Legislature(1995 - 1996)

03/23/1995 08:00 AM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
 HSTA - 03/23/95                                                               
 HB 243 - LICENSING OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS                                  
                                                                               
 Number 214                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES announced the next bill on the agenda was HB 243.                 
 She called for the bill sponsors, Representative Pete Kott,                   
 spokesman to testify on behalf of the bill.                                   
                                                                               
 Number 214                                                                  
                                                                               
 GEORGE DOZIER, Legislative Assistant to Representative Pete Kott,             
 explained that HB 243 modifies the State Board of Architects,                 
 Engineers, and Land Surveyors into a new board with expanded                  
 responsibilities.  He said it would be restructured into the                  
 State Board of Registration of Architects, Engineers, Land                    
 Surveyors and Landscape Architects.  The expanded                             
 responsibilities would concern the licensing and regulation of                
 landscape architects.  He stated Representative Kott felt this                
 was justified as landscape architects must, in the performance of             
 their duties, have extensive knowledge of scientific and                      
 engineering principles  Furthermore, they were in a position, if              
 they were delinquent in their duties, to cause extensive harm to              
 the public.  Thus, he felt licensing and regulation was                       
 justified.                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES commented she had a hard time finding where there was             
 a danger from landscape architects that justified licensing and               
 regulation of their activities.  She asked if he could give                   
 examples of where this was the case.                                          
                                                                               
 MR. DOZIER thought he could give a few examples, but felt                     
 testimony from landscape architects on the teleconference might               
 provide more details.                                                         
                                                                               
 Number 250                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. MENDENHALL stated he was neutral on whether there was a                   
 justified need for this legislation.  However, if this was the                
 case, he thought the State Board of Architects, Engineers, and                
 Land Surveyors was the proper place for the regulating of this                
 activity.  He also wanted to insure the bill would not be so                  
 restrictive to prevent the architects and engineers, who have                 
 traditionally constructed drainage ditches and similar structures             
 from continuing with those activities.                                        
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES asked if anyone else on teleconference was interested             
 in discussing HB 243.                                                         
                                                                               
 MR. MAYNARD supported this bill and landscape architect                       
 registration.  He thought many more agencies are requiring this               
 licensing of landscape architects working on their projects.                  
 Thus, he would prefer a program for licensing landscape                       
 architects in Alaska, so these projects were not forced to look               
 for people outside of the state who were properly registered.  He             
 thought someone licensed in this state would know the local                   
 conditions better.                                                            
                                                                               
 Number 290                                                                    
                                                                               
 DWAYNE ADAMS, representative of Land Design North, thought this               
 bill was justified in that landscape architects work on many                  
 projects, such as schools and playgrounds, and are trained in the             
 many safety guidelines necessary to protect the public.  He                   
 argued no other licensed profession was required to have these                
 skills.  Even in areas where other licensed professionals do have             
 these skills, they are usually not as qualified as landscape                  
 architects, who deal with parks and playgrounds on a regular                  
 basis.  Other examples of areas where accountability is necessary             
 for landscape architects is with structures such as sidewalks                 
 that are not necessarily under the inspection of civil engineers.             
 His greatest fear was that without a proper licensing program,                
 many projects would be given to outside landscapers, who were                 
 licensed.                                                                     
                                                                               
 LINDA CYRA-KORSGAARD, President of the Alaska Chapter of Ground               
 Management Society Landscape Architects, requested the committee              
 support HB 243.  She thought this was necessary to support the                
 safety and welfare of Alaskans and would put Alaskan landscape                
 architects on an equal footing with those of other states doing               
 work in Alaska.  She said she appreciated the committees                      
 consideration of this bill and would be happy to answer any                   
 questions they might have.                                                    
                                                                               
 KEN MORTON, landscape architect with Alaska State Parks,                      
 supported HB 243 for the above-mentioned reasons and said he                  
 would like to state a few other comments.  He stated the                      
 education of landscape architects was comparable to that of                   
 engineers and architects, with professional degree programs at                
 several universities.  He thought this bill would insure the                  
 public was getting a landscape architect whenever they tried to               
 hire one.  He said currently anyone may call themselves a                     
 landscape architect, without necessarily being qualified.  Thus,              
 they wanted to insure that when the public tried to hire a                    
 landscape architect, they were getting one that was qualified to              
 do the job.                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES questioned whether there was anyone else on                       
 teleconference who wished to testify.                                         
                                                                               
 Number 362                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. TAURIANEN wanted to express his opposition to HB 243, saying              
 he did not think it would protect the health and safety of the                
 public.  He thought the burden should be on the public to check               
 into the qualifications of a landscaper before they hire them.                
 He thought the state would be better served by not adding to the              
 current number of regulations and felt the current process had                
 functioned well.                                                              
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES verified everyone who wished, had testified from the              
 public.  She asked if the committee had any questions or comments             
 on this bill.                                                                 
                                                                               
 Number 381                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER expressed his concern of when there would               
 be the requirement of hiring a licensed landscape architect and               
 when someone could hire an unlicensed individual to plant a few               
 bushes in the flower garden.                                                  
                                                                               
 MR. ADAMS thought this separation would come with the situation               
 of design of major public facilities, where there would be                    
 concern for public safety and welfare.  He thought that in the                
 case of smaller projects, such as yardwork, where there was less              
 of a concern for public welfare, this would not be necessary.  It             
 would not be in the best interest of the public to do so.  He                 
 said about 50 percent of the major projects he was discussing,                
 are done by outside contractors, who are registered and                       
 licensed.  He stated this was what they were trying to protect.               
                                                                               
 Number 411                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON asked whether this was the same bill on               
 this topic that had been introduced into the legislature last                 
 session.                                                                      
                                                                               
 MR. DOZIER stated he had not examined that bill, and so could not             
 say whether they were the same.                                               
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON questioned why this was not put under an              
 existing board, rather than creating a new one.                               
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES confirmed it was to be placed under the current                   
 architect, engineer and land surveyors board.                                 
                                                                               
 Number 428                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE WILLIS wanted verification of whether this would               
 interfere with civic projects, such as by the Boy Scouts.                     
                                                                               
 MR. ADAMS said it would not.                                                  
                                                                               
 Number 444                                                                    
                                                                               
 BEVERLY WARD, representative of ARCO Alaska, was concerned if                 
 this would place requirements on ARCO to use a licensed landscape             
 architect when doing site restoration, or if they would be                    
 exempted and allowed to use in-house staff to do these projects.              
                                                                               
 MR. DOZIER stated the exemption was not in this bill and did not              
 know if HB 46, should it pass, would cover the landscape                      
 architects covered under this bill.                                           
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES said she was uncomfortable with this bill, in that                
 she was not quite sure of what they were excluding or setting up.             
 She reiterated that she sympathized and supported the idea of                 
 having licensed landscape architects in this state, so that we                
 did not have to import them from out of state when required to                
 have them.  Thus, she thought there should be a mechanism for                 
 licensing these people, but was concerned if this would require               
 people not currently required to be licensed, to get a license,               
 in order to practice their profession.  This made her                         
 uncomfortable with passing this bill without that answered.                   
                                                                               
 Number 481                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON thought these questions could be answered             
 better in the next committee of referral, Labor & Commerce.                   
 Because of this, she moved that HB 243 be passed out of committee             
 with individual recommendations and attached fiscal notes.                    
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES verified whether the sponsor would be willing to take             
 these concerns into consideration and address them at the next                
 committee.                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. DOZIER said they would.                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES asked if there was any objections to passing HB 243               
 out of committee with individual recommendations.  Hearing none,              
 the bill passed.                                                              

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