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Arizona governor orders boards to justify every licensing requirement

Arizona licensing boards were given just three months to justify all their licensing requirements, under a sweeping executive order that state governor Douglas Ducey issued March 29.

The Republican governor, who succeeded Jan Brewer in January 2015, alluded to right-to-work values in a statement accompanying the order: “Government should never stand in the way of someone’s efforts to start a new life or profession.”

In Executive Order 2017-03, Ducey mandated that state occupational licensing boards conduct a review of all licensing requirements and justify any found to be in excess of the national average for the particular license, with specific reference to potential harm to individuals in the state of Arizona. For any fields in which 24 or fewer states require a license, the board is required to justify why the profession should be licensed in the state as well.

The Arizona boards specifically ordered to complete reports were those regulating accountancy, boxing and mixed martial arts, acupuncture, athletic training, barbers, behavioral health, chiropractors, cosmetology, dentistry, funeral directors and embalmers, homeopathic and integrated medicine, massage therapy, medicine, naturopathic physicians, nursing, nursing care institution administrators and assisted living facility managers, occupational therapy, dispensing opticians, optometry, osteopaths, pharmacy, physical therapy, podiatry, psychologists, respiratory care, technical fields, and veterinary medicine.

The order also required information on:

  • Criminal records’ place in the screening of applicants  Boards were ordered to answer “whether applicants with a criminal record are barred from being licensed, for how long they are barred, and why the board believes the bar is necessary.” The order stated: “If the board does not have a complete bar, but may use a criminal conviction to deny an applicant based on character, the board shall report how many applicants with criminal convictions were denied due to character concerns each year for the past five years.”
  • Consent agreements  Boards were ordered to report the number of consent agreements entered into for each of the past five years, the total amount of fines and fees imposed under the agreements, and the ten most frequent violations resulting in a consent decree.
  • Timeframes for issuing of licenses  The average timeframe for approval for each type of license issued was also to be included in each board’s  report.

Ducey required the boards to produce the required information and submit it to his office by June 30, 2017.