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State Board Report

June 2015

In monitoring the legislation introduced this past year, NASBA Director of Legislative and Governmental Affairs John Johnson has seen several states consider a version of the "Occupational Licensing Relief and Job Creation Act," initially proposed by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The model legislation states:

"An individual has a right to engage in a lawful occupation free from any substantial burden in an occupational regulation unless the government demonstrates (1) It has a compelling interest in protecting against present and recognizable harm to the public health or safety, and (2) The occupational regulation is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling interest." The ALEC model act goes on to state that an individual may assert the right to engage in a lawful occupation in any judicial or administrative proceeding brought by the government to enforce an occupational regulation that does not meet those two qualifications. Then a court can make its own findings of fact and conclusions of law.

Legislation reflecting ALEC’s proposed model was introduced in Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Nevada and Texas. It has not been passed in any state to date, and NASBA continues to work with those State Boards where legislation has been filed to provide talking points expressing the Accountancy Boards’ regulatory concerns if such a bill were to pass, Mr. Johnson reported during a May conference call.

"A legislative policy definitely has momentum when you see it introduced in more than two states," Mr. Johnson observed. ALEC will be holding a conference in July which Mr. Johnson will be attending.

ALEC claims to be "the nation’s largest nonpartisan, individual membership association of state legislators," with over 2,000 members including nearly 300 corporate and private foundation members. The organization says it "provides its public and private sector members with a unique opportunity to work together to develop policies and programs that effectively promote the Jeffersonian principles of free markets, limited government, federalism, and individual liberty."

Mr. Johnson encourages all State Boards to regularly check the Legislative Tracking program for news of the status of bills being introduced around the country.

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