional Licensing Act, and it awaited Governor Bill Owens' signature. As we went to press, the governor had not acted on the bill. Then the governor, who has a penchant for vetoing bills, did what we feared--vetoed the licensing act. (See Colo. Gov. Vetoes Landscape Architects Professional Licensing Act)

We immediately put the news on, along with the governor's explanation for the veto. We received a ton of responses to our online news item about the veto. We now share a sampling of those responses (edited for space):

This reminds me of our issue here in Virginia several years ago when Gov. Douglas Wilder wanted to omit us as a recognized profession in Virginia, mostly because (my understanding) there are not that many of us, so there must not be a need for our abilities. Landscape architects had to give multiple presentations and discussions to educate him about why landscape architects should be recognized by the state.

Jeff Collins, CLA
Roundcorner Studio
Senior planner-landscape architect
Richmond, V.A.

Well, governor, you missed a chance at taxing landscape architects that practice in your state. I will continue to do work in your state without paying tax. You are unaware of how bad your decision was and it is sad. You should be more concerned about the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Colorado. Colorado will continue to have untrained or poorly trained people selling the services of landscape architects, which will ultimately lead to more money spent by your citizens when they correct poorly designed construction projects.

Don Richardson, RLP
Landscape Architect
Atlanta, G.A.

Wow! Why not pass legislation to eliminate licensing for architects, engineers and others who practice in the realm of public safety? It is obvious that the well-meaning governor has not a clue what landscape architects do. Either he thinks they head up garden clubs, or maybe he has a friend who wants to practice without meeting qualifications! You can't buy a shovel and a pick-up and be a landscape architect. We produce construction documents (like architects and engineers), sometimes for architects and engineers! We supervise construction of roads, walls, water bodies, bridges, etc., and, oh by the way, we also do planting plans.

Cassandra Wilday
Instructor, School of Landscape Architecture
Rutgers, State University of N.J.
Licensed LA in New Jersey (weak law) and New York (good law)

Editor: Thank you for exposure of this issue that we in Colorado have been working on for a long time. The Colorado legislature heard our argument and passed the bill through a series of committee and floor votes with a 2/3 bipartisan majority. Our term-limited governor unfortunately holds a political philosophy that portends to be "market friendly" by limiting regulatory barriers. This veto was part of a series of vetoes of regulatory issues that he did not agree with on principle. Governor Owens does not know a landscape architect from a landscaper and doesn't care. He will be out of office next January and the new governor will need to be familiar enough about what landscape architects do to sign a bill for licensure. We need to restart now, campaigning with and contributing to each candidate. The Colorado Chapter of ASLA is working hard to tailor the message so that it is not self-serving and clearly shows the implications to health and safety as well as economic benefits to the general public and to the consumer.

Craig Coronato, ASLA
Denver, Colo.

Wow! Even South Carolina, one of the traditional last five in everything, sees the value of licensing professionals. It's obvious that the governor has the same trouble that the general public--distinguishing between a landscaper and a landscape architect. Anything that affects public health and welfare should require appropriate education and licensure, whether it's the daycare provider caring for the child or the LA designing the playground at the park he/she will be playing on that day. ASLA should commence a public education program at once.

Matthew Compton
City of Charleston Parks
Deputy Director
Charleston, S.C.

As a registered LA in Maryland for over 25 years, I can assure you that state regulation did not "create barriers to entry for future landscape architects"-- rather, it opened barriers. I operated a successful small business for 15 years. State licensure supported the viability of my small business by offering a license. That license ensured the quality of my work to my small business clients. State regulation does not raise the cost to consumers, it assures the level of professional expertise and quality of work for all Marylanders.

Claire Lee Williams, RLA
Senior landscape Architect
Morris & Ritchie Associates
Laurel, M.D.

I enjoy the articles and appreciate the succinct information. The Colo. governor's decision is disconcerting and sends a bad signal. As a Calif. LA for over 20 years, I have considered moving to Colo. (but) the prospect of competing for work with anyone that chooses to call themselves a "landscape designer" does nothing for my wanting to move there. Four years of university study, two years of apprenticeship, a painful three day exam and oral exam (three examiners) should make it clear that LAs are a far cry from someone with some knowledge of plants and some grid paper.

William R. Duke
San Jose, Calif. l.a. #2391

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December 9, 2019, 10:55 am PDT

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