In a victory for professional engineers, a Louisiana bill (H.B. 748) was stripped of a provision that would prohibit the use of most professional certifications or accreditations within the state and a provision that presumes that market competition is sufficient to protect consumers.
The final version of the Occupational Licensing Review Act directs the governor to review on an annual basis not less than 20% of the agencies engaged in regulatory and licensing activities over the rules, regulations, and procedures employed by the agency. Within five years, the governor would have reviewed all agencies.
The bill, as originally filed, would have required the Office of the Governor to review the state’s current occupational regulations (including the engineering licensing board) and forward to the legislature recommendations to repeal occupational regulation or convert them to “less restrictive” regulations. The initial version of the bill also established a “rebuttable presumption that market competition and private remedies are sufficient to protect consumers.” This approach was a fundamental shift in state policy and posed a grave threat to the licensure system that serves to protect the public health, safety, and welfare. When the legislation passed the House of Representatives, the bill was also amended in such a way that could have seriously curtailed the use of professional certifications.
NSPE proactively responded to the threat posed by the bill and urged members in Louisiana to contact their state senators immediately. NSPE also joined a coalition of professional associations to amend the legislation, which was later signed into law. NSPE is encouraged by this positive development. The legislation, however, underscores the profession’s need for vigilance against attacks on licensure.
Since 2016, legislation and regulations that could undermine or even eliminate licensure have been introduced in 32 states, and the attacks continue to intensify. Learn more.