Governor Jennifer M. Granholm has signed two bills that update and upgrade Michigan’s licensure law. The law now will regulate the practice of landscape architecture rather than merely the right to use the title ‘landscape architect.’ Michigan becomes the 43rd state to regulate the practice of landscape architecture.
The Michigan Chapter achieved victory through a well-organized and persistent core group of advocates. This success was many decades in the making and would not have been possible had it not been for learning the lessons of the efforts of past legislative sessions. Most recently, the chapter faced an unexpected obstacle when the governor eliminated the state licensing board by executive order in July 2007. She took this action because the board, which only had the authority to regulate the title ‘landscape architect,’ had been inactive for a long period. This prompted a re-write of the licensing bill to accommodate the changes while preserving the functions needed for effective regulation of the profession.
The chapter had strong legislative support in the bills’ primary sponsor, Senator Wayne Kuipers and the House sponsor, Representative Marie Donigan. They battled back several last-minute attempts to amend the legislation to include other issues that would have killed the effort completely. Overall, support for the bill was strong in both houses, making the bill acceptable to both parties – important in a state where Republicans control the Senate and Democrats control the House.
This victory comes as several other chapters begin active legislative sessions in efforts to secure a practice act for their state, including Vermont – the only state without any regulation of the profession. Four of the remaining six title act states will also be advocating for improvements to their laws.