2021 State Legislatures Convene

Since the start of 2021, roughly 35 states have waded into regulatory reform of occupational licensure, with approximately 100 legislative proposals being filed to date.


State legislatures are off to a fast and furious start in 2021, with 47 out of 50 states convened for session. While this year is no exception to the breadth of issues vying for state lawmaker attention, at the forefront of issues are pandemic responses and tax and budget concerns resulting from the pandemic. However, occupational licensure reform also remains a hot topic issue in state capitols across the country.

Since the start of 2021, roughly 35 states have waded into regulatory reform of occupational licensure, with approximately 100 legislative proposals being filed to date. Promisingly, no direct harmful reforms to landscape architecture licensure laws have been filed, though ASLA’s state government affairs team will remain vigilant in monitoring state legislative threats towards licensure. However, proposals related to the direct deregulation of occupations, including landscape architecture, are of particular concern. “Consumer Choice” acts; and “Right to Earn a Living” acts could gain traction in certain political environments.

ASLA is also tracking bills aimed at reducing barriers. These bills attempt to provide positive and constructive reforms, rather than calling for deregulation and reducing public protections. Often, these bills propose facilitating reciprocity for military spouses, providing second chance opportunities for individuals with a criminal past, and decreasing obstacles for those who’ve defaulted on student loan payments. 

Additionally, a particular type of occupational licensing reform gaining support in many corners of statehouses aspires to promote efficient mobility of licensed individuals between states. These bills are frequently identified as “universal licensing,” and attempt to create a “one-size-fits-all” mobility solution across the myriad professions and occupations licensed by states. However, many of the proposals add additional barriers for licensed individuals, and fail to ensure substantially equivalent requirements between states on education, examination, and experience have been met. Counteracting these proposals, ASLA and our partners in the Alliance for Responsible Professional Licensing are encouraging sponsors of “universality” bills to: 1) understand that applying a solution without first acknowledging the diversity between, and within, occupations and professions compromises time-tested interstate practice models, such as those implemented by the design professions; and 2) interstate practice licensing reform should not create new barriers that are unnecessary and counterproductive.

ASLA is also tracking other pertinent legislation affecting the landscape architecture industry. Most significantly, the Illinois House Bill 246, which would reinstate a title act. The bill was introduced on January 25. ASLA, the state chapter, and the state’s department of professional regulation are hopeful the bill will pass and be signed into law this year. Staff is also tracking legislation impacting the profession related procurement, public works contracting, urban design issues, professional services taxing, and appropriations.


Media inquiries

Landscape Architecture Magazine

Jennifer Reut 

The Dirt
Jared Green

The Field
Ali Hay