2019 State Legislative 90-Day Report

ASLA has been vigilantly monitoring -- and defending against -- state legislative and regulatory licensure threats throughout the first quarter of 2019


ASLA’s government affairs team, chapters, and grassroots advocates have been vigilantly monitoring -- and defending against -- state legislative and regulatory licensure threats throughout the first quarter of 2019. During this time, roughly 40 states have waded into the licensure issue with over 150 legislative proposals. Promisingly, no harmful reforms to landscape architecture licensure laws or regulations have been adopted.

States continue to address licensure reforms through five various categories – direct deregulation of occupations, including landscape architecture; “Consumer Choice” acts; formal studies/reviews of licensed occupations; “Right to Earn a Living” acts (or similar versions thereof); and reducing barriers to mobility and entry to various occupations. 

In the deregulation category, only one legislative proposal, Virginia House Bill 2101, would have eliminated landscape architecture licensure. However, thanks to effective advocacy by the Virginia Chapter leadership, the bill never moved out of committee and failed. The second most extreme category includes the “Consumer Choice” acts, introduced in Indiana, Missouri, and West Virginia. These proposals would permit any individual to practice a profession or occupation without a valid state occupational license, so long as that individual discloses that fact to prospective consumers. Fortunately, the West Virginia legislative body has adjourned, effectively killing the bill, and the other proposals have not been scheduled for a hearing. 

Roughly 15 states have introduced legislation calling for studies of occupational licensing. These studies generally include evaluating options for broad-based occupational licensing reforms and/or the suitability of licensing all occupations. So far, none of these proposals have passed. Nine states have introduced bills that contain “least restrictive regulation” modeled after the “Right to Earn a Living” model act. These bills would require an evaluation of all licenses against a hierarchy of regulatory options. There are concerns with this approach including a lack of precedents, which may make it difficult for a state agency to determine, in an objective manner, the appropriate hierarchical level of regulation.

Lastly, the vast majority of state legislative licensure activity has focused on reducing barriers to mobility and entry. Numerous bills have been introduced to facilitate licensure reciprocity of military members and their spouses. President Obama first called for this approach in his 2015 report, Occupational Licensing: A Framework for Policymakers. Additionally, lawmakers are trying to reduce barriers to entry through legislation that would restrict the use of prior criminal history in granting occupational licenses. These legislative proposals would ensure that licensing restrictions do not pose a permanent ban on people who have a conviction for a crime, usually non-violent and non-sexual, that is not directly related to the duties or responsibilities of the licensed occupation the person desires to obtain. 

ASLA is also tracking pertinent legislation affecting the landscape architecture industry. Nearly 50 legislative proposals explicitly amend state landscape architecture statutes or mention landscape architecture. These proposals include sunset reviews, establishing and updating landscape architecture practice acts, procurement, public works contracting, professional services taxing, appropriations, and licensing board operations. ASLA, along with the other design professions are also advocating against state legislation that would require businesses with state contracts to use verification tracking software.


Landscape Architecture Magazine
Jennifer Reut 
Acting Editor

The Dirt
Jared Green

The Field
Ali Hay  

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