President's Remarks

Wow - What a whirlwind month it has been! With the introduction of House Bill 1361 at the end of last month, most of February thus far has been a battle for WASLA leadership and membership alike. In all honesty, I wasn't too scared of the big bad bill initially. Just last year a similar bill was introduced. We were notified. It died in committee. And we left it at that. My thought process when HB 1361 was first introduced was along the lines of, "Oh, this will go just like the last one. No big deal, right?" Wrong.

Elizabeth Hebron, ASLA Director of State Government Affairs, quickly warned us that a repeat bill like this is not something to take lightly. Coming from National, this had me shaking in my boots (my Toms suede wedges, to be exact). Lucky for WASLA, not only do we have a stellar team of leaders on the Executive Committee, but we had the support of other state chapters across the nation helping us fight the good fight. Chapter members from Oregon, Colorado, Indiana, Virginia, and North Carolina stepped up to provide materials for reference, examples of federal contracts, and letters of support for landscape architecture in the state of Washington. Our two state universities also came together to write a joint letter opposing the bill and urging that landscape architects be removed from the list of affected professions.

Within hours of sending out the e-blast informing our members of the bill, we received notice from the office of Rep. Manweller that they had already received more than 20 messages in the form of emails and calls opposing the bill. Within days, letters were pouring into their office as well. On top of that, many people took time out of their own work schedules to travel to Olympia and testify in our defense.

Despite being a little overwhelmed by the situation, I also felt tremendously inspired by the togetherness of our landscape architecture community. The outreach and support that WASLA received over the last few weeks has been amazing. We are so fortunate to have such a tight-knit group of professionals who are willing to step up and take action.

At this time, we have been notified that HB 1361 will not pass out of the original committee of introduction - essentially "dying" where it stands. This will not be the last time that our license is threatened, however. But now we know that we have the tools, the manpower, and the fight in us to bring those future bills down again. To all of you who wrote emails, sent letters, made calls, provided materials, or traveled for the hearing: on behalf of WASLA, I thank you.


Return to February Newsletter