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Coalition’s Efforts Protect the Term “Certified”

The Board of Certification (BOC) joined the Louisiana Occupational Licensing Bill Coalition to protect an Athletic Trainer’s ability to identify as a “certified” Athletic Trainer in Louisiana. Due to the coalition’s efforts, bills HB 748 and HB 372 were amended to eliminate the potentially damaging language around the use of the term “certified” for non-licensure individuals and professions.

Although ATs are licensed in Louisiana, the BOC believed it was critical to advocate for the importance of professional certification. The coalition was successful as both bills were passed as amended and signed by the governor on May 30, 2018. The information below provides additional details on the concerns regarding HB 748 and HB 372 and the process for seeking an amendment.

Bill HB 748 – Concerns addressed

Concerns About HB 748

  • Prohibited any individual holding a certification from a private organization from using the term “certified” as a title, unless certification is requirement for licensure
  • Created a presumption against licensure laws requiring certification
  • Allowed rebuttal of the presumption against certification requirements in licensure only based on “empirically substantiated harms to consumers” if certification is not required
  • Conducted a “sunset review” of each existing occupational licensing law every 5 years, leading to the potential repeal or watering down of such laws

Amendment Adopted

Rep. Emerson and the Governor’s office presented an amendments package that incorporated all proposed amendments the coalition offered to them. The package was adopted by the committee and included:

  • Deleted the term “certification” entirely from the bill
  • Addressed issues related to the term “registration”
  • Placed public health and safety considerations on par with market competition factors

Additional Amendment Deleted the Vast Majority of the Bill

An additional amendment was offered by Sen. Peacock to delete the vast majority of the bill. That amendment was also adopted.

Mobilizing to Amend HB 372

As with HB 748, several interest groups had concerns about HB 372 and were mobilizing to amend it.In the coalition’s review of the bill, there were concerns that the bill contained many deficiencies similar to those identified for HB 748. Some of HB 372’s provisions were word-for-word identical to the provisions of HB 748.

Concerns About HB 372

  • Definitions of “certification” and “registration” were imprecise and may have excluded or placed restrictions on the use of certain types of private credentials
  • Stated policy under which proposed occupational licensing laws were to be judged failed to balance the important interests of “promoting competition” with the equally important interests of avoiding potential harm to public safety, health and welfare
  • Similar to HB 748, established that the government may only use the least restrictive regulation to protect consumers when implementing occupational licensing regulations. According to the bill, “present, significant, and substantiated harms” to consumers must be identified for a regulation to set conditions for the practice of an occupation. As with HB 748, the evidentiary standard in HB 372 may have been nearly impossible to meet for occupations that require certification as a prerequisite to licensure

Amendment Adopted

  • Eliminated the defined term “certification” from the bill and other references to certification throughout the bill (other than in the safe harbor described below)
  • Added a safe harbor provision asserting that nothing shall be construed to restrict a licensing board from requiring, as a condition of licensure or renewal of licensure, obtaining/maintaining credentials from an organization that credentials individuals in the relevant occupation, field or industry
  • Eliminated a requirement that individuals must be registered with the state to use the title “registered”
  • Required regulators to balance market competition with “public health, safety, or welfare”
  • Eliminated the requirement in the previous version of the bill that regulatory requirements be based on significant, current evidence of significant harm to consumers
  • Specified that nothing “alters the authority of the occupational licensing board to issue regulations in the form the licensing board deems in the best interest of the public, after consideration of the recommendation of the commission”