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Idaho boards ordered to find ways to regulate professions less

Announcing that the recent legislative session made it clear that a comprehensive look at licensing requirements was needed, Idaho acting governor Brad Little issued an executive order May 9 requiring state agencies to report on whether the requirements they enforce are necessary and in the public interest.

The “Licensing Freedom Act,” as Little dubbed it, was issued with several rationales related to free markets and unobstructed commerce.

The executive order “may well result in removing unnecessary barriers to desirable employment for qualified individuals and increasing the availability of a skilled and valuable workforce necessary to grow Idaho’s economy.”

Little, who is Idaho lieutenant governor, issued the executive order while serving temporarily as governor during an absence of Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter. In Idaho, anytime the governor is out of the state, the lieutenant governor is in charge, and Little has taken on “acting governor” status more than 370 times between 2009 and 2017. The month after issuing the executive order, Little announced his  candidacy for the governorship in the 2018 elections .

A key part of the executive order is the requirement that comments from the public be solicited. “Interested persons,” including licensees but not limited to licensees, are asked to submit data, views, opinions, or arguments either to the boards, the governor’s office, or the state agencies in charge of regulating licensing.

The reports have somewhat exhaustive information requirements including not only a review of initial licensure and renewal licensure standards and how they can be pared down, but also:

  • A report of the number of applicants denied licensure or whose applications were not accepted for consideration by the department or agency or who were refused renewal of their license between May 19, 2016, and May 19, 2018, and the factual or statutory basis for denial;
  • Statutory or regulatory authority for any disciplinary action relating to a professional, technical or occupational license, together with the number of disciplinary actions taken;
  • The cost of administering the licensing process on a per-applicant basis and fees charged for issuance or renewal of licenses;
  • Any laws or rules enacted in the last five years to eliminate requirements.

Boards have until July 2018 to submit their reports along with recommendations on eliminating some of their rules.