Jerry Kopel


One day during the 1976 legislative session, the House debated a bill to repeal a law regulating landscape architects. Don Friedman, Denver Republican, went to the mike and in a classic quip declared "All they need to know in laying down grass is which side goes up."

Rep. Friedman was confusing landscape contractors with landscape architects. But there were so few landscape architects in Colorado at that time, it was clear state regulation wasn't needed. So their law was repealed even before the state's 1976 "Sunset" law became effective. (Sunset is the method by which unneeded occupational regulation is repealed or amended.)

In 2002, Colorado's landscape architects again want regulation by the state. (We'll call them LAs.) They applied under our "Sunrise" law for new occupational licensing. The question becomes (1) does the unregulated practice of this occupation harm the public, and (2) is the public adequately protected by other means? The Dept. of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) recommended "no new regulation" needed.

Of course DORA's decision doesn't stop applicants from hiring a lobbyist to get a bill passed. They have two shots (2003 and 2004) to get their way. You can help your legislator decide. Here are arguments for and against regulation.

For: LAs create plans for items such as topography, vegetation, walkways, fountains and decorative features. There are presently 530 in Colorado and about 50 more graduate each year from Colorado State University and the University of Colorado at Denver.

Forty-six states do regulate their profession, all except Colorado, North Dakota, New Hampshire and Vermont. Without licensing they are at a competitive disadvantage to licensed professional engineers and architects.

Con: DORA held their application didn't show present or potential harm to the public. Usually an applicant will complain about unqualified persons holding themselves out as LAs, but that wasn't mentioned in the DORA report.

DORA found adequate regulation by the American Society of Landscape Architects and by Colorado courts that determine the standard of "usual practice" of a reasonably well qualified professional.

Along with four states, the U.S. government doesn't require its own LAs to be licensed. Professional Engineers (who are regulated) will likely oppose the LAs, since they do much of the same type of work.

So it will again be a contest between lobbyists wooing legislators.

* * *

Attention all farmers, ranchers, pet owners and lovers of alphabet soup. Some licensed chiropractic doctors (CDs) want to practice animal chiropractic (AC) as a separate license on the same level as licensed doctors of veterinary medicine (DVM). And they want DVMs to get an AC license before they can practice animal chiropractic.

Animal chiropractic includes adjustment of vertebral joints, extremity joints and cranial sutures, posture and gait analysis, vertebral and extremity palpation (static and motion) short-leg analysis, and (oh yes) taking a case history.

The American Veterinary Chiropractic Association submitted the Sunrise application. However, the U.S. Dept. of Education doesn't recognize them as a national agency for accreditation of animal chiropractic study.

ACs in Colorado can presently practice under direct on-site supervision of DVMs, who are then responsible under DVM insurance policies for any damage done.

Four states allow AC licensing, but only one allows ACs to practice without first going through a DVM. And Colorado ACs shouldn't hold their breath waiting for a helping hand from DVMs.

The Dept. of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) which urged no new regulation pointed out: "Colorado's Veterinary Medical Association views the practice of animal chiropractic as a specialty within the practice of veterinary medicine, not as a practice unto itself."

THe DORA report indicated some Colorado ACs presently practice without supervision of DVMs, and that (wink, wink) may be OK with DVMs.

ACs will have two shots at getting a Sunrise bill passed: 2003 and 2004.


(Jerry Kopel served 22 years in the Colorado House.)

Home  Full archive  Biographies  Colorado history  Colorado legislature  Colorado politics   Colo. & U.S. Constitutions  Ballot issues  Consumer issues  Criminal law  Gambling  Sunrise/sunset (prof. licensing)


Copyright 2015 Jerry Kopel & David Kopel