House of Representatives Passes Heroes 2.0
The House of Representatives passed a $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill on the evening of October 2nd by a 214-207 vote. The text of the 2,154-page bill is here >https://appropriations.house.gov/sites/democrats.appropriations.house.gov/files/SUPP_SEP_01_ALL_xml.2020.9.28.1753.pdf
On May 15, 2020, the House passed the first iteration of the “Heroes Act,” whose price tag then was $3.5 trillion.
In the absence of an agreement with Senate Republicans and the White House, this vote is regarded as giving rank and file Democrats political cover to go home and campaign asserting that Democrats had passed legislation and Republicans in the Senate and White House had refused.
Read more >> https://ihmm.org/house-passes-heroes-act-2-0-2-2-trillion-covid-19-relief-bill/
Missouri Title Restrictions – Professional Certification Coalition [PCC] of which IHMM is a Member
The Missouri legislature passed (and Gov. Parson signed into law) a comprehensive occupational licensing bill that incorporated several provisions that the PCC drafted that provide legal safe harbor to private certification programs and distinguish such programs from government credentialing programs. The new law did not amend existing law to affirm that an individual can legally hold themselves out as a “registered” professional if “registered” is used as the designation that is conferred under a private credentialing program. Under the language in the current law, the title “registered” is restricted to those who fulfill requirements to register with the state.
As we reported to those of you who joined our monthly member strategy call several weeks ago, the Missouri Division of Professional Registration confirmed to state legislative staff in writing its interpretation that the restriction is intended to apply only to those who falsely hold themselves out as having registered with the state, and that an individual who has earned a credential from a private certification organization may lawfully use that title. In the interest of legal certainty, the PCC followed up on that communication by sending a letter to the Director of the Division to request that the Division formally confirm our favored interpretation in writing, as official policy/guidance from the Division. In response, the Director told us that the Division does not have the legal authority to issue a formal interpretation memorializing its position on this issue as conveyed to Missouri Senate legislative staff.
On our member strategy call last month, we solicited your input regarding whether the PCC should seek a formal opinion from Missouri’s Attorney General on this issue or whether the fact that Missouri appears to not have any intention of restricting an individual’s ability to hold themselves out as “registered” is sufficient without such a legal opinion. PCC members who weighed in on the call almost uniformly supported outreach to the Attorney General requesting legal certainty on this issue. As such, we wrote back the Director of the Division and asked her to request this legal opinion from the Attorney General (as the AG does not accept requests for legal opinions from private individuals or groups). We will be speaking to her on the phone in the next several days. We will keep you all apprised as this situation unfolds.
Michigan H.B. 4488
As discussed on our member strategy call, the PCC is concerned about legislation in Michigan – H.B. 4488 – that purports to limit and restrict how licensure agencies may consider the criminal conviction history of applicants or holders of professional licenses. However, this bill goes further than the standard ex-offender reentry bills we have seen all over the country: even as amended by the House, it would prohibit licensing agencies not only from considering non-felony criminal convictions but also from considering judgments in a civil action against an individual for lack of good moral character. This affects PCC members because professional certification organizations have codes of conduct and professional societies have ethics codes – both of which often rely on public records of licensure actions to obtain information on what a credential holder or certificant has done and whether they are complying with applicable conduct/ethics codes. The PCC has been consistent in its position that licensure boards should not be restricted from considering the facts underlying criminal convictions and civil judgments, as they have been established in a proceeding with due process. In light of these provisions, the PCC sent a letter to the bill’s sponsor in the spring of 2019.
H.B. 4488 passed the Michigan House several weeks ago and was considered in a Senate Regulatory Reform Committee hearing earlier this week. In light of this rapid action on the bill, the PCC has retained a lobbying firm in Michigan to work with the bill sponsor to amend the bill to address its deficiencies. In a matter of several days, our lobbyist persuaded the bill sponsor to pause action on the bill, which likely would have been considered without our amendments on the Senate floor if the PCC had not intervened. Although we do not yet have a firm commitment from the bill sponsor to agree to our amendments, we are working to do so and he is initially receptive. At the same time, we are coordinating with the influential Michigan Institute of CPAs to ensure broad support for our position. We are cautiously optimistic that the bill will be amended when the legislature returns to regular session in mid-November. We will provide any further updates on this legislation as they arise. At the same time, we do not expect any further action on MI S.B. 40 – an ALEC-backed “review and repeal” occupational licensing reform bill – which we have been tracking. We will, of course, work our lobbyist to ensure that, if the bill does advance, it will include our proposed amendments.