In case you missed this recent update from the Connecticut Nursery & Landscape Association (CNLA), here is the announcement about the status of the Landscaper License sent to CNLA members in early February. The announcement is printed here verbatim.
For the past five years, CNLA has been exploring the value and advantages of a state license for landscapers. Hearings on our ideas could be held soon by the state legislature’s General Law Committee. The CNLA Board of Directors has voted unanimously to recommend such a license to our members and asks your support. Here’s why:
Why A License for Landscapers in Connecticut?
Most landscape contractors are already required to be licensed (registered) as home improvement contractors by the Department of Consumer Protection. CNLA’s proposed license would take the place of this requirement. The current home improvement requirement does nothing to create high standards for landscapers and give the profession public respect and admiration equal to electricians, arborists, and architects who have their own license.
So, what we’re proposing is not “another” license; it simply replaces one most landscapers already have to get.
Licensing Helps Preserve Your Turf. Think about it: 50 years ago a landscaper had it all. During that time, arborists got a state license to take over tree care, electricians through their license now have landscape lighting, plumbers and irrigation contractors through their license have landscape irrigation. In the future, will masons take hardscapes and pavers? What other lines of work will you give up to other trades without a landscaper license in place?
How the License Would Be Administered. A state board of landscapers would be created to assist the Commissioner of Consumer Protection in procedures for administering the license, including examinations, best practices, qualifications for the levels of licensing, etc. The Governor would appoint the five-member Board from lists of candidates proposed by nonprofit trade associations serving the industry like CNLA, the Groundskeepers, etc. The Commissioner would have legal responsibility to issue regulations for the details of the license.
How the License Would Work. Each company in the state that does at least $5,000 worth of landscape business annually would be required to get the license. Landscapers would be required to carry a sufficient amount of liability insurance, and display their license number wherever they go. Consumer protection would have the power to suspend a license for bad business practices. The term of the license would be five years.
Grandfather Clause. Landscapers who can prove they have been in the business for three years prior to the start of the licensing, could get the license without having to take an examination.
Cost to the State. The cost to administer the license would be paid for by the licensing and application fees, so there should be no fiscal impact to the state budget. CNLA estimates there are approximately 1,200 companies that would fall under this license.
Recertification Required. Landscapers would be required to take continuing education courses to maintain their license, which would be done by trade associations like CNLA, colleges, and other industry suppliers. This would be covered by many of the programs you already attend. But more than that, it would lift up the landscape professional as someone who knows plants and has the latest knowledge to do things right.
Penalties & Enforcement. A person or company could face fines of $500 per day for violating the license requirements. Inspectors from Consumer Protection will enforce the law. Unlicensed landscapers would be reported to the state by the public or other landscapers.
May We Have Your Support?
CNLA has studied this carefully for many years, and we think it’s time to act. We hope you’ll tell your legislator that the landscaper license is long overdue for Connecticut. We think it would build up the landscape industry, and give the public more pride in what we do out there every day. Give us your input, or let us know if you would like to see our detailed proposal. Thank you!
UPDATE ~ If you’re interested in learning more or voicing your opinion, here’s info on a public hearing on the proposed Landscaper License.
The General Law Committee will hold a public hearing on Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 1:00 P.M. in Room 2A of the LOB. Please submit 30 copies of written testimony to Committee staff at the time of sign-up. Sign-up for the hearing will begin at 9:30 A.M. in Room 3500 of the LOB. The first hour of the hearing is reserved for Legislators, Constitutional Officers, State Agency Heads, and Chief Elected Municipal Elected Officials. Speakers will be limited to three minutes of testimony.