Threats to Professional Licensure: State List
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.