Legislature(1997 - 1998)

04/15/1997 01:38 PM L&C

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= 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                     
 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                 
  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           
 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            
  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               
  SENATOR MACKIE  moved to pass CSSB 110(L&C) with individual                  
 recommendations.  There were no objections and it was so ordered.             

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