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Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Ind. Gov't. - "Licensing bill likely dead" - the "Eraser" bill

Adding to three interesting earlier ILB posts on SB 520, Maureen Hayden and Scott Smith have a long, fascinating story today in the Kokomo Tribune. Some quotes:

Legislation pushed by Gov. Mike Pence to eliminate licensing requirements for more than a dozen occupations is apparently dead, killed by a lack of support from both Republicans and Democrats in the General Assembly.

The legislation, Senate Bill 520, would have automatically “sunsetted” licensing requirements for a range of occupations, from real estate agents to cosmetologists. A watered-down version of Pence’s original proposal passed the Senate in February. But Senate Bill 520 won’t get a hearing in the House, according to both the bill sponsor and the chairman of the committee to which the bill was assigned.

State Sen. Randy Head, a Logansport Republican who was asked by the Pence administration to carry the bill, said legislators wanted to change the language of the bill to give the General Assembly the authority to determine which, if any, occupational licenses would be eliminated.

“The governor’s people disagreed with making that change,” said Head.

Pence’s office released a brief statement saying the legislation isn’t dead. But the bill is stopped in its tracks. The language in Senate Bill 520 would have to be inserted into another bill in the final week of the legislative session, when lawmakers meet in a conference committee to hash out details of final legislation, that would have to be voted on again by both chambers.

It’s unclear if there’s any support for that. Rep. Steve Stemler, a Democrat from Jeffersonville and chairman of the House Select Committee on Government Reduction, said he decided against hearing the bill due to the lack of support from legislators on both sides of the aisle.

Republican state Rep. Mike Karickhoff said the General Assembly rejected similar legislation last year, after people whose occupations would be affected protested against eliminating the licensing requirements.

“There’s been some deregulation take place, but I’d say we’ve hit a plateau because for two years in a row, the Legislature has stalled these efforts,” Karickhoff said.

Pence, who took office in January, put Senate Bill 520 on his legislative priority list this session and campaigned on the idea of eliminating a wide range of occupational licenses, calling them a deterrent to employment.

In his much-touted “Roadmap for Indiana,” Pence called for the creation of a regulatory committee “for the express purpose of reducing the number of occupational licenses.”

Dubbed the ERASER Committee (for “Eliminate, Reduce And Streamline Employee Regulation”), the appointed body was also to be tasked with a “sunrise” review of legislation creating any new occupational licenses. * * *

The bill’s original language, supported by Pence, would have set in motion a process to automatically eliminate licensing requirements for 35 different occupations. The Senate reduced that number to 13.

In the Pence version of the bill, the occupational licensing requirements would have been automatically sunsetted unless the General Assembly passed legislation to keep a specific occupational license in place.

Head said there were legislators in both the Senate and the House who wanted the opposite to happen. They wanted licensing requirements to continue unless the General Assembly voted to end a specific license.

Under Senate Bill 520, the occupations that faced the automatic elimination of licensing requirements included athletic agents, dietitians, professional geologists, home inspectors, interior designers, land surveyors, massage therapists, professional soil scientists, auctioneers, real estate brokers, certified surgical technologists, behavior analysts, cosmetologists, barbers, electrologists, estheticians and manicurists.

Republican state Rep. Ed Clere of New Albany is one of the legislators who expressed concern about the bill’s potential negative impact.

“At a time when we’re trying to find ways to help stabilize employment and promote job creation, we shouldn’t be doing anything that could cause additional uncertainty or disruption in any business.”

As the ILB noted in this Jan. 28th post, SB 520, if passed, would repeal IC 25-1-16, the current "Regulated Occupations Evaluation Committee" (ROEC), and replace it with the "Eliminate, Reduce, and Streamline Employee Regulation Committee" (ERASER). The permanent ROEC is the group that earlier recommended elimination of hairdresser and cosmetologist licensing, and it remains in operation.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on April 3, 2013 08:49 AM
Posted to Indiana Government