Threats to Professional Licensure: State List
HB 2176: Died in Committee in 2017.
These similar bills sought to use "right to engage in a lawful occupation" in affirmative defense in a judicial or administrative proceeding to enforce an occupational regulation. In such action where the defense is raised, these pieces of legislation require the state to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the regulation is substantially related to an important state interest, and that the regulation is reasonable and no more restrictive than necessary to advance that interest. These bills never made it out of committee and failed upon adjournment. NSPE has contacted the Arkansas Society to discuss next steps to ensure that the license is protected.
SB 1437: Signed by Governor on 4/5/2017
SCR 1037 is a proposal of an amendment to the Arizona Constitution. This resolution states that a person has a fundamental right to engage in an occupation or profession. No state law or rule shall be enacted or enforced that prohibits or regulations a person from engaging in any occupation or profession unless the state law or rule is clearly necessary to protect the public health or safety.
If enacted, the Secretary of State would submit this proposition to the voters at the next general election as provided by article XXI, Constitution of Arizona.
Known as the Right to Earn a Living Act, SB 1437 restricts Arizona’s regulatory boards from issuing regulations which “on their face or in their effect limit in the entry into a profession or trade,” unless they can be shown necessary to the health and safety of Arizonans. The measure is intended to empower individuals to challenge in court unfair licensing requirements that limit competition and create unnecessary barriers to work. Under this law, all boards that don’t want their rules challenged now must ask the Governor’s Office for approval to proceed with rule making and then send all rules through the Governor’s Regulatory Review Council for approval. Now those agencies rules can be challenged as “creating a burden” for obtaining registration.
Governor Ducey has made reforming occupational licensing a major focus of his administration. On March 29th 2017, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey issued an Executive Order requiring all state licensing boards to report on their minimum requirements for obtaining an occupational license. Should those requirements exceed national averages, the order requires that boards justify them in “specific reference to potential harm to individual Arizonans.”
Passed during the 2016 Legislative Session, HB 2613 was enacted which eliminates several occupational licenses and the related statutes. This measure also requires a cost-benefit analysis and feasibility report concerning the transfer of all non-health regulatory boards, including the Board of Technical Registration to a new division within the Arizona Department of Administration (ADOA). Although the bill did not specifically target engineering licensure, it very much opens the door to changing the organization and operations of state regulatory boards, including the engineering board.
NSPE will continue to work with stakeholders within Arizona to prepare for the next legislative session in order to defeat any potential threats.
This bill establishes that a person has a right to engage in a lawful profession or vocation without being subject to an occupational regulation, as defined, that imposes a substantial burden on that right, and would require each occupational regulation to be limited to what is demonstrably necessary and narrowly tailored to fulfill a legitimate public health, safety, or welfare objective.
The bill would also include within this the right of a person with a criminal record to obtain a license and not to have a board use the person’s criminal record as an automatic or mandatory permanent bar to engaging in a lawful profession or vocation. The bill would also include the right of a person who is behind on his or her taxes or student loans to petition a board not to use these factors against that person, as prescribed.
NSPE reached out to the California Society of Professional Engineers about this legislation and will continue to work together to defeat attacks on the PE license.
SB 193: Failed upon adjournment on 5/9/2018
SB 236 requires the Department of Regulatory Affairs to presume that consumers are sufficiently protected by market competition and private remedies, and to create occupational regulations only where the department finds credible evidence of a present, significant, and substantiated harm to consumers.
SB 193, or the “Right to Earn a Living Act” prohibits state agencies from imposing a personal qualification requirement in order to engage in a profession or occupation unless the agency can show that the requirement is demonstrably necessary and narrowly tailored to address a specific, legitimate public health, safety, or welfare objective.
On or before July 1, 2019, every agency is required to review occupational regulations and determine whether the regulation should be repealed or amended based on specific requirements. An individual may also file a petition with an agency requesting that an occupational regulation be repealed or amended.
NSPE alerted NSPE-CO to these pieces of legislation and collaborated to oppose these measure.
As originally proposed, the measure requires the Commissioner of Consumer Protection to conduct a study regarding occupational licensing. However, the substitute exempts licenses issued pursuant to chapter 393 of the general statutes from the study. Licenses in Chapter 393 of the General Statutes include electricians, plumbers, solar, heating, piping and cooling contractors, and swimming pool builders. Professional engineers were not exempted.
The study shall include:
(1) whether any other existing occupational licenses currently issued by the Department of Consumer Protection should be eliminated,
(2) what problems, if any, exist with the current system of occupational licensing in this state,
(3) a survey of how other states operate their occupational licensing programs, and
(4) recommendations, if any, for improvement of the current system of occupational licensing in this state.
No later than December 31, 2018, the Commissioner of Consumer Protection shall report the results of the study conducted pursuant to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to consume protection and occupational licensing.
NSPE has reached out to the Connecticut Society of Professional Engineers and is collaborating to ensure that engineering licensure is protected in Connecticut.
Established the Delaware Professional Licensing Review Committee. The Committee is responsible for recommending standards and best practices to ensure that Delaware residents can enter a profession free from regulatory or administrative burdens. In its September 2016 report, the Committee reiterated its recommendation regarding the creation of oversight power, vested in the Division of Professional Regulation, to protect the public from anti-competitive decisions. Regarding the Delaware Association of Professional Engineers (DAPE), the Committee recognized that the DAPE has not promulgated any regulations regarding licensure. The Committee also recommended that the Director of the Division of Professional Regulation should be afforded the same power to review any regulations promulgated by the DAPE and veto or modify them as necessary, as well as the same power to modify or reject any decisions regarding unlicensed practice. NSPE will work with the Delaware Engineering Society to ensure that engineering licensure is not negatively impacted. The report can be seen here.
A resolution encouraging the Georgia Occupational Regulatory Review Council to perform its legally required periodic reviews of existing regulatory entities.
In 2010, law was enacted which required the Council to receive reports, once every seven years, from all of Georgia’ licensing boards explaining why each profession needs to be continually licensed. According to the sponsor, these reports have not been compiled. As a result, this resolution was introduced and adopted in order to bring attention to the Council and force the Legislature to debate whether this Council is financially able to perform the duties it is legally obligated to perform.
NSPE alerted the Georgia Society of Professional Engineers to the legislation and will continue to track actions of this Council.
HF 46: Died in Committee in 2015.
In 2015, HF 46 sought to establish the right to engage in occupation free from regulations unless certain conditions are met. The legislation would have resulted in an overhaul of the licensure process without evaluating the merits of licensure for each profession. The bill never moved out of committee in 2015. The measure was refiled during the 2017 Legislative Session (HF 4), but failed upon adjournment.
This resolution, recommended by the Regulatory Reform Joint Sub-Committee, would authorize the Legislative Council to appoint an interim committee to: (1) study occupational licensing and certification laws and rules in Idaho, and (2) evaluate the necessity of such laws and rules. The purpose of the committee's study would be to ensure that Idaho's occupational licensing and certification laws and rules are in the public interest and are not anti-competitive in intent or effect.
NSPE reached out to the Idaho Society of Professional Engineers about the legislation and will continue to work together to defeat attacks on the PE license.
More than a dozen lawmakers, including two senators, held a news conference on February 5th in the Capitol to announce that they’re forming a “Regulatory Reform Joint Subcommittee” to examine the rules and regulations of state licensing boards and look for ways to streamline them, eliminate unnecessary regulations, and review for anti-competitive provisions. The panel, to be co-chaired by Representative Gayann DeMordaunt and Senator Todd Lakey will be a subcommittee of the House Business Committee and the Senate Commerce Committee.
The panel will consist of three majority members and one minority member from each house’s committee and will invite state regulatory boards to appear before it to detail the licensing rules and regulations specific to each industry. The Subcommittee will have all the authority of an Idaho Legislative Committee including: power to subpoena, summon and examine witnesses, and require production and examine books, records, and papers. In this case the subcommittee will likely be ‘morphed’ into an interim committee to continue work through the interim.
NSPE and the Idaho Society of Professional Engineers will continue to track actions by the Subcommittee in order to ensure the P.E license is upheld.
Requires state agencies to submit a report to the Office of the Governor no later than July 1, 2018. The report will assess whether the licensure requirements are necessary and in the public interest while providing recommendations for improvement, modification, or elimination. Under the review process, the report from each Executive agency will include the timeframe in which a license is either granted or denied, prerequisites for a license, renewal requirements, requirements for accepting or denying an application and license renewal, qualifications for suspension, revocation or other disciplinary action, the cost to apply for an application or renewal of a license, and the cost for administering the licensing and renewal process. NSPE alerted the Idaho Society of Professional Engineers to the executive order and is advising on strategies to protect the PE license. Public comments will be accepted by the Bureau of Occupational Licenses until May 1, 2018. The Bureau will then submit a report to the Governors’ office detailing their assessment and recommendations by July 1, 2018. Testimony can be submitted here.
The Right to Earn a Living Act establishes that at all entry regulations with respect to businesses and professions and all public service restrictions shall be limited to those demonstrably necessary and carefully tailored to fulfill legitimate public health, safety, or welfare objectives.
Within one year after the enactment, all agencies shall conduct a comprehensive review of all entry regulations within their jurisdictions, and for each such entry regulation it shall:
- Articulate with specificity the public health, safety, or welfare objective or objectives served by the regulation; and
- Articulate the reason or reasons why the regulation is necessary to serve the specified objective or objectives.
In an effort to balance the state budget, Governor Bruce Rauner and Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti have announced a new assembly team of experts who are to focus on issue areas key to state policy development. The first of four units to be announced will focus on the state of economics. Under the direction of Hans Zigmund, named the governor’s first economic policy director, the team will be responsible for balanced budget initiatives and regulatory relief areas such as workers compensation and occupational licensure. In the past, Governor Rauner and the Illinois Legislature have made significant efforts to institute occupational reform. For example, in the recent establishment of the Illinois Competitiveness Council, the council is specifically instructed to examine the occupational licensure system to promote “job growth and job creation” and identify unnecessary burdens. NSPE is collaborating with the Illinois Society of Professional Engineers to ensure that the PE license is not impacted.
HB 1299: Failed upon adjournment on 3/14/2018.
These companion measures provide that the small business ombudsman reviews proposed rules that are occupational regulations. However, during the House Ways and Means Committee, SB399 was stripped of the provisions referencing the ombudsman and review of the rulemaking processes leading toward licensure/registration. What remained in the bill was some language that appears benign that allows individuals to submit their criminal records to licensing boards to have a determination made whether or not their past criminal history will prohibit them from becoming licensed.
These companion bills, as initially filed, posed a major threat to occupational licensure and would have upended engineering licensure in Indiana. NSPE and the Indiana Society of Professional Engineers will continue to collaborate to ensure that these pieces of legislation do not threaten professional engineers.
On August 20, 2015, as the result of extensive advocacy efforts by the Indiana Society of Professional Engineers and NSPE, the Indiana Job Creation Commission (JCC) rescinded its troubling recommendation to eliminate licensure of the Professional Engineer. The JCC, which was created in 2014 to examine the licensing of all of the state’s professional boards, released its draft report recommending elimination of the PE license in Indiana. ISPE and NSPE organized a swift, coordinated response to urge the JCC and Indiana Governor Mike Pence to reverse the recommendation. ISPE sent a letter to the JCC Chairman Nick Rhoad and Governor Pence’s office on June 19, urging them to remove the recommendation. At ISPE’s request, NSPE sent a letter addressing the state and national implications of eliminating the PE license and urged the JCC to reverse their decision. The final report was amended but still stated that there would be further consideration of the licensure of engineers. NSPE has been actively monitoring developments around the country and stands ready, willing and able to collaborate with state societies to oppose any and all such efforts. Learn more.
HB 50: Failed upon adjournment on 4/14/2018.
HB 465 comprehensively reorganizes all boards and commissions, pulling them under direct state oversight. In fact, the State Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors would be under the authority of the Land Development Authority. These new departments would call for a regular five year review of all regulated occupations and boards.
Following the department’s review and evaluation, the departments shall prepare a report to the Governor and to the Legislative Research Commission concerning each occupation and board that the department reviews and evaluates including any recommendations for legislation, including whether:
1. The regulation of a regulated occupation should be modified;
2. The board should be combined with another board;
3. The board or the regulation of the occupation should be terminated;
4. A license should be eliminated; or
5. Multiple licenses should be consolidated into a single license;
NSPE reached out to the Kentucky Society of Professional Engineers about the legislation and will continue to work together to defeat attacks on the PE license.
HB 50 establishes that by November 15, 2018, and by November 15 every five years thereafter, each administrative agency shall conduct a comprehensive review of all occupational licensing regulations within its jurisdiction.
For each occupational licensing regulation, the agency shall determine as part of its review:
(a) How the regulation is limited and essential to fulfilling the statutory requirements for the entry of a person into a market, business, occupation, or profession;
(b) Any unnecessary burdens or restrictions that may limit a person's entry into a market, business, occupation, or profession; and
(c) That the regulation is carefully tailored to ensure the legitimate health, safety, and welfare of the public.
If an agency finds that an occupational licensing regulation does not meet the objectives identified above, the agency shall:
(a) Repeal the occupational licensing regulation;
(b) Amend the regulation to conform to the requirements
(c) Identify in the form of recommendations any actions necessary to repeal, modify, or amend the regulation if the agency does not have the authority to do so.
Any person may also petition an agency to repeal or modify an occupational licensing regulation within the agency's jurisdiction if the occupational licensing regulation does not meet the criteria identified in this Act.
NSPE has reached out to the Kentucky Society of Professional Engineers and is collaborating to ensure that engineering licensure is protected in Kentucky.
HB 748: Signed by Governor Bel Edwards on 5/30/2018.
SB 494: Failed upon adjournment on 5/18/2018.
The Occupational Board Compliance Act (HB 372) creates the Occupational Licensing Review Commission to provide active supervision of state executive branch occupational licensing boards controlled by active market participants to ensure compliance with state policy in the adoption of occupational regulations promulgated by an occupational licensing board. This commission requires an occupational licensing board to submit any proposed occupational regulation to the commission before the occupational licensing board files the occupational regulation in the Office of the Secretary of State.
The Occupational Licensing Review Act (HB 748) requires the Office of the Governor, beginning July 1, 2018, to annually review approximately 20% of the state's current occupational regulations.
NSPE reached out to the Louisiana Engineering Society about this legislation and will continue to work together to defeat attacks on the PE license.
HB 825: Died in Committee on 4/16/2018.
The Right to Earn a Living Act requires a review of the policies and entry regulations of professional licensing boards and agencies as well as any hurdles to going into business. If it deemed necessary, these bills require a modification or repeal of those policies that are not demonstrably necessary to maintain the public health, safety, or welfare of the people of the state and that the agency recommend that the legislature modify or repeal the policies that require legislative action.
NSPE reached out to the Louisiana Engineering Society about the legislation and will continue to work together to defeat attacks on the PE license.
Requires the Secretary of each principal department to be responsible for the supervision of units of State government within the jurisdiction of the Secretary that are composed of individuals participating in the occupation or profession regulated by the units. The bill requires the Secretary to adopt regulations for the supervision of those units for specified purposes; among other revisions. This legislation, if enacted, would change Maryland's licensure process for all professions, including the PE, opening the profession to a weakened licensure mechanism for oversight. NSPE has worked closely with the state society to educate other stakeholders and defeat any anti-licensure efforts pertaining to PEs in the state.
This measure establishes that beginning January 1, 2019, the Michigan Law Review Commission will annually review the occupational regulations of approximately 20% of the occupations that are subject to state regulation, and over each 5-year period review all occupational regulations that are subject to state regulation, and shall evaluate whether those regulations are consistent with the policy of using the least restrictive regulation necessary to protect consumers from present, significant, and substantiated harms that threaten public health and safety.
In this analysis, the Commission shall employ a rebuttable presumption that market competition and private remedies are sufficient to protect consumers.
NSPE reached out to the Michigan Society of Professional Engineers about this legislation and will continue to work together to defeat attacks on the PE license.
HF 2225: Failed upon adjournment on 5/21/2018.
SF 784: Died in Committee in 2016.
During the 2015 Legislative Session, SF 784 sought to ensure an individual could purse lawful occupation free from unnecessary occupational regulations. This measure never moved out of committee. During the 2017 Legislative Session, two similar companion measures were refiled. These companion measures articulate the right of an individual to pursue an occupation as a fundamental right. This right includes the right of an individual with a criminal history to obtain an occupational license, specialty occupational license for medical reimbursement, government certification, or any state recognition. NSPE has reached out to the Minnesota Society of Professional Engineers to ensure that the legislation is successfully defeated.
The "Occupational Regulation Defense Act" allows an individual to assert a defense against the enforcement of an occupational regulation. The individual shall have the initial burden of proving by clear and convincing evidence that an occupational regulation substantially burdens the individual's right to pursue a lawful occupation.
If the individual meets the burden of proof, the state or political subdivision shall demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that the state or political subdivision has an important interest in protecting against present and recognizable harm to the public health or safety and that the occupational regulation is substantially related to and the least restrictive means for furthering that important governmental interest.
Creates the Boards and Commissions Task Force to:
- Evaluate the purpose and necessity of each existing board and commission;
- Determine the cost-effectiveness of each board and commission by considering their governmental, economic, and societal costs and benefits;
- Identify opportunities to eliminate or consolidate boards and commissions;
- Identify opportunities to modify the size, mission, and structure of boards and commissions;
- Identify opportunities to reduce barrier to entry in occupational licensing programs;
- Recommend comprehensive executive and legislative reform proposals to the Governor no later than October 31, 2017.
The Task Force provided policy recommendations to the Governor in October 2017 in its Task Force Report, emphasizing that if all recommendations were undertaken, “close to 450 gubernatorial appointments will be eliminated.”
HB 1466: Died in Committee in 2016.
In 2016, HB 1466 was introduced to establish guidelines for the regulation of occupations and professions not regulated by the Division of Professional Registration. The bill specified that an individual may engage in the occupation of his or her choice, free from unreasonable government regulation. The bill also stated that the state of Missouri may not impose a substantial burden on an individual's pursuit of his or her occupation or profession unless there is an important governmental interest for the state to protect the general welfare. This measure died in committee. NSPE and the Missouri Society of Professionals Engineers closely monitored this bill.
In 2017, four similar pieces of legislation were refiled (HB 272; HB 413, HB 609 & HB 480). In committee, these measures were substituted and combined into one measure; HB 480. This bill sought to establish guidelines for the regulation of occupations and professions not currently regulated by the Division of Professional Registration, within the Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration, as well as guidelines for substantially increasing the scope of practice of currently regulated occupations and professions. The bill specified that the state may not impose a substantial burden on an individual's pursuit of his or her occupation or profession unless there is an important governmental interest for the state to protect the general welfare. Although this measure passed the House in March 2017, the measure died in the Senate Professional Registration Committee.
HB 1425 or the “Occupational Board Compliance Act of 2017” states that for occupational regulations promulgated by occupational licensing boards, it is the policy of the State of Mississippi to increase economic opportunities for all its citizens by promoting competition using the least restrictive regulation necessary to protect consumers from present, significant, and substantiated harms that threaten public health and safety. In this goal is the creation of the Occupational Licensing Review Commission which will be responsible for the active supervision of state executive branch occupational licensing boards controlled by active market participants to ensure compliance with state policy in the adoption of occupational regulations.
This Commission will meet quarterly at the request of the Chair. All the meetings will be open to the public unless an executive session is declared. NSPE has reached out to the Mississippi Engineering Society to offer assistance in ensuring that this commission will not undermine the PE license.
SB 365 would eliminate the Montana Engineering Licensure Board. NSPE communicated with the Montana Society of Engineers. The Montana PE community united and was successful in having the section revoking the engineering licensure board rescinded.
HB 1007: Died in Committee in 2016.
HB 760 - The Regulatory Reform Act of 2015 provides further regulatory relief to citizens by providing various administrative reforms by eliminating certain unnecessary or outdated statutes and regulations and modernizing regulations. This measure would also direct the Joint Legislative Administrative Procedure Oversight Committee (APO) to review the recommendations contained in the Program Evaluation Division report, entitled "Occupational Licensing Agencies Should Not be Centralized, but Stronger Oversight is Needed", to determine how to improve oversight of occupational licensing boards.
HB 1007 - Amends laws regarding occupational licensing boards to respond to the holding in North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v. Federal Trade Commission. Adds additional financial information requirements to the annual report filed by each occupational licensing board. Requires board members' training include information on antitrust law and state action immunity. Adopts rules for the receipt and resolution of complaints, for taking disciplinary or enforcement actions against its licensees, and for taking enforcement actions against persons not licensed by the board. Clarifies occupational licensing boards' authority to investigate unlicensed activity and notify unlicensed person of violations of laws and rules. Also provides standardized language for notifying unlicensed persons of violations of law.
NSPE has worked with the Professional Engineers of North Carolina in actively tracking and monitoring these bills to ensure that it will not affect the PE. NSPE and PENC continue to actively monitor to defeat any potential threats.
This measure requires that beginning in 2019, each standing committee of the Legislature annually review and analyze approximately 20% percent of the occupational regulations within the jurisdiction of the committee and prepare and submit an annual report electronically to the Clerk of the Legislature by December 15 of each year. Each committee shall complete this process for all occupational regulations within its jurisdiction within five years and every five years thereafter. Each report shall include the committee's recommendations regarding whether the occupational regulations should be terminated, continued, or modified.
NSPE contacted and worked directly alongside the Nebraska Society of Professional Engineers regarding this threatening piece of legislation.
3/22/2018: Ruled inexpedient to legislate by the Senate Executive Departments and Administration Committee.
This measure seeks to create an Occupational Regulation Review Commission to determine if regulatory boards utilize the least restrictive regulations. The commission would review:
- Occupational laws and determine which regulatory schemes, if any, shall be reformed;
- Develop mechanisms for mandatory disclosure to consumers when a practitioner has chosen not to be licensed;
- Provide a mechanism of enforcement if the disclosure to consumers is not properly made by an unlicensed practitioner;
- Develop necessary legislation and report findings annually.
This bill also permits individuals with criminal records to petition a licensing board, agency, department or other state or local issuer of occupational licenses for a determination of whether the individual's record will disqualify the individual from obtaining state recognition.
On March 1st, the House Committee on Executive Departments voted 9-8 against the bill, but that recommendation was overturned on March 7th by the full House by a vote of 177-148.
On March 22nd, the Senate Executive Departments and Administration Committee voted the measure “inexpedient to legislate” which is a means to kill the measure. The measure can be overturned by the full Senate.
NSPE continues to monitor the legislation and will collaborate with the New Hampshire Society of Professional Engineers to oppose the measure.
This measure establishes that all individuals should be permitted to enter any profession or occupation unless there is a demonstrated need for the state to protect the interests of the public by restricting entry into the profession or occupation. If such a need is identified, the form of regulation adopted by the state shall be the least restrictive form of regulation necessary to protect the public interest.
The measure also establishes criteria and standards for the review or enactment of professional or occupational regulation by the state to be administered by the Office of Professional Licensure and Certification. A profession or occupation shall be regulated by the state only when:
(a) It can be demonstrated that the unregulated practice of the profession or occupation can clearly harm or endanger the health, safety, or welfare of the public, and the potential for the harm is recognizable and not remote or speculative;
(b) The public can reasonably be expected to benefit from an assurance of initial and continuing professional ability; and
(c) The public cannot be effectively protected by other means.
The measure was ruled "inexpedient to legislate" during the February 27th Committee Meeting which is a means to kill the measure. If deemed so, the House of Representatives can override the committee decision.
NSPE will continue to work with the New Hampshire Society of Professional Engineers to ensure that this legislation is defeated.
Establishes a committee to review occupational licensing and determine which licenses could be made optional for practitioners. The Executive Departments and Administration Committee deemed the bill inexpedient to legislate and died in committee. NSPE communicated with the New Hampshire Society of Professional Engineers to ensure the professional engineer was protected. The professional engineering community in New Hampshire was critical in defeating passage of this bill and protecting the integrity of the PE license. This measure is eligible for reconsideration during the 2018 Legislative Session.
The bill states that occupational regulations must use the least restrictive regulation to protect consumers from harms that threaten public health and safety. At the last minute, the bill was scheduled for an April 12 hearing by the Nevada Assembly Committee on Commerce and Labor. NSPE and the Nevada Society were notified late on April 11 that a comment needed to be submitted immediately. Working together, NSPE and the Nevada Society put together a joint response in three hours. Because of the opposition to the bill, the bill was dropped from the committee’s agenda the next day. This is a fantastic example of what the national-state partnership can achieve to protect the integrity of the PE license. Read the comment here.
The measure is a massive overhaul to reform occupational licensing in Ohio and appears to be a major threat to occupational licensure in Ohio. It is articulated that it is the policy of the state, that the state will use the least restrictive regulation to protect consumers from present, significant, and substantiated harms that threaten public health and safety. The policy of employing the least restrictive regulation shall presume that market competition and private remedies are sufficient to protect consumers.
In this goal, the measure:
Sets an expiration date for occupational licensing boards.
Requests that the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives to direct standing committees to review 20% of occupational licensing boards each year. All occupational licensing boards would be reviewed over a five-year period including calendar years 2019 through 2023, and also during each subsequent five year period.
Establishes that with each occupational licensing that is scheduled to be reviewed by a standing committee there will be the burden of demonstrating to the standing committee a public need for its continued existence, including whether or not continuation of the board is necessary to protect the health and safety of the public, and if so, whether or not the board's authority is narrowly tailored to protect against present, recognizable, and significant harms to the health and safety of the public.
Articulates that with respect to legislation that is introduced, which proposes to substantially change or enact an occupational regulation, the Director of the Legislative Service Commission shall perform an assessment of the legislation with respect to proposing the least restrictive regulation to protect consumers from present, significant, and substantiated harms that threaten public health and safety.
Establishes that beginning in 2018, the Director of the Legislative Service Commission shall perform an assessment of approximately 20% of occupations regulated by the state. The director shall, over a five-year period including calendar years 2018 through 2022, perform assessments of all occupations subject to regulation by the state.
SB 255 could seriously threaten the future of the PE license in Ohio. NSPE alerted the Ohio Society of Professional Engineers to the bill and is collaborating on efforts to defeat the legislation. In May 2018, NSPE submitted letters in opposition to this bill to state legislators.
This measure, if passed, occupational licensing boards will expire on December 31, 2023 or five years after the board’s creation, whichever is later. This emancipates a person to engage in the profession without an occupational license, notwithstanding any law that requires a person to possess a license to lawfully engage in that profession. An occupational licensing board may be renewed by enactment of a law that continues the statutes creating, empowering, governing, or regulating the board. A standing committee will be created to review licensing boards. The licensing boards must submit their workload and purpose, as well as demonstrating public need to the standing committee.
HB 289 could threaten the future of the PE license in Ohio. NSPE alerted the Ohio Society of Professional Engineers to the bill and is collaborating on efforts to defeat the legislation.
This measure sought to review compliance with antitrust requirements.
Creates the Occupational Licensing Advisory Commission, which will review each occupational or professional licensing once every four years and make recommendations to the Legislature.
HB 1365 is placeholder legislation that has been filed to create the Occupational Licensing Reform Act. NSPE and the Oklahoma Society of Professional Engineers have and will continue to work together to closely track and monitor this issue and oppose any efforts to undermine engineering licensure.
Governor Mary Fallin issued an executive order in 2016 to create the Oklahoma Occupational Licensing Task Force. On January 9, 2018, the Task Force released its final report. For the Task Force, if the government is involved in the highest level of regulation, there needs to be a clear public interest. The state’s role should be striving to achieve a balance between free market principles, protecting the public safety, and reducing barriers to escape poverty. The Task Force released twelve recommendations:
1. Independent Commission- The State should consider the creation of an independent commission on occupational licensing. The commission should make recommendations for changes to, or the elimination of, certain licenses.
2. Legislative Sunset Review Committee- The Legislature should consider adding occupational license review to the existing sunset review process. The sunset review process would allow for the elimination of redundant and unneeded licenses or boards. By examining the boards’ requirements, the quality and availability of services to consumers will be greatly increased.
3. Legislative Committee with Jurisdiction for License Formation- The Legislature should consider assigning a specific committee with jurisdiction for license review. It will also allow consumers or practitioners a clear point of contact for addressing licensing concerns without having to go through the maze of the legislative process.
4. Centralized Jurisdiction Under One Agency- The Task Force recommends that the future oversight of occupational licensing in the state should be under a single agency. One agency should be tasked with continuing the work of the Task Force and using the blueprint to further examine the effects of occupational licensing.
5. Continuance of the Database- Oklahoma licensing requirements should be published in a publicly accessible location so that individuals and lawmakers alike can better understand the licensing regime of the state.
6. Executive Order- The Governor, acting as CEO of the state, should use their executive power to require state agencies and boards to report their full schedule of fees and educational requirements for licenses they issue.
7. Board Composition- The Task Force recommends that the state review the composition of these boards and require increased membership by those who are not market participants, including perhaps lay people or retirees.
8. Second Stage Review- The work of the Task Force should be continued into a second stage of review either by creating an independent commission or by continuing the Task Force. This second stage of review should also examine licensing practices from other states and what occupations Oklahoma licenses that other states do not.
9. Reciprocity Issues- Legislators should consider passing new legislation for the following parties who are particularly affected: Military, Military Spouses, High Priority or Low Risk.
10. Degrees of Licensing- When appropriate, licensing boards should allow for different degrees of licensing within a certain field for scope of practice purposes. This division of authorized activities can be done for many licenses and would allow those who cannot commit or invest in the most expensive or burdensome license to still apply for a lower license and be able to assist consumers with a more limited range of work.
11. Third Party Certification- The Task Force recommends that the State expand third-party certification as an alternative means to prevent fraud.
12. Criminal Justice Reform- Finally, the Task Force suggests that boards examine their prohibitions on criminal offenses, specifically felonies.
The full report can be seen here.
Governor Tom Wolf issued an executive order in October 2017 for specific boards and commissions, including the State Board for Professional Engineers, to undertake a critical and comprehensive review of the processes, fees, training, and continuing education requirements for occupational and professional licensure.
On June 11, 2018, the Department of State, Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs released the report. The report includes information regarding the number of other states which require a license for each professional or occupational license, the national and regional averages for training requirements, fees, and continuing education requirements.
NSPE and the Pennsylvania Society of Professional Engineers are collaborating to ensure that professional engineers are not negatively impacted.
SB 212: Signed by Governor Gary Herbert on 3/22/2017.
HB 280 requires many state agencies, including the Department of Commerce, complete a one-time written study and analysis of each occupational or professional license or certification that their agency administers to ensure that state regulation of the occupation or profession, including state statute, administrative rule, and agency policy, is narrowly tailored to protect the health and safety of the public and does not consist of excessive, unnecessary, or outdated government interference.
The study and analysis from each agency shall include:
(i) a list of each occupational or professional license or certification administered by the agency;
(ii) the number of active licenses or certifications issued by the agency;
(iii) a complete citation of each state statute, administrative rule, and agency policy that apply to the occupational or professional license or certification administered by the agency;
(iv) an analysis of whether each statutory provision, administrative rule, and agency policy is necessary to protect the health and safety of the public;
(v) an analysis of whether less restrictive regulation of the occupation or profession would still protect the health and safety of the public; and
(vi) a recommendation to the committee regarding which statutory language, administrative rules, or agency policies could be repealed or modified to be less restrictive while still adequately protecting the health and safety of the public.
The Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing is a division within the Utah Department of Commerce and would directly be affected by this legislation.
SB 212 and HB 94 spells out the duties of the Occupational and Professional Licensure Review Committee. The Committee will consider the following: (a) why licensing or other regulation of the lawful occupation is required to protect against present, recognizable, and significant harm to the health or safety of the public; (b) what is the least restrictive regulation of the lawful occupation that would protect against recognizable and significant harm to the health or safety of the public.
When conducting a study on occupational regulations, the Committee must consider if the Committee’s recommendation would negatively affect the interest of members of the regulated lawful occupation, including the effect on matters of reciprocity with other states. If the Committee determines that state regulation of the lawful occupation is necessary in protecting against present, recognizable, and significant harm to the health or safety of the public, the Committee must consider whether a potentially less restrictive alternative to licensing, including state registration, would avoid unnecessary regulation while still protecting the health and safety of the public. SB 212 has been signed into law by Governor Herbert.
NSPE has alerted the Utah Society of Professional Engineers to these developments and will provide assistance in ensuring that the PE license is not impacted.
SB 20: Signed by Governor Northam on 3/23/2018.
HB 1195: Eligible to be carried over to the 2019 Legislative Session on 3/10/2018.
HB 880: Eligible to be carried over to the 2019 Legislative Session on 3/10/2018.
HB 2221: Died in Committee in 2017.
HB 1566: Died in Conference Committee in 2017.
HB 1937: Died in Committee in 2017.
These identical bills (HB 883 & SB 20) became the bipartisan regulatory reform deal between Governor Northam and the General Assembly. As originally filed, HB 883 would have created a pilot program that would require state agencies to submit two or more existing regulations to be “replaced or repealed” before a new regulation can be approved. The current version as well as SB 20 removes the two-for-one requirement and creates a three-year regulatory reduction pilot program with a goal of the program to reduce regulatory requirements, compliance costs, and regulatory burdens within the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation and the Department of Criminal Justice Services by 25% by July 1, 2021. These measures have faced little opposition, passing the Senate by a vote of 40-0. The measure has been approved by the Governor.
HB 1195 creates the Joint Commission to Evaluate Professional and Occupational Licensing Requirements to examine the statutory and regulatory professional and occupational licensing requirements of the regulatory boards within the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation to determine whether such requirements may be reduced or eliminated while still, in the least restrictive manner, protecting the public health and safety. A similar bill, HB 2221, was introduced during the 2017 Legislative Session, but died in committee.
HB 880 establishes the position of Professional and Occupational Regulatory Analyst within the Division of Legislative Services to assist the Joint Commission on Administrative Rules in (i) exerting its best efforts to evaluate at least three professions or occupations in each year and (ii) to the extent feasible, reviewing legislation establishing or modifying an occupational regulation to determine whether the legislation uses the least restrictive regulation necessary to protect or preserve the public health, safety, and welfare. The evaluation shall include recommendations for changes to occupational regulations to encourage use of the least restrictive regulation necessary. This measure could potentially consolidate many boards, including engineering, into one.
A similar bill, HB 1566, was introduced by the same sponsor, but died in Conference Committee in 2017. According to the fiscal note of HB 1566, the Division of Legislative Services estimates there are 65 professions and occupations that will need to be evaluated. DLS expects that much input will need to be received from stakeholders including the regulated community, regulatory boards, and impacted consumers in reviewing any profession or occupation. For the reasons enumerated, DLS needs to hire one full-time regulatory analyst to implement.
HB 1937 seeks to establish a statewide policy for the regulation of professions and occupations specifying criteria for government regulation with the objective of increasing opportunities, promoting competition, encouraging innovation, protecting consumers, and complying with applicable federal antitrust laws. In addition, the bill establishes a process for the active supervision of state regulatory boards pursuant to the U.S. Supreme Court decision in North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v. Federal Trade Commission, in which the Court held that a state regulatory board that includes active market participants among its board membership must be actively supervised by the state for such board and its members to be entitled to immunity for federal antitrust violations. The bill also creates the Division of Supervision of Regulatory Boards in the Office of the Attorney General to be responsible for the active supervision of regulatory boards.
NSPE has contacted the Virginia Society of Professional Engineers regarding these threatening pieces of legislation. NSPE and VSPE will continue to monitor and work together to oppose any efforts to undermine engineering licensure.
This measure creates the Sunset Advisory Commission to review existing State boards and commissions.
In its review of each State board and commission, the Commission shall consider:
- The purpose of the board or commission and whether that purpose is still needed;
- How well the board or commission performs in executing that purpose; and
- If the purpose is still needed, whether State government would be more effective and efficient if the purpose were executed in a different manner.
The Commission will recommend the elimination of any board or commission that it deems no longer necessary or the revision of any of the powers and duties of a board or commission. Each board and commission shall have the burden of justifying its continued operation.
NSPE and Vermont Society of Professional Engineers are closely monitoring to ensure that the Board of Professional Engineering is not targeted.
Makes various revisions related to the review of professional regulation; it also provides that a licensed professional engineer may practice design without a license under the "potable water supply and wastewater system designers" provisions if he or she satisfies the criteria set forth in 10 V.S.A. § 1975(b). The bill, now enacted into law, challenges the fundamental tenets of licensure and places a host of requirements that must be met for licensure to be warranted. NSPE has communicated with state leadership on this issue to ensure that this will not negatively impact the PE. NSPE and state leadership are closely monitoring the state Board's actions moving forward.
Establishes the regulatory freedom and accountability act regarding administrative procedures that promote accountability, transparency, and economic relief. This piece of legislation aims to reduce regulatory activity and places limits and burdens on when a given regulatory board can engage in rulemaking and other standard state executive agency activities. The legislation died in committee in 2016.
SB 30: Signed by Governor Walker with partial vetoes on 9/21/2017.
AB 369: Failed upon adjournment on 3/22/2018.
SB 288: Failed upon adjournment on 3/22/2018.
Multiple bills were introduced in the Wisconsin Assembly and Senate that seek to undermine engineering licensure.
It is articulated in this measure that the West Virginia Legislature is committed to protecting the public while balancing economic opportunity by studying the various forms of licensure, certification and registration of occupations and professions to ensure the protection of the public is the least burdensome and as minimally restrictive as possible. In this goal, this measure requests the Joint Committee on Government and Finance to conduct a study of licensure, certification and registration forms of occupational and professional regulation. This study would be reported back to the Legislature with any recommendations for the 2019 Legislative Session.
Although the measure died upon adjournment, the proposal could still be studied as an interim topic if the legislature determines the need to do so.
NSPE reached out to the West Virginia Society of Professional Engineers about the legislation and will continue to work together to defeat attacks on the PE license.