Businesses and Professions

Rhode Island State Board of Examiners of Landscape Architects

SECTION 5-51-17.1

§ 5-51-17.1. Initiation of proceedings – Hearings before the board – Appeals – Notice to other states.

(a) The director may initiate proceedings under this chapter against holders of a license and/or certificate of authorization (hereafter referred to as licensee(s)) either on his or her own motion, upon recommendation of the board, on complaint of any person, or upon receiving notification from another state board of landscape architects or from the appropriate authority in another country or jurisdiction of its decision to:

(1) Revoke, suspend, or refuse to renew the practice privileges granted in that state or in that country or jurisdiction to the licensee; or

(2) Publicly censure, or censure in writing, limit the scope of practice of, impose an administrative fine upon, or place on probation the licensee.

(b) A written notice stating the nature of the charge or charges against the licensee and the time and place of the hearing before the department on the charges shall be served on the licensee not less than twenty (20) days prior to the date of the hearing either personally or by mailing a copy of the notice by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the address of the licensee last known to the board.

(c) If, after being served with the notice of hearing as provided for in this section, the licensee fails to appear at the hearing and to defend against the stated charges, the director may proceed to hear evidence against the licensee and may enter any order that is justified by the evidence. An order shall be final unless the licensee petitions for a review of the order as provided in this section. Within thirty (30) days from the date of any order, upon a showing of good cause for failing to appear and defend, the director may reopen the proceedings and may permit the licensee to submit evidence in his, her or on its behalf.

(d) At any hearing under this section, the licensee may: (1) appear in person or be represented by counsel; (2) produce evidence and witnesses on his, her, or its behalf; (3) cross-examine witnesses; and (4) examine any evidence that might be produced. A sole proprietorship may be represented by counsel before the board or department, or by the sole proprietor. A partnership or limited liability partnership may be represented before the board or department by counsel or any partner. A corporation may be represented by counsel before the board or department, or any shareholder, officer or director of the corporation. A limited liability company may be represented before the board or department by counsel or any member or manager of the limited liability company. The licensee shall be entitled, upon written application to the department, to the issuance of subpoenas to compel the attendance of witnesses on the licensee's behalf.

(e) The director may issue subpoenas to compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of documents and may administer oaths, take testimony, hear proofs and receive exhibits in evidence in connection with or upon hearing under this chapter. In case of disobedience to a subpoena, the director may petition the superior court to require the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of documentary evidence.

(f) The director shall not be bound by strict rules of procedure or by laws of evidence in the conduct of its proceedings, but any determination of the board shall be based upon sufficient legal evidence to sustain the determination.

(g) Recordings of all hearings under this section shall be in accordance with the rules and regulations established by the department's rules of procedure for administrative hearings.

(h) The board may participate in formal proceedings before the director through representation by the department's legal staff acting as the prosecuting agent before the director.

(i) Any appeal from the decision of the department, by a person or persons adversely affected by the decision, shall be governed by § 42-35-15.

(j) On the director rendering a decision to: (1) revoke or suspend a license issued under the laws of this state; (2) revoke or suspend a certificate of authorization issued under the laws of this state; or (3) publicly censure, censure in writing, limit the scope of practice of, impose an administrative fine upon, or place on probation a licensee, the board shall examine its records to determine whether the licensee holds a license or a certificate of authorization to practice in any other state or country or jurisdiction. If the board determines that the licensee in fact holds a license or certificate of authorization, the board shall immediately notify the board of landscape architecture of the other state or country or jurisdiction by mail of the director's decision under this section, and shall include in the notice an indication as to whether or not the licensee has appealed the decision.

(k) The director may, in his or her discretion, order any licensee against whom proceedings have been initiated under this chapter to, upon good cause shown, reimburse the department and/or board for any and all fees, expenses, and costs incurred by the department in connection with these proceedings, including attorneys fees. The fees shall be paid within thirty (30) days from the date they are assessed and may be reviewed in accordance with § 42-35-15, and shall be deposited as general revenues.

(l) The department shall make its legal staff available to act as legal advisor to the board and shall render any legal assistance that may be necessary in carrying out the provisions of this chapter. The director may employ other counsel and obtain other necessary assistance to be appointed by the governor to aid in the enforcement of this chapter, and the compensation and expenses shall be paid from the fund of the department.

(m) Nothing herein shall be construed to prevent the board from entering into consent agreements or informal resolutions with any party under investigation for violations under this chapter and/or chapter 5-84.

History of Section.
(P.L. 1999, ch. 289, § 2; P.L. 2004, ch. 56, § 4; P.L. 2004, ch. 63, § 4; P.L. 2013, ch. 298, § 4; P.L. 2013, ch. 378, § 4.)