A proliferation of legislation focused on professional certification and licensure across the states

  |   Legislative

To help protect veterinary medicine from harmful legislation, the AVMA is actively engaged with national coalitions focused on professional certification and licensure legislation at both the federal and state levels. As needed, the AVMA acts on Capitol Hill and weighs in when requested by our partners in the states.

While veterinary medicine is just one of the 60 occupations licensed in every state, and veterinary technologists and technicians are licensed in at least 30 states, there are 1,100 occupations licensed by at least one state. The number of jobs requiring an occupational license has grown from about one in 20 to nearly one in four.

State legislators and Congressional lawmakers are closely examining occupational licensing and certification.  Some view it as unnecessary, inconsistent, too expensive, and too time-consuming to secure licensure or credentials. Others view licensing and certification requirements as impeding economic mobility.

During the 115th Congress, legislation was passed allowing governors to use existing federal funds to review licenses or certifications that pose an unwarranted barrier to entry into the workforce and do not protect the health, safety, or welfare of consumers. As a result, we have seen a plethora of bills dealing with varying aspects of licensure and certification.

Advocacy groups like the Institute for Justice and the American Legislative Exchange Council, as well as reports like one published in 2017 by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), have contributed to both federal and state-level activity on the issue. Additionally, NCSL, the Council of State Governments, and the National Governors Association have been actively working with states to review existing licensing requirements to ensure criteria does not place unnecessary barriers to individuals wanting to enter a profession.

This session, Arizona passed into law HB 2569 opening up most of the state’s licensed professions, including veterinary medicine, to those licensed in other states. The state’s licensing boards will now recognize out-of-state occupational licenses for those who have been licensed in their profession for at least one year, are in good standing in all states where they are licensed, pay applicable Arizona fees, and meet all residency, testing, and background check requirements.

Utah passed into law HB 226 to provide the Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing the discretion to implement competency-based requirements for licensure where it determines it is “at least as effective as a time-based licensing requirement at demonstrating proficiency and protecting the health and safety of the public.”

At least 10 states entertained legislation to repeal a professional board’s authority to revoke or suspend an occupational or professional license for delinquency or default on payment of student loan or default on requirements of work-conditional scholarship. Such legislation was enacted in Arkansas (HB 1296), Hawaii (SB 385), Iowa (SF 304), Kentucky (HB 118), Louisiana (HB 423), Texas (SB 37), and Virginia (SB 918 and HB 1114).

This year, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) reintroduced his Protecting Jobs Act to require states to eliminate laws that revoke occupational licenses when individuals fall behind on their student loans. Many states have also introduced similar legislation, and last year Virginia passed into law SB 918 to accomplish this.

Source:  AVMA State News Bulletin, No. 12


Posted July 26, 2019