Legislature(1997 - 1998)
04/15/1997 01:38 PM L&C
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SB 110 LICENSING OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS CHAIRMAN LEMAN announced SB 110 to be up for consideration. SENATOR MACKIE, sponsor, said he would prefer to hear testimony at this time. MS. KATHY GARDNER, President, Alaska Professional Design Council, said that landscape architects are an integral part of the design process and it's important that they be on a parallel professional level with other design professionals. Architects and engineers are currently responsible for certifying life and safety in areas in which they are not educated specifically, such areas as playgrounds, plantings in rights-of-way, and planting in view triangles at intersections. Licensure will ensure that landscape architects are professionally responsible for those portions of work that they design removing the liability incurred by other design professions. She added that most states in the lower 48 recognize landscape architects as a professional group. Federal contracting requires licensed landscape architects and that has impacted Alaskan landscape architects preventing them from pursuing some federal work in Alaska or maintaining licenses from outside. MR. DUAYNE ADAMS, landscape architect, said they work parallel to engineers, architects, and land surveyors. It is listed by request for proposal, they fill out the standard form for qualification for professional services, and they enter into professional services agreements. He noted that 45 other states require licensure especially on federal projects. He said there are also certified safety issues as well, like view triangles in highway rights-of-way and playgrounds. MR. ADAMS said that wetland design, treatment of storm water, knowledge of the survival of plant materials, and the requirements of manufactured materials is very important for ensuring that water quality and public infrastructure are protected. As an owner of a landscape architecture firm, he is very concerned about the business aspects of licensure. They are at a disadvantage competing on several works. In the neighborhood of $1 - $2 million worth of work over the last four years has gone to out-of-state firms, like the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center, Mendenhall Glacier Campground, Glacier Bay Employee Housing, and the Denali Hotel, to name a few. The Board said in a letter that they do generally support landscape architecture for licensure, but that this bill needed more work and appointed an individual to work with. They have worked with that individual and he has stated that everything appears to be in order. MR. CHRISTOPHER MERTL, President-elect, Alaska Chapter, American Society of Landscape Architects, said he lived in a lot of places and everywhere he's been there's been licensing of landscape architects. One of the main issues is that they design public spaces. They are not gardeners and tree planters; they design outdoor spaces for people. Everything seen from a building out is often designed by a landscape architect. These are spaces that everybody uses every day. He said that landscape architects are not licensed and are disadvantaged when it comes to getting contracts in-state which means that Alaskan dollars and jobs are being lost to outside states. With no state minimum for landscape architects there's the possibility of a wide variety of individuals with varied education and experience designing these used spaces. MR. MERTL explained that they go through the same education process as engineers and architects. They go to university for five years and often do an internship of two - three years; and then they have to pass a series of national exams. In conclusion, he said he supported SB 110. Number 322 MS. CATHERINE REARDON, Director, Division of Occupational Licensing, said several people had seen her over the past two years on this legislation and she appreciated their attempts to address her concerns. Her personal preference would be a title restriction rather than a mandatory licensure law because she is unsure whether the public health and safety risks of unlicensed landscape architecture warrants prohibition against people performing some of the scopes of practice that are in the bill. She liked the provisions allowing her to spread the costs of the program equally among the licensees so that the landscape architect's costs will be reasonable. She also liked the language allowing the board, through regulations, to make the determinations that some activities do not require licenses because of low public health and safety risk. She was also concerned whether there would be a sufficient number of landscape architects available in the State to cover the scopes of practice in the more remote areas. CHAIRMAN LEMAN asked if she objected to his amendment allowing the name of the board to stay the same, but to allow the practice of landscape architects to be incorporated under that board. MS. REARDON said she had no objection at all. CHAIRMAN LEMAN said there were two other substantive amendments. MS. REARDON said she was familiar with them from the last legislature. She said her concern was that it seemed that the boundaries between the professions were confusing. CHAIRMAN LEMAN responded that he thought there might be some overlap, for instance, her example of road embankments, and he wouldn't want to preclude anyone from doing that if it fell within the scope of their services and that's why he wanted the clarifying amendment. MS. REARDON asked if the Chairman thought doing landscaping around a building was generally thought to be within the scope of architecture. CHAIRMAN LEMAN answered that generally that would be in architecture or landscape architecture, but drainage was in the area of engineering. Number 400 MS. JEAN SMITH, staff to Senator Mackie, explained the main change to the proposed CS was on page 14, lines 5 - 16 essentially eliminated the addition of a permanent voting landscape architect to the board. This would not only eliminate the fiscal impact a permanent member would have, but would meet their intent to have a landscape architect as a resource person during the initial regulation process. SENATOR KELLY said he would support that in the interests of getting them up and running. He moved to adopt the CS to SB 110. There were no objections and it was so ordered. SENATOR KELLY moved to adopt conceptual amendment #1 wherever the board is referenced by name to delete the words "and landscape architects." SENATOR MACKIE objected saying that's what the bill does, put them in the board. CHAIRMAN LEMAN explained that the function would still be in there. SENATOR MACKIE asked why he wanted to take them out. CHAIRMAN LEMAN answered because that is the existing name and it just lengthened it. All six disciplines within engineering aren't listed either. Furthermore, they checked with legal drafting and there is no legal reason to not do it. SENATOR MACKIE removed his objection. There were no further objections and it was so adopted. CHAIRMAN LEMAN explained that amendment #2 added a paragraph to section 23 saying, "This chapter does not prohibit the practice of landscape architecture by a person who is not registered to practice landscape architecture, if the services being performed by the person are within the scope of practice authorized by another license that is held by the person." SENATOR KELLY commented that this was discussed three years ago and was to protect landowners who hire people to mow grass in the summer time. SENATOR MACKIE moved to adopt amendment #2. There were no objections and it was so adopted. CHAIRMAN LEMAN explained that amendment #3 added subparagraph (c) that says, "Notwithstanding the definition of the practice of landscape architecture in AS08.48.341 a registered landscape architect may not perform or offer to perform a service described in AS08.48.341.17 if that service also requires registration as an architect or engineer unless the landscape architect is also registered as an architect or engineer as applicable. SENATOR MACKIE asked how they can do it now without this language. SENATOR KELLY said that at one time he thought landscape architecture was trying to get into engineering areas. He said he wasn't sure of the language, but for today's purpose he moved to adopt amendment #3. CHAIRMAN LEMAN announced an at ease from 2:12 - 2:14 p.m. Number 463 MR. DUAYNE ADAMS commented that in talking with Catherine Reardon, he was concerned that it read that any other design profession can do landscape architecture, but landscape architects can't do what others can do. So that left a lot of room for interpretation and in essence the standard of practice is really based on education and what a professional has been taught and can take liability for. He saw no more grey area than exists between architects and structural engineers and that has been a peaceable existence for some time. This issue is already covered adequately by the standards of professional practices as well as existing licensure law. He recommends that the committee not adopt this amendment because it does open those questions that Ms. Reardon is concerned with. CHAIRMAN LEMAN asked that he be allowed to withdraw the amendment. SENATOR KELLY said his only concern is if the person who comes to his house this summer to mow his lawn and do a little bit of gardening is allowed to do that. CHAIRMAN LEMAN responded that he thought that was covered in amendment #2. MR. ADAMS said there is a specific provision in the legislation that says the practice of landscape architecture only covers those areas that are within the purview of public health and safety. This does not preclude a gardener from doing anything as long as it's not a threat to public health and safety. CHAIRMAN LEMAN announced that hearing no objection, amendment #3 was withdrawn and he said the last amendment was #4 and noted that it was on page 12, line 2 to be consistent with legislation they have already moved. There were no objections, and amendment #4 passed. SENATOR MACKIE moved to pass CSSB 110(L&C) with individual recommendations. There were no objections and it was so ordered.