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Occupational licensing boards get back up from Mississippi House

JACKSON- A House Bill was introduced to Representatives this year that would create the Occupational Board Compliance Act of 2017. That Act would re-define policy concerning occupational regulations and their boards. 

HB1425 has gained quite a bit of attention because of one stipulation implying that Gov. Phil Bryant would have control over 25 or so of these boards. However, author of the bill Rep. Cory Wilson said that isn’t the case.

“It doesn’t give the governor control of the boards. They would still conduct business and promulgate regulations and rules,” said Wilson. What he said it does do, is allow the governor to act as a supervisor for all occupational licensing boards.

The bill would provide that the Governor’s office give active supervision, in compliance with a U.S. Supreme Court opinion. The governor would review the rules proposed by each board and make sure they were not restricting competition in the economy.

said Russ Latino, State Director at Americans for Prosperity and State Director at Americans for Prosperity Foundation said that it does not take any power away from lawmakers.

“The Legislature still has the exact same power to pass laws that expand, limit or eliminate regulations or to pass laws that expand, limit or eliminate boards. 1425 is not the difference between the Governor having oversight versus the Legislature. 1425 is the difference between there being oversight and there not being oversight,” said Rush.

“We want to make sure that the people serving on these licensure boards are protected from anti-trust liability,” said Wilson.

Wilson said HB1425 also aims to create fair regulations for licensures.

“The U.S. Supreme Court says that in order to maintain state sovereign immunity and avoid antitrust liability boards controlled by active market participants must act: (1) under the authority of a clear articulated state policy; and (2) active supervision. But more so, because boards given state power to implement regulations that impact their competitors should be monitored,” said Latino. 

Jobs that are included under the umbrella of occupational licensure include physicians, pharmacists, and real estate agents, just to name a few.

“These are boards that license people to practice within that area. They are the ones that authorized to issue and revoke occupational licenses.” said Wilson.

Wilson said there are around 25 of these boards currently operating in Mississippi. However, it would not apply to occupational licensing boards that are not controlled by active market participants.

Rush said the bill does contain a reverse repealer, that means that even if it is passed it will eventually be brought back up for consideration.

The bill was passed in the House with a close vote of 60-58 and after motions to reconsider it now moves to the Senate.

If approved it would take effect July 1, 2017.

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