There are major players currently dedicated to reducing the regulation of occupations and professions, NASBA Director of Legislative and Governmental Affairs John W. Johnson once more told the Regional Meetings. These include the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), Institute for Justice, Cato Institute, Americans for Prosperity, Mercatus Center and Goldwater Institute. In 2019, anti-regulatory legislation was filed in 27 states, Mr. Johnson reported. To get out the story of the benefits professionals provide for the public, NASBA has joined with the AICPA and associations of architects and engineers in the Alliance for Responsible Professional Licensing (ARPL), which has engaged Craft Media/Digital to assist them. Mr. Johnson introduced Craft Senior Vice President Layle Nelson to the Regional Meetings.

Ms. Nelson told the D.C. and Salt Lake City meetings that there is a need to bring to the legislative table a “countervailing voice” to what these anti-regulation groups are saying. A national alliance of professions is needed to “create a unified voice and presence; drive a proactive, consistent message; condition the environment to support state efforts; and ultimately to change the narrative” that legislators are hearing. Ms. Nelson reported the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) commissioned a study that found the public recognizes government regulation has an important purpose in helping to protect the public. They also learned the public does see a distinction between an “occupation” and a “profession.” In addition, the study noted “there are a fair amount of voters who believe licensure helps level the playing field, giving anyone an opportunity to enter the field.”

In the next few weeks and months, State Boards of Accountancy will begin to get materials from ARPL. “In our messaging, we are pushing back on assumptions the opposition is pushing out,” Ms. Nelson explained. “The top of this always is that professional licensing matters. “ She emphasized that those in the states need to bring this message forward to their public. “We want to build out the role of the Boards and of what CPAs do.” Her firm will be providing support to coordinate the effort.

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