[GUEST OPINION] State Threatens to De-Regulate Landscape Architecture and Other Professions

Landscape Architecture

By Chris Jones and Brett Anderson | AndersonBaron

(Editor’s note: Opinion pieces are posted for discussion purposes only.)

Landscape Architecture
Gammage Parkway – An AdnersonBaron project

Unbeknownst to many in the design and development world here in Arizona, the State Legislature has put forth HB 2613 which, among other items, threatens to de-regulate Landscape Architecture in the State and move the Board of Technical Registration into the Arizona Department of Administration.  This is just the tip of the iceberg.  It is also believed that if this Bill passes that there will be the momentum to deregulate Architecture and Engineering.

The proposed HB 2613 is currently within the House Commerce Committee and will heard on Wednesday, February 17th for a vote.  If this Bill were to pass it would be a tremendous blow for the profession of Landscape Architecture that just recently conducted their national conference in Phoenix in 2012.  Charged with the health, safety and welfare of the public, Landscape Architects are integral to the design and construction of parks, trails, bicycle paths, streets, public plazas, drainage ways, school campuses, communities, and businesses throughout the State.  In 2003, a report was developed for the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) which addressed this exact issue (view the report here).  This report goes into detail on the issues of liability.  If this Bill were to pass, where would the liability fall?…onto the State?…or, onto the developer?

In 2003, when the aforementioned report was written, there were three States that did not have licensure requirements for Landscape Architects.  As of today, all three of those States have added licensure requirements.  If this Bill were to pass, Arizona would be the only State without a licensure requirement.  Not only is the trend to add licensure requirements, but States are making licensure more restrictive by adding continuing education requirements.

Passage of HB 2613 is not only a blow to the profession of Landscape Architecture, but to everyone in the design, engineering, and development industry.  The loss of licensure for other professionals will soon follow.  Developers and land owners will be exposed to greater liability.  Highly educated and talented young professionals will leave the State where they can obtain higher paying jobs and those potential tax dollars going with them.  Let your State Representatives know that this cannot happen.  You can find your legislators’ contact information here. You can contact the Governor here.  Let them know that you are opposed to HB 2613.

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February 2016