February 18, 2016 8:00 PM
House Bill 952, assigned to the Small Business Development Committee, stands to strip rulemaking power of state licensing boards and harm business professionals around the state should it makes its way through the General Assembly this session.
Sponsored by the Governor’s Floor Leaders, Representatives Chad Nimmer, Christian Coomer, Robert Dickey, Terry Rogers, and Amy Carter, the ‘Georgia Professional Regulation Reform Act‘ is particularly troublesome because it would allow the Governor to veto any rule proposed by the licensing boards if the rule is one that will be submitted to and recognized by the Secretary of State. Essentially, the Governor would have oversight over significant decision making and operational processes of these state licensing boards. The bill dictates that the Governor will “actively supervise” professional licensing boards and “review and, in writing, approve or veto any rule before it is filed in the office of the Secretary of State.”
The problem with this legislation is four-fold:
- It’s obvious, because of who sponsored the legislation, that this bill is “an idea” or a desire of the Governor. While Republicans may be of the belief that Governor Deal would not ever betray The People with an executive overreach, consideration needs to be given that Georgia will not always be governed by the red powers that currently preside. Down the road, decisions like these could lead to substantial regret.
- The Governor, like most people, is not an all-knowing messiah. There is no way he can possibly be well-versed on the issues facing any of these licensing boards, and therefore, is not the most educated person to making decisions on whether or not something is good for the industry.
- HB 952 grants the executive branch an enormous amount of power into an aspect of government that affects numerous professionals across the state. Worse, the language dictates that the power lies with the Governor “or his designee.”
- Even worse, the bill explicitly permits the use of executive orders to carry out the desires of HB 952.
Think about all of the professionals across the state that could be subjected to direct oversight by the Governor:
- Architects & Interior Designers
- Athlete Agents
- Athletic & Entertainment Commission
- Athletic Trainers
- Condition Air Contractors
- Cosmetologists & Barbers
- Dispensing Opticians
- Electrical Contractors
- Engineers & Land Surveyors
- Funeral Directors & Embalmers
- Hearing Aid Dealers & Dispensers
- Immigration Assistance
- Landscape Architects
- Low Voltage Contractors
- Massage Therapists
- Music Therapists
- Nursing Home Administrators
- Occupational Therapists
- Physical Therapists
- Private Detectives & Security Agencies
- Professional Counselors & Social Workers
- Residential & General Contractors
- Speech Pathologists & Audiologists
- Used Motor Vehicle Dealers
- Utility Contractors
- Water & Wastewater Treatment Plant Operators
The bill was heard before committee on Thursday, but because of the substantial dissent, no vote was taken. The concern now lies with whether or not the bill will be inserted elsewhere or crammed through closer to Crossover Day.