Advocacy Prevents Deregulation for Landscape Architects

Many members may be unaware that the St. Louis Chapter ASLA Executive Committee works tirelessly with the Missouri Association of Landscape Architects on advocacy efforts to keep landscape architects licensed with the State and seated at the table with our other allied professions. A brief recap of the major advocacy milestones follows.

 

Organized representation of landscape professionals began in 1962 with the formation of The Missouri Association of Landscape Architects (MALA). The mission of the organization was to represent landscape architects in order to gain landscape architecture licensure in the state.  After many dedicated years and volunteer hours, advocacy efforts led to the Landscape Architecture Title Act in 1989 which defined the profession and allowed the establishment of rules and standards regarding the profession.  In 2000, the Title Act was upgraded to the current Practice Act that recognized landscape architects as competent design professionals capable of protecting the public’s health safety and welfare.  In 2007, continuing education was added to the requirements for retaining licensure and allowed the Missouri Board for Architects, Professional Engineers, Professional Land Surveyors and Professional Landscape Architects (APEPLSPLA) to extract civil penalties from unlicensed professionals. 

Each year since 2012, a bill has been introduced to take away our licensure.  Thanks to the combined efforts of MALA, our lobbyist – Sam Licklider, and our chapters representation; we have been able to stop these efforts and bring increased visibility and validity to our profession.  

Starting in 2012, the St. Louis ASLA Chapter and Prairie Gateway Chapter ASLA  began annual attendance of  Missouri State Legislative sessions to speak to representatives, advocate for our profession and fight deregulation efforts. 

 

The 2014 Jefferson City Advocacy Day at the State Capitol included visits to 38 district representatives.  Our talking points included:

  •        Landscape architects creating safe, attractive amenities in communities
  •        Licensure allowing landscape architects to practice in other states
  •        Landscape architects creating small business
  •        Landscape architects creating vibrant competition for quality, cost effective projects
  •        Licensure protecting the public from unqualified or incompetent practices
  •        Licensure being revenue neutral to the State

Most Representatives had some knowledge and understanding of our profession, which suggests that visibility and perception about landscape architecture is experiencing positive change through our advocacy efforts in the State. 

 

Five bills, important to the landscape architects of Missouri, were watched in the 2014 Legislative Session.  The only one passed and signed by Governor Jay Nixon this summer was Senate Bill 809.  SB809 modified provisions of law regarding licensing of architects, professional engineers, professional land surveyors, and professional landscape architects.  The following is a brief synopsis of the provisions related to landscape architects.

  1.      The Professional Landscape Architect (PLA) designation became official and in effect on August 28, 2014.  PLA replaces the Registered Landscape Architect (RLA) designation previously used by licensed landscape architects in the State.
  2.      An applicant for a professional landscape architecture license must make a passing grade on each examination, and a passing grade shall be fixed by the board, but shall not exceed the passing grade determined by the Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards (327.612).
  3.      The act repeals provisions of law which provide that the board may license without examination any landscape architect certified in another state or territory of the United States when qualifications are met (327.623). Provisions regarding the refusal to issue or renew a license have also been repealed (327.631).

Your membership does matter!  Your membership supports our efforts to retain licensure and enjoy the benefits of associating with our other allied professionals.  If you are not a member, we hope this clarifies your understanding of the benefits of membership and that you are encouraged to join.  If you are a member, thank you so much for your continued support!

 Join us for St. Louis Advocacy Day!

Landscape architects are on the move and impacting how our region designs its public spaces.  During the week of November 10-14 we will be asking you to set up an appointment to meet personally with your state representatives at their offices.  Our goal is to share the value of including landscape architecture in public space development.  Please contact Susan Maag at susan@slmconsult.com or call 636-357-1890 to find out more.  We need you to represent!  The number of officials that we meet will depend on your participation.  It’s not difficult and we will help guide you through the process.  We really hope you will join us in this exciting and collaborative effort! 

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