SCASLA State Advocacy Day
March 29, 2017
On March 29th, SCASLA members representing legislative districts from across the state join together at our state’s capitol to advocate on behalf of our state’s landscape architecture professionals. To begin the morning, our group attended a legislative session of the State House of Representatives. During this session, we were recognized by Representative Greg Duckworth, which set the stage for the Advocacy Day luncheon. More than 35 legislators, staff, including the Lt. Governor, were in attendance. During the luncheon, legislators were provided detailed information about the services landscape architects provide, and also the importance of our licensure. Licensure not only clearly defines our scope of services, but provides the oversight and experience requirements necessary to become and remain a registered professional. Many benefits of our practice act were noted but the common theme that resonated strongly with the legislators was the guarantee our law provides. The requirement for registration guarantees only competent individuals perform services that directly affect the health, safety and welfare of the public.
Even though we benefit from licensure, we are never immune to deregulation. Deregulation may seem extreme to some, but policies prohibiting the ability to practice to the full extent of the law can be common place. Professional licensure laws across the nation are constantly threatened. Just last year, North Carolina’s Licensing Reform Bill threatened deregulation of landscape architects in that state. Through continued advocacy to the bill’s evaluation committee and reaching out to key contacts in the North Carolina legislature their licensure law was spared. Continual education of our state leaders, review agencies, and clients is a role we are all called to perform. Although practice areas are diverse, our core principles of protecting the public’s health, safety, and welfare is the common mantra we can all promote. We are a relatively small, young profession when compared to our allied professionals, which only makes continued advocacy an increasingly important role.
Taking a day from the drawing board to make an invaluable connection will benefit your business and our profession. I would encourage everyone to consider not only attending next year’s Advocacy Day, but reaching out to your elected representative. Invite them to your office, show them a completed project, and most importantly cultivate a relationship. One more leader that truly understands the scope and importance of landscape architecture is a benefit to our profession.
We look forward to seeing you in Columbia next year!
Drew Cheatham, PLA