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Government Affairs Advocacy News Archives


August 2012 Advocacy Update


Voter Purge on Hold

Florida’s Supervisors of Elections have stated that they are "on hold” in terms of moving forward with a proposed voter purge because of the time it will take for the state and federal government to enter into a memorandum of agreement with regard to the use of a federal database to identify ineligible voters.  The Supervisors have also noted that they need backup documentation to verify the information contained in the database, which is not currently available to them.  According to elections officials, it can take two months to remove a potential ineligible voter from the rolls, because there must be notice and an opportunity to prove eligibility.  Because of the tight timeline, this cannot occur before the August 14 primary.

 

LEGISLATIVE ISSUES

Statewide ERP Rulemaking

REP and representatives of the FLASLA Government Affairs Committee (GAC) met recently with Deputy Secretary Jeff Littlejohn and other staff at the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to discuss the statewide Environmental Resource Permit (ERP) rule-making and the definition of registered professionals, in an effort to put an end to inconsistent treatment of landscape architects among the water management districts.  It was a positive meeting which indicated that the term registered professional will be broadly defined to include all relevant professionals, including landscape architects.  Since that meeting, the draft rule text has been released.  All of the definitions for this new statewide rule are proposed to be moved to the Applicant’s Handbook, Volume I.  It appears that several relevant provisions will be included in Volumes I and II of the Handbooks.  This will require a review of those documents as well to determine whether the solution proposed by DEP will suffice.  The GAC and REP will continue to follow this issue closely and will participate in the ERP workshops, in addition to representatives of FLASLA.  The workshops will be held July 26, August 7 and August 16, in locations around the state and via webinar.  Members are encouraged to submit comments and attend the workshops to voice their support for the inclusion of landscape architects in the new rules.

 

FDEP has setup an ERP Statewide Rulemaking website which includes a Discussion Forum (on the right side of the web site) for interested parties to post comments.

 

Detailed information about the workshops is available at the FDEP Public Notices Calendar.  The public workshops shall be held by webinar on the following days:

 

Workshop 1 - July 26, 2012, 10:00 a.m. (ET) (click here to register for the webinar)

 

Workshop 2 - August 7, 2012, 10:00 a.m. (ET) (click here to register for the webinar)

 

Workshop 3 - August 16, 2012, 10:00 a.m. (ET) (click here to register for the webinar)

 

OTHER ISSUES OF INTEREST TO FLASLA


Numeric Nutrient Criteria


Environmental groups have asked a federal court to require numeric nutrient criteria for total nitrogen and total phosphorus discharges in the entire Mississippi River watershed.  The groups also want the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to impose Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) requirements for nitrogen and phosphorus in the watershed.  EPA maintains that it has worked with states to address pollution caused by nutrients, and that states should develop and maintain their own nutrient standards as required by the Clean Water Act.  Environmental groups have argued that the numeric limits are necessary to reduce the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico.


Complete Streets

 

The Broward County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) recently adopted a formal Complete Streets policy.  The Broward MPO is the first regional agency in the nation to use the Model Design Manual for Living Streets for Los Angeles County to develop customized Complete Streets Guidelines.  A working group of interested stakeholders has been working with the Department of Transportation to develop a model Complete Streets manual that could be adopted by other local governments in Florida.

 

Florida Economic News


The Office of Economic and Demographic Research released a report this week which indicates that Florida’s unemployment rate continues to fall, but mostly because workers are leaving the workforce rather than finding jobs.  The current unemployment rate is 8.3%, but if adjusted for workers that have left the workforce it would be 9.5%, according to the report.  The report also indicates that Florida foreclosures are up 23% for the first six months of 2012 as compared to 2011, giving Florida the fifth highest foreclosure rate in the nation.  Florida’s personal income is up 0.7%, ranking Florida 38th nationally.  The report concludes that Florida could benefit from lower home prices which might attract baby boomers as they retire, but that the economic recovery will be slow.

 

State Budget


Although state revenues are strengthening, Governor Scott has asked state agencies to develop budget requests that reflect a 5% cut over this year.  To achieve this, the Legislature will likely have to look toward further reductions in the workforce and services.  In the past two years, the Legislature has reduced the state workforce, cut pension benefits, closed prisons, and reduced reimbursement rates for hospitals and nursing homes.  However, this is an improvement over last year, when agencies were asked to cut 10% from their budgets.  Also, the agency budget requests do not reflect the final budget, which must be negotiated by the legislators during the legislative session.

 



 


March Advocacy Update


Transportation – 1.5% Landscaping Program


HB 1399 by Representative Brandes and SB 1866 by Senator Latvala initially provided that the minimum 1.5% highway beautification requirement would become a maximum amount and that the money could not be used for highway beautification associated with resurfacing projects.  However, both bills have now been amended to return the 1.5% to a minimum requirement, statewide as currently provided for.  Resurfacing projects are excluded from utilizing 1.5% highway beautification funds.  HB 1399 passed on March 5, 2012.  SB 1866 passed its last committee and is in Senate messages.


Landscape Designer Amendment

Last week, HB 651 by Representative Davis was amended in the House Economic Affairs Committee to clarify, as currently provided for in Part II of Chapter 481 F.S., that landscape designers are not prohibited from submitting independent planting plans or planting plans that are a component of construction documents to governmental agencies.  The revised language was amended onto the companion, SB 704 by Senator Bennett, on second reading in the Senate.  The House bill was laid on the table and the Senate bill passed on March 5, 2012 and has been sent to the Governor.

Electronic Filing of Construction Plans

HB 387 by Representative Ahern and SB 600 by Senator Bennett provides for electronic signing, sealing and submittal of documents to a building code administrator or building official and includes landscape architects. Both bills passed on March 6, 2012.


Numeric Nutrient Criteria

HB 7051 was signed by the Governor February 16, 2012.  This bill directs DEP to submit its numeric nutrient rules to the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for review under the Clean Water Act.  It is intended to protect Florida’s objective of a unitary, state-run nutrient program.  The state’s proposed numeric nutrient rules will be sent to EPA for approval.


Environmental Resource Permitting

The bill creates a consistent system of permitting for environmental resource permits among the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the Water Management Districts, and local governments that have delegation.  HB 7003 was laid on the table in the House and SB 1354 by Senator Detert was read a second time and will likely pass on March 7, 2012.


 Mold Assessment Glitch Fix

Last year, a mold assessment licensure exemption passed which allowed certain professions to conduct mold assessment without requiring a separate mold assessor’s license, including professions licensed under Part I of Chapter 481.  Some landscape architects may identify and assess mold conditions in the course of their work.  Language was pursued that would extend the exemption to Part II of Chapter 481.  This language has been amended onto HB 517 by Representative Grant, which is a Department of Business and Professional Regulation regulatory streamlining bill.  It passed the House.  The companion is SB 762 by Senator Hays.  It was also amended to contain the language.  It has one more committee hearing.  Unfortunately, the bills do not match up and there appears to be some disagreement between the chambers as to which provisions should remain in the bill, which are unrelated to the landscape architects provision.  The language has been amended onto SB 704 by Senator Bennett, which is a building construction and inspection bill.  The companion is HB 651 by Representative Davis.  It was amended during its last committee hearing to contain the fix.


Public Private Partnerships

HB 337 by Representative Williams establishes the "Public Private Partnership Act,” which provides for private entities to develop and operate public purpose projects.  The bill encourages "responsible public entities” as defined in the bill to utilize independent professionals to evaluate the cost and benefits of entering into a public private partnership.  As drafted, the bill listed engineers, architects and certified public accountants as the appropriate professions to engage in this analysis.  The bill was amended in the House Governmental Operations Appropriations Subcommittee to provide that all Florida registered professionals can engage in this analysis.  There were several other technical issues with the bill, and the bill has been further amended to resolve those issues.  It passed in the House on March 5, 2012.  The bill is in Senate messages. 


Neighborhood Improvement

HB 191 by Representative Soto and SB 582 by Senator Simmons renames the "Safe Neighborhoods Act” and the "Neighborhood Improvement Act” and revises its focus from safety and crime reduction to neighborhood improvements such as street and sidewalk enhancement, landscaping, mass transit, and stormwater and other public utilities.  The bill primarily clarifies the authority of local governments to create a Neighborhood Improvement District (NID) and levy an ad valorem assessment for the purposes described above.  The current statutory language provides that an NID may enter into contracts with planning consultants.  This bill revises this provision to state that NID’s may enter into contracts with "planners, engineers, attorneys or other consultants.”  The Senate bill is likely to pass as is, but has nowhere to go as the House bill is stuck in the House Finance and Tax Committee, which does not meet again. 

 

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One, not so small legislative victory for FLASLA


Good morning FLASLA Members. By now, many of you may have heard the positive news out of the Capitol regarding PCB HB 5005 [PDF]. On March 24, 2011 the House Economic Affairs Committee voted to approve PCB HB 5005; as approved, PCB HB 5005 does not include the deregulation of landscape architecture in Florida. Heeding the call to action and through a concerted effort, in conjunction with our legislative affairs team Rutledge, Ecenia, & Purnell, P.A., FLASLA and its members we were able to overcome a potentially damaging piece of legislation.

In our previous update to you, we requested a follow-up note to your legislator thanking them for their support. Using this link [PDF] to the committee action report, you will find the voting roll of the committee on page 16. If you see that your Representative voted favorably, please send them a note of thanks. It is necessary to mention that several of the committee members voted in opposition to the proposed bill as it contained deregulation language for other industries and professions that they felt merited continued regulation. If you were the recipient of an email from one of these Representatives or if you received a supportive response from another legislator or legislators during this process, please send along a note to inform them of your appreciation for their position.

As we continue to move through session, the Government Affairs Committee shall continue to provide you with pertinent and timely information associated with legislative initiatives in Tallahassee.

Kenn Bates, ASLA
President
Florida Chapter

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Have you heard the news?


Good morning FLASLA Members! Have you heard the recent news out of the Capitol? Late Tuesday, March 23, 2011 the Government Affairs Committee received word from the staff director of Business and Professional Affairs notifying us that landscape architects will be removed from HB 5005, thus avoiding deregulation of landscape architecture in Florida. We are on the cusp of a potentially momentous occasion as each of you heeded the call to action and advocated on behalf of the profession. The House Economic Affairs Committee will be voting on the revised bill Thursday and FLASLA will notify the membership when this has occurred and deregulation has officially been averted.

Your advocacy efforts, in conjunction with the diligence of our legislative affairs consultant Rutledge, Ecenia, & Purnell, P.A., have made possible this apparent victory over this proposed piece of crippling legislation. Please take time to write a personal note of thanks to those legislators who were supportive of our profession during this advocacy effort. Without their support, we would not have succeeded.

Lastly, please note that the Session is not over and FLASLA remains focused on monitoring other legislation that may impact landscape architects throughout the state of Florida. We will continue to work on behalf of the membership and keep you up to date. If needed, we will activate our advocacy campaign and call upon your efforts in support of our efforts.

Kenn Bates, ASLA
President
Florida Chapter

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Jacksonville Reporter Covers Story

Florida Times-Union reporter, Abel Harding, reports on "The risk of removing regulation."

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Continue the fight - help keep your license!

(updated March 21, 2011, 11:15pm)

Legislators are listening to your message. Landscape architects across the state have heeded the call to action, reaching out to Speaker of the House Cannon, Senate President Haridopolos, members of the House Economic Affairs CommitteeSenate Committee on Regulated Industries, and the State Affairs Committee. If you have not taken action, please click here for detailed instructions and our message pertaining to last week's advocacy campaign.

While we did not anticipate an amendment or strike all to HB 5005, this past week we have heard from legislators that our message is being effectively communicated and received. We must continue to advocate, removing undesirable language from the proposed legislation. On Friday, March 18, 2011 HB 5005 was referred to House Appropriations Committee. Beginning Monday, March 21, 2011 we are expanding our advocacy campaign to include members of this committee so that they remove landscape architects from HB 5005. To determine if your Representative is on this committee, please click here. Regardless of committee assignments we ask that each of you contact members of this committee and request that landscape architects be removed from proposed HB 5005 (click here for our advocacy message and talking points).

In addition please continue to contact Speaker of the House Cannon's office (850.488.2742) and then send an email (dean.cannon@myfloridahouse.gov) urging him to remove landscape architects. Continue to call the office of Senate President Haridopolos (850.487.5056) and let him know you strongly oppose legislation deregulating landscape architecture should it appear before the Senate and then follow with an email (haridopolos.mike.web@flsenate.gov). If you have already called and emailed both please do so again this week. Ask your legislators where they stand and then click here to report your advocacy efforts and your findings.

We appreciate your advocacy efforts! As we have stated this initiative will continue until a motion to adjourn session is called and we have preserved the regulation of Landscape Architecture in Florida.

House Appropriations Committee


(Having trouble with the email address hyperlinks below? Right click and copy the email address. Then paste into an email.)

Denise Grimsley, Chair
denise.grimsley@myfloridahouse.gov
(850) 488-3457

Paige Kreegel, Vice-Chair
paige.kreegel@myfloridahouse.gov
(850) 488-9175

Charles Chestnut, Ranking Minority Member
charles.chestnut@myfloridahouse.gov
(850) 488-5794

John Legg, Speaker Pro Tempore
john.legg@myfloridahouse.gov
(850) 488-5522

Carlos Lopez-Cantera, Majority Leader
carlos.lopez-cantera@myfloridahouse.gov
(850) 488-4202

Ron Saunders, Minority Leader
ron.saunders@myfloridahouse.gov
(850) 488-9965

Leonard Bembry
leonard.bembry@myfloridahouse.gov
(850) 488-7870

Marti Coley
marti.coley@myfloridahouse.gov
(850) 488-2873

Joe Gibbons
joe.gibbons@myfloridahouse.gov
(850) 488-0145

Rich Glorioso
rich.glorioso@myfloridahouse.gov
(850) 488-0807

Ed Hooper
ed.hooper@myfloridahouse.gov
(850) 488-1540

Mike Horner
mike.horner@myfloridahouse.gov
(850) 488-8992

Matt Hudson
matt.hudson@myfloridahouse.gov
(850) 488-1028

Dorothy Hukill
dorothy.hukill@myfloridahouse.gov
(850) 488-6653

Mia Jones
mia.jones@myfloridahouse.gov
(850) 488-6893

Martin Kiar
martin.kiar@myfloridahouse.gov
(850) 487-1588

Seth McKeel
seth.mckeel@myfloridahouse.gov
(850) 488-9890

Marlene O'Toole
marlene.otoole@myfloridahouse.gov
(850) 488-5991

Bill Proctor
bill.proctor@myfloridahouse.gov
(850) 488-2977

Darryl Rouson
darryl.rouson@myfloridahouse.gov
(850) 488-0925

Franklin Sands
franklin.sands@myfloridahouse.gov
(850) 488-0590

Robert Schenck
robert.schenck@myfloridahouse.gov
(850) 488-6641

William Snyder
william.snyder@myfloridahouse.gov
(850) 488-8832

Trudi Williams
trudi.williams@myfloridahouse.gov
(850) 488-2047

Kenn Bates, ASLA
President
Florida Chapter

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Keep Advocating!!

(updated March 18, 2011, 10:25am)

Our efforts continued throughout the day yesterday with at least another 3000 touches to state legislators advocating for the continued regulation of landscape architecture in Florida. 

Now is not the time to rest on our laurels – we have a long road until a motion to adjourn is called that would conclude the 2011 legislative session, otherwise known as sine die. 

This morning, Friday, March 18, 2011, we are expanding our advocacy campaign in the House to include the State Affairs Committee.  Reach out to the members identified below and let them know that you feel strongly that HB 5005 should be referred to this committee because of the environmental consequences that would result from deregulating landscape architecture.  Continue to call – this is the most effective advocacy technique – especially if you are the constituent of one of the committee members.  After contacting these members if you have not contacted your own Representative please make it a priority to do so today!   

Finally we need to let Speaker of the House Cannon know that you want landscape architecture removed from this bill – call his office (850.488.2742) and send an email (if you have already called his office please call again).

To determine your Representative click here. If the names of your legislator appear in the list at the bottom of this message please call them immediately!

Take a few minutes in your opening to explain how one becomes a landscape architect through education, licensing, and continuing education requirements.  Then move on to highlight the fact that landscape architects are stewards of the land emphasizing the benefit our profession brings to the environment.   Following your phone call please send an email to all of the committee members.  For your benefit we have prepared several talking points that highlight the environmental benefits landscape architects bring to Florida.  Customize the message – form letters tend to be lost in a pile while the unique correspondence will stand out!

The GAC appreciates each and every one of your emails.  We have tried to respond to all correspondence over the past several days but today we are introducing a new aspect of our advocacy campaign that will allow for more efficient tracking.   After you Take Action please click here to complete a brief and anonymous form that will track our impact and aid in strategic initiatives to increase our efforts as needed.


Talking Points

Environmental Benefits Landscape Architects bring to Florida

  • With the statutes in place to regulate the professional practice of landscape architecture, Florida is able to increase the positive effects and minimize the negative effects of growth and development in Florida. Responsible development with regulated landscape architecture is good for the state environment and economy.  Through advanced design techniques and thoughtful specification of construction methods and materials, landscape architects are able to conserve potable water supplies, safely reuse reclaimed water, and effectively manage stormwater quantity and quality as it moves across and under the land.
  • Landscape architects are instrumental in the design of many aspects that are crucial to our living environment and the future quality of life in Florida.  Projects such as downtown revitalizations , design of healthy, walkable and sustainable communities and parks, master planning for greenways with wildlife connectivity, beach restoration, reclaimed and restored land, planning for future sea level rise and much more. 
  • In the Florida Statutes, Landscape Architecture is the only regulated design profession explicitly defined to include the design and provision of Florida Friendly Landscaping and landscape irrigation systems.
  • Few decisions have greater environmental impact or preserve opportunities to conserve resources than the determination of proper land uses. In Florida more than anywhere, wetland, river, lake, spring, stream, and coastal resource protection demands high levels of expertise and accountability.  These natural and scenic resources attract visitors and create jobs, and are as important to the state economy as the state environment.
  • Site Inventory, Research and Analysis services are performed by landscape architects as the first step in a design process for every project at scales ranging from  thousands of acres in Sector Plans and DRI’s to a city block. Landscape architects are the only design profession specifically trained to organize and execute this important first step in land use planning and are credited with defining and fostering this holistic methodology which strives to optimize the compatibility of land uses with the protection of natural environment.  As a result landscape architects are often chosen by developers local and state government agencies to serve as the lead professionals  on  multidisciplinary teams that master plan and design for a diversity of land uses and project types including new towns, university and school campuses, mixed-use communities, resorts, brownfield and infill redevelopments.
  • More and more, restoration and rehabilitation of the state’s degraded environments is necessary.  It is difficult and expensive.  Landscape architects are a popular choice to plan and design cost effective and sustainable mitigation projects.
  • Conservation of mature urban trees and forests during site development saves Florida land, water, and wildlife resources.  Precise site planning and expert understanding of construction technology is required. 
  • In Florida, fire is as natural as wind and rain.  Through the principles of Firewise, landscape architects minimize the risk of wildfire, protecting forest resources and preventing the loss of life and property. Like Fire, hurricanes are part of life in Florida.  Landscape architects skillfully plan and design strong and resilient coastal communities, protected by preserved or restored coastal ecosystems, the state’s natural defense from waves and wind.Energy conservation at home and at work starts with awareness and understanding of the natural movement of the sun, air, and sea currents. Site selection and site design, placement of structures, protection of vegetation, and innovative use of methods and materials of construction keep people cool in summer and warm in winter without touching the thermostat.  This reduces Florida’s carbon footprint.
  • Florida’s investment in public conservation land, greenways and trails is protected by landscape architecture planning and design, providing fully accessible, safe, and sustainable habitat for plants, animals, and people.There is a well deserved expectation that projects designed by registered landscape architects protect natural, scenic, and cultural resources, as well as life and property. Commercial and residential developers and government agencies choose to employ registered landscape architects to design public and private places that attract customers, accommodate an aging population, conserve resources, and protect life and property from the effects of Florida’s wind, rain, and fire. Travel and tourism industry leaders rely on the expertise of registered landscape architects to make destination properties safe, secure, attractive, and profitable. State highways, parks, water courses, and other popular public infrastructure designed in part by registered landscape architects provide the safest and most cost effective facilities and a favorable first a lasting impression of Florida; bringing people to Florida, and putting people to work and serve as economic engines to drive our state’s economy.

House of Representatives – State Affairs Committee

(Having trouble with the email address hyperlinks below? Right click and copy the email address.  Then it may be pasted into an email)

Seth McKeel, Chair - (850) 488-9890

Jimmy Patronis, Vice-Chair - (850) 488-9696

Luis Garcia, Ranking Minority Member - (850) 488-9930

Leonard Bembry - (850) 488-7870

Rachel Burgin - (850) 488-9910

Matt Caldwell - (850) 488-1541

Jeff Clemens - (850) 488-0260

Steve Crisafulli - (850) 488-4669

Clay Ford - (850) 488-0895

Paige Kreegel - (850) 488-9175

Rick Kriseman - (850) 488-9337

Debbie Mayfield -(850) 488-0952

Keith Perry - (850) 488-0887

Scott Plakon - (850) 488-2231

Elizabeth Porter - (850) 488-9835

Dwayne Taylor - (850) 488-0580

Alan Williams - (850) 488-1798

Trudi Williams - (850) 488-2047

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ASLA Advocacy Network

(updated March 17, 2011, 12:00pm)

Throughout this week, ASLA National has provided Florida Chapter leadership with guidance and supporting documentation to be distributed to key legislators regarding the practice of landscape architecture. Today, ASLA activated its Advocacy Network on Chapter and National levels, calling Landscape Architects to action. FLASLA leadership will continue to coordinate the advocacy campaign at the state level with assistance from ASLA.

Message from Jonathan Mueller, FASLA
President, American Society of Landscape Architects

Message from Julia Lent
Director, Government Affairs, American Society of Landscape Architects

Not receiving Email Messages from the ASLA Advocacy Network about Federal, State or local Government Affairs issues that affect you as a Landscape Architect?

Register or Update your Contact Info here

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Thank You Advocates!

(updated March 17, 2011, 12:00am)

What a whirlwind day it was. Our advocacy campaign was successfully initiated within a 24 hour period and shall continue through the end of the week. Early reports are full of positive experiences. While we had no expectation of stopping this legislation out of the gate we were able to demonstrate to our legislators that we are proactive, informed, and passionate about the profession.

A few highlights to share with members:

  • Our advocacy campaign was successfully activated and needless to say it took on a life of its own – it was exciting to watch the flood of emails pouring in!
  • Across the state members have engaged in advocacy with their legislators. We have received approximately +100 emails confirming contact in Tallahassee and in the home districts. Of those, most contacted every member on both committees. This would equate to nearly 3,000 advocacy touches! An amazing effort considering we still have +/-600 members and numerous more non-members who still need to take action.
  • Several firms across the state have leveraged their leadership, staff, and clients to advocate on our behalf to communicate the benefit of regulating landscape architects.
  • A series of OpEd pieces are in the works and shall be issued via state and local media outlets.
  • Allied Professionals contacted legislators on our behalf.
  • Landscape architects from across the country are reaching out to legislators on our behalf in opposition to this legislation.

Please note that the proposed committee bill (PCB 11-01) has been re-numbered HB 5005 while a senate bill has not been identified. Landscape Architects statewide are encouraged to continue this initial effort through the end of the week. We will then evaluate activity in the legislature early next week and determine how best to refine and retarget our message as may be needed. 

It is important that each of us keep in mind that this is the start of session and the first of several anticipated advocacy efforts. FLASLA membership needs to keep the energy alive until the end of session and not get frustrated if this legislation drags on until sine die. We will prepare an end of week summary to communicate to the membership so that they know about the success that has been achieved – but temper the message with what to expect next.

Again, Florida Chapter leadership and the Government Affairs Committee appreciates your support and energy.

Kenn Bates, ASLA
Florida Chapter
President

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Have you answered the call?

(updated March 16, 2011, 4:45pm)

Landscape Architects across the state are currently reaching out to their legislators. Have you? Please take the time to advocate on behalf of professional regulation for Landscape Architecture. Without your voice, our message will not be heard. Even if your legislators do not sit on either of these committees, please reach out to them now and let them know how you feel. The Chapter and profession request your support.

Kenn Bates, ASLA
Florida Chapter
President

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Landscape Architects - Call to Action

(updated March 16, 2011, 12:45am)

Florida ASLA Members and Landscape Architects need to take action now!  On Tuesday, March 15, 2011 the House Subcommittee on Business & Consumer Affairs approved Proposed Committee Bill PCB BCAS 11-01 which seeks to deregulate landscape architecture in Florida. The Subcommittee has referred the as of yet unnumbered bill to the House Economic Affairs Committee and Senate Committee on Regulated Industries. Today, March, 16, 2011 you must contact your legislators to inform them that you oppose deregulation of landscape architecture in Florida.  

To determine your State Senator click here and Representative click here. If the names of your legislators appear in the list at the bottom of this message please call them immediately.

Talking Points

When you call your legislator key themes to communicate to their office include:

  • I strongly oppose House and Senate legislation that seeks to deregulate landscape architecture.
  • The deregulation of landscape architecture:
    • Jeopardizes the public safety, health, and welfare of Floridians as competency obtained through a licensing exam and continuing education would be eliminated.
    • Removes accountability and confidence in the profession that consumers rely upon.
    • Discourages landscape architects in other states from entering practice in Florida and conversely creates barriers to reciprocity in other states for Florida registered landscape architects leading to the flight of firms and professionals no longer able to practice here.
    • Transfers accountability and risk from registered landscape architects to consumers.
    • Impacts future opportunities of over 300 enrolled students in the three Florida university accredited landscape architecture programs and nearly 1,400 registered professionals and firms, as well as non-professional employees of these firms.

Following your phone call please send a brief email to Shawn Kalbli, ASLA, Government Affairs Committee, Chair letting him know that you have taken action.  If inclined to do please follow up with a personalized letter or email to your legislators expanding on the themes above.

You shall receive subsequent communications and calls to action from the Chapter.  Please be ready to continue to advocate on behalf of the profession!

House Economic Affairs Committee
Dorothy Hukill, Chair - (850) 488-6653
Doug Holder, Vice-Chair - (850) 488-1171
Geraldine Thompson, Ranking Minority Member - (850) 488-0760
Joseph Abruzzo - (850) 488-4791
Frank Artiles - (850) 488-9550
Esteban Bovo - (850) 487-2197
Jim Boyd - (850) 488-4086
Chris Dorworth - (850) 488-5843
Brad Drake - (850) 488-4726
Evan Jenne - (850) 488-0245
Peter Nehr - (850) 488-5580
Bryan Nelson - (850) 488-2023
Jeannette Nunez -(850) 488-7897
Steve Perman - (850) 488-5588
Ken Roberson (850) 488-0060
Irv Slosberg - (850) 488-1302
Jim Waldman - (850) 488-3164
Ritch Workman - (850) 488-9720

Senate Regulated Industries
Dennis Jones, Chair - (850) 487-5065
Maris Sachs, Vice-Chair - (850) 487-5091
Thad Altman -  (850) 487-5053
Oscar Braynon - (850) 487-5116
Charlie Dean - (850) 487-5017
Miguel Diaz de la Portilla - (850) 487-5109
Tony Hill - (850) 487-5024
Jim Norman - (850) 487-5068
Nan Rich - (850) 487-5103
John Thrasher - (850) 487-5030
Stephen Wise - (850) 487-5027

 

Kenn Bates, ASLA
Florida Chapter
President

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Your License is in Jeopardy

(updated March 15, 2011, 9:05pm)

Dear Landscape Architect,

We are facing a crisis with licensure and de-regulation here in the State of Florida. We havethree days to respond and contact our legislature for the most affect on this next committee. Each committee member needs to hear from one and all, power in numbers.

Please look for email blasts coming out first thing in the morning which will explain everything you need to know. We will need your help in contacting Representatives and Senators on certain committees by phone AND by written word. We also will need your help contacting licensed but non-ASLA members as we have no email data base for them. The Chapter’s web site will contain all the information. 

Personal relationships with any legislators should be used to express our concern. Please contact Shawn Kalbli, ASLA, Government Affairs Committee, Chair immediately and advise him of your relationship.

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PCB BCAS 11-01 Passes Subcommittee

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Government Affairs News

On Tuesday, March 15, 2011 the House Business & Consumer Affairs Subcommittee met to hear comments on Proposed Committee Bill 11-01, which among many other professions, alters the regulation of landscape architecture in Florida. The Government Affairs Committee along with our legislative affairs consultant testified on behalf of landscape architects to avert the proposed changes. In the coming days we will call upon the membership to take action with their legislators.

We shall keep you updated as this matter evolves.

If you need additional information please contact Shawn Kalbli, ASLA, Government Affairs Committee, Chair.

 

Links to Statutes and Rules Affecting Our Profession:

Chapter 455 Business and Professional Regulation: General Provisions
Chapter 481 Part II: Landscape Architecture
Rule 61G10 Board of Landscape Architecture

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FLASLA Supports Florida Green Industry Coalition Position Statement on Landscape Irrigation Standards

As Florida’s elected leaders and government regulators struggle with maintaining the balance between business, citizen and environmental needs for our limited water resources, Florida Green Industry professionals have been engaged at every level of government, providing knowledgeable input on regulatory and policy initiatives which directly impact our businesses and Florida’s economy.

The Florida Green Industry Coalition represents an ad-hoc group of representatives from all aspects of Florida’s Green Industry, including the Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association; Florida Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects; Florida Farm Bureau Federation; Florida Turfgrass Association; Florida Landscape Maintenance Association; Florida Irrigation Society; Florida Sod Growers Cooperative; Florida Golf Course Superintendents Association; and the Irrigation Association.

The driving purpose of the Florida Green Industry Coalition is to develop Policy Position Papers and other resources which can be utilized at the local, regional and state levels in developing sound public policy decisions. The Florida Green Industry Coalition has developed three policy position papers: Industry Professionalism; Water Conservation; and Landscape Irrigation Standards.

Download the Position Statement on Landscape Irrigation Standards

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2009 Stormwater Task Force
Submits Report to Florida Legislature


The Stormwater Task Force, authorized by the Florida Legislature in 2009, recently submitted its final report to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and Senate President. General findings identified by the task force included:

  1. The current system for regulating the practice of stormwater management system design has led to confusion regarding roles and regulation.
  2. Stormwater Management System Design Professionals often work in coordination and collaboration with other licensed professionals for the design of complex systems.
  3. The Task Force finds that there is no basis for amending the practice acts of Stormwater system design professionals.
  4. The current system for regulating the practice of stormwater management system design has assured that stormwater management systems are designed and constructed consistent with regulations.
  5. Based on the information the Task Force received from the WMDs and the respective licensing boards to date, the current regulatory system as practiced, including local interpretation and permit review, has not resulted in harm to the public health, safety and welfare from the design of stormwater management systems.


The full report and background documentation pertaining to the task force can be found at http://consensus.fsu.edu/stormwater-task-force/index.html. FLASLA and the GAC will continue to work with the Florida Legislature and FES leading into the 2010 session to continue discussions related to the regulation of stormwater management practice. If you have comments, suggestions, or require additional information please contact Shawn Kalbli, Chair Government Affairs Committee at govtaffairschair@flasla.org.

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Florida Institutions with Programs in Landscape Architecture

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FLASLA Retains Legal and Legislative Representation for 2011 Legislative Session
by Rutledge, Ecenia, Purnell and Hoffman P.A.

FLASLA has retained the firm Rutledge, Ecenia, Purnell & Hoffman P.A. to serve as the association’s legal and legislative representatives before Florida’s Legislative and Executive Branches of government.

Florida’s government is set up in the same manner as the federal government employing three branches; the executive branch, headed by the Governor and including all state agencies; the legislative branch, which like the US Congress is a bicameral system that utilizes two elected bodies, the House of Representatives and the Senate; and the judicial branch. In representing the interests of FLASLA our firm will primarily focus on the legislative branch and the rule making procedures within the executive branch. With the 2011 Legislative session looming, this article will concentrate on providing basic information on how legislation moves through the legislative process and provide a foundation for future articles that will address some legislation of specific interest to FLASLA.

The Florida Senate consists of 40 members, whereas the House is comprised of 120 members. Each body has a presiding officer that is responsible for leading his chamber. In order for any bill to become a law both the House and Senate must pass the legislation in identical form.

Whereas the House and Senate operate in much the same way, they each have their own committee processes. In the House, bills are filed and then referenced to committees and councils to be heard. In the House system a committee is a subset of a council, therefore when a bill is referenced to a council, that council will further reference the bill to the most appropriate committee that is a subset of that council. For instance, should a bill be filed relating to fertilizer, it would likely be referred to the Environmental and Natural Resources Council and further referenced from the council level to the Agribusiness Committee. The Agribusiness Committee is basically a sub-committee to the council. Should that same bill also have an impact to the state budget, referred to as a fiscal impact, it would also be referenced to the House Policy and Budget Council. This council hears any bill that affects the budget.

In the Senate the same bill dealing with regulation of fertilizer would likely be referred to the Agriculture Committee, however unlike the House Agribusiness Committee, this committee is not a subset of a larger council. Using the same example, and assuming the bill did have a fiscal impact, the bill would also be heard in the General Government Appropriations Committee. The difference with this versus the House is that in the House all bills with a fiscal impact are heard by one council, that being the House Policy and Budget Council. In the Senate there are eight different committees that serve the same purpose as the House Policy and Budget Council. Rather than all bills with a fiscal impact being heard by one body, the Senate has a different committee hear bills with fiscal impacts based on the subject of the bill. For instance, were there a bill dealing with the prison system that was going to cost the state money it would be heard by the Criminal and Civil Justice Appropriations Committee, unlike a bill that impacts the education budget, which would be heard by the Education Pre-K-12 Appropriations Committee.

Returning to our example of a bill that regulates fertilizer, let’s assume that the Senate bill has passed all of its committees and is now being heard in the Senate Chamber so it can be voted on by all Senate members. The House bill has also passed all of its committee and council stops but has not yet been taken up on the House floor. Let’s also assume that both bills, in their current forms, match perfectly. What will likely happen is the Senate will take up and pass the Senate bill and after it is passed it will be sent to the House of Representatives. Rather than the House passing their version of the bill, they will instead take up and pass the Senate bill. Once the House passes the Senate bill it is sent to the Governor for him to either sign the bill into law or veto the legislation.

What has been provided is a very basic explanation of the Florida legislative process. For a much more in-depth analysis of how a bill becomes a law within the state of Florida click on this link which will take you to a .pdf document created by the Florida House of Representatives.

About The Legislative Process How A Bill Becomes Law Explanation

Rutledge, Ecenia, Purnell and Hoffman P.A. looks forward to representing the interests of FLASLA and meeting many members of the organization at the Capitol.

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FLASLA Position on Hometown Democracy

The Florida Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (FLASLA) opposes the Hometown Democracy Constitutional Amendment. 

FLASLA supports local government authority to fund and implement sound planning practices and opposes preemption of this authority.  Furthermore, FLASLA strongly supports citizen access and public input to the comprehensive planning process and is committed to improving citizen involvement through local planning initiatives and legislative changes to Florida's growth management framework. 

FLASLA strongly opposes efforts to require referenda for comprehensive plan amendments, such as proposed by the Hometown Democracy Constitutional Amendment. FLASLA believes that approval of comprehensive plan amendments by referenda will be counterproductive to the public health, safety, and welfare, to environmental sustainability, to quality community planning initiatives, will become a tax burden to municipalities, and will not produce better land use decisions.  The use of referenda is not an effective growth management tool.

Approved October 20, 2007
Florida Chapter ASLA 2007-2008 Executive Committee

February 1, 2008 - Hometown Democracy, Inc. Falls Short

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Your Membership Dues at work….Legislative Services

As the Chapter prepares for the 2011 Legislative Session with a new legislative and lobbying consultant, the Government Affairs Committee (GAC) would like to take look back at how our organization funds these services. In 1999 a Florida Chapter membership dues increase was approved and ratified by the membership at the Annual Business Meeting. The motion, as submitted and approved, raised the annual Chapter membership dues by $50.00 to fund an identified need and the expenses related to hiring legislative and legal consultants to strengthen licensure and reduce barriers to practice. Since then our membership has grown to nearly 1,000 members thereby increasing the annual budget allocation for legislative and lobbying services.

With your $50 investment each year, our consultants helped preserve and protect the rights of Licensed Landscape Architects across the state through increased efforts on behalf of the membership. Particular highlights of those efforts include the three year effort, led by the GAC, to amend the 2004 Florida Building Code to include Landscape Architects in the definition of 'Design Professionals'. Prior, only Architects and Engineers were recognized as providers of code required construction documents. This amendment significantly increased practice opportunities for members statewide. Additionally, through our consultant services, we gained explicit recognition within Florida Department of Environmental Protection regulations. Efforts are ongoing with the Florida Department of Transportation and the Florida Engineering Society to further recognize our profession. During the 2011 Legislative Session continued monitoring and regular updates to the Chapter will be necessary in order to maintain our standing in the state.

If you would like to know more about current GAC initiatives or become involved please do not hesitate to contact Shawn Kalbli, ASLA at govtaffairschair@flasla.org.

 


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MISSION STATEMENT Leading, educating, and participating in the careful stewardship, wise planning, and artful design of our cultural and natural environments.
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