Legislature(1995 - 1996)
03/23/1995 08:00 AM STA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
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.